3 Ways to Overcome Fear So You Can Rock Your Next Creative Project
Here is an excerpt I wrote on my blog from August 2011
I can’t believe that it’s already August! Last month I was able to participate in the 48 hour film festival for the first time! I played a lawyer in a film called Pay Day by Buddsters which is a student film group here at Indiana University Purdue University. I had a great time and I really enjoy working with the students.
I can’t believe that I’m at the age where I look at people in there 20’s and I’m excited for them because the world holds so many possibilities for them if they stay focused and positive. (cheesy I know-but hey it’s true!) Rehearsals for my one woman show are going well.
We have almost completed the script based off of my 75 page ramblings which we have decided would be better suited for a book. I’m so excited about working on my very first one woman show called Sweatpants & High Heels!
Kingdom pictures just completed shooting for a film called Sound of the Spirit in which I helped with behind the scenes commentary. That was a good lesson in hosting. VERY DIFFERENT from acting! It was a great experience! I will have more exciting news hopefully by the end of September concerning a screenplay I wrote a few years ago! In the mean time be blessed and keep reaching for your dreams!
It's so crazy to think back at how in disbelief I was at the things that I was doing. 5 years later and I've taken that one woman show to New York, I've written and produced two short films (one of which is in a film festival), written my first book and just landed a new agent. I'm not saying that to give you a list of accomplishments. I'm telling you so that I can tell you how afraid I was with making each of those moves! With each new phase in my creative career I've had to make the choice to push forward even when my stomach was in my throat or my heart was beating a million miles a minute, or when I was bone tired and still pushing through long drives and late nights.
Here are 3 Ways You Can Overcome Fear
1. Separate Yourself From the Outcome
Many times we are afraid to jump in and do things because we are hung up on the outcome.
One day when I was sitting with my daughter who had to write a story for class. She had thought about it, written her outline and was stuck. She kept saying she didn’t know how to start her story out. She asked me for help and I said:
Write a crappy first draft. Then I can help you edit.
She responded with more pleas for help.
I urged her to just write whatever came into her head because you can’t edit a blank sheet of paper. I kept making up crazy first sentences until I got her laughing and she ended up writing her story in no time.
When you are attached to the outcome all kinds of stupidness sets in like perfectionism, comparison, and fear of failure…or success. Detach yourself from the outcome and trust the process. If that doesn’t work remind yourself that EVERYONE started out with their first time at something.
- Leonardo DiVinci one time had to paint his first painting
- Martin Luther King Jr. had to give his first speech
- Mother Theresa had to help her first orphan in India
- Yours truly once had to give birth for the first time
But then there was a second time and a third time and then a hundred more times. Except for me and the birthing part. Three is quite enough thank you very much!
By not worrying about the outcome you are able to take the pressure off and relax which is key to letting your creativity flow. Worrying will not make it any better so when it comes to worrying about the outcome forgeddaboutit.
2. Break it down into smaller steps.
One reason that people get into analysis paralysis is because the thing they want to accomplish seems so daunting and overwhelming! Just like a toddler who sees a floor full of toys and his parent says “clean it up” a grown up who has a big task ahead of them will have a meltdown. When it’s your first time (and any other time) tackling something you’ve never done before it’s important to break it down into manageable parts.
For example if you wanted to create your first online course it can seem really scary if you’ve never done it before. What type of platform do you use? What do you write about? How much do you write? How do you market it?
I know because I just went through this task myself. I had to break down the list into smaller parts and work a little bit on it every day until it was done. It was hard but by doing a little bit every day I was able to make progress and eventually finish the project!
3. Do Your Research.
We live in a glorious age where you can find out how to do almost anything by looking it up on the internet. If you want to make a movie, build a computer, or make your first paleo recipe you can find out how to do it! You can find interviews from others who have already done the thing you want to do! So go ahead and familiarize yourself with the as much as you can before you get started if that will help squelch your fears.
But don’t let yourself get into what I like to call the research vortex where it’s so easy to do so much research that you actually never do the thing that you want to do. It almost feels like you’ve done it by living vicariously through the internet. But at the end of the day you have to make yourself DO IT!
The secret to doing something for the first time is to be like Nike and Just Do it!
Since the writing of that blog post I’ve done my one woman show around my city at an international festival and in New York. I’m in my second season of producing my first web series and I’ve acted in over a dozen films and commercials.
I’m no one special. I wasn’t born into money or opportunity. I am the daughter of immigrant parents who didn’t know anything about the entertainment business. But I was determined to follow my dreams. I always remember these two quotes:
Done is better than perfect. (me)
It’s okay to be afraid. But it's not okay to let that fear stop you. So just do it afraid. (my gymnastics coach)
What are you working to do for the first time?