Practice as an act of Overcoming Fear

Practice as an act of Overcoming Fear

I’ve talked in another post how creativity is fear. If that’s true, and I’ve certainly been experiencing my share of creative fear lately, then practice (performance) is one of the best ways to overcome that fear.  I noticed I’m better at doing scary things at work than I am at doing scary things in my paintings. I hypothesize that when I’m working I do things I don’t want to do or that carry at a lot of fear for me All. The. Time.

For instance, I’ve worked in strategy almost my whole career — taking the theoretical and applying it to a practical solution. I have to be well-versed in both and while I’m acclimated to working in areas that are undefined and have a lot of ambiguity I still have fear about taking risks and bringing clarify to the unclear.  I’m also an introvert… so holding a meeting, writing an email with a request, asking for feedback, introducing myself to someone in the breakroom [I’m a new employee too = FUN], having all eyes on me makes me want to brown my pants and run in the women’s room, slam the door, and hide. Yet, I do the work, and try things, and make mistakes, and keep going because I can logicalize that I’ve done them a million times before and know that everything will be ok. (I hope.)

However, when it comes to creative fear and my paintings, however, I have the same amount of fear (heaps! metric tons! the mass of the sun amounts of fear!) but I have much less practice overcoming it than I do at work, and that means much less ability to logicalize and Eat That Frog to stop procrastinating and try something. I paint in oils, in archival quality oils., which means a bad painting is one that I will see for a loooooong time. All told, I’m much less able to manage my anxiety when it comes to painting. And that’s because I need more practice.

My lifecoach, Rita, is helping with overcoming my creative fear so that I can get more practice, and then build confidence. Yes, yes. The creativity researcher has a creative lifecoach. I think it’s hilarious: it’s like looking at yourself in a mirror with a mirror. Rita is not just your ordinary run-of-the-mill life coach. First, she’s a mom to two girls so: YAY MOMMA! and Second, she has an art therapy background. While I initially connected with her to make progress on some life-and-living goals, we eventually connected on the art therapy thing, pursuing understanding the subconscious through art in order to inform our life-coaching sessions. (Life coaches are awe-sommmme in case you are wondering.)

And that’s when I started to really admit that I didn’t feel good painting. I have a few paintings in my studio that sit there, collecting dust, that I’m afraid to work on. A few conversations with Rita later, it became clear that I know what to do to fix them but I’m embarrassed or sad or afraid. One such painting is Oliver, my friend’s Labradoodle (pictured) — I know what I don’t like and what I want to change and yet I. Don’t. Do. It. I need to Eat That Frog and do it.  Frank Covino, one of my teachers, always used to say, “It’s never too late to ameliorate!”

So first, I’m ameliorating my thoughts and then I will get to ameliorate the painting!

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