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Navigating Fear: A Guide For Creatives

Updated: Feb 10

In August 2022, I quit my "Big Girl Job" to join my partner in growing our coaching business. One month later, I became pregnant, and my entire vision of what quitting my job and being self-employed would look like changed.


My original vision: Early days filled with yoga, journaling, meaningful meetings with clients, productive routines, and evenings spent socializing or relaxing, living a life by design.


Reality: Insomnia, sleeping in, nausea, overeating, wasting time, skipping yoga, relentless anxiety about the future, living a life frozen in fear.


Things didn't really pan out the way I thought they would. As the days passed, my once-clear vision became clouded by fear and uncertainty. I questioned my ability to be a good mother, a successful coach, and a supportive partner. Each day seemed to deepen the hole of doubt and insecurity I found myself in. 


creative mind stuck in a hole of stagnation

Getting Stuck

Fear presents itself in times of uncertainty or when outcomes are unknown. Needless to say, fear has been on my mind a lot in the last year. After leaving my corporate job and becoming pregnant shortly thereafter, the space for uncertainty and the unknown grew along with many thoughts rooted in fear that would put me in a very stuck place. Written below are some of those thoughts that played on a loop day after day.



List of negative, doubtful, limiting and fearful thoughts

Looking back, it makes perfect sense to me how I got so stuck. So much of my life was uncertain and unknown that all my fears felt like truths. Some of the concerns I had needed to be taken seriously and treated mindfully, like learning how to grow a business, be an equal partner, and become a good mother. While other concerns I had, painted a picture of myself that left me incapable of stepping up to those tasks. How is one supposed to move forward when their belief about themselves is that they are not capable of doing the thing they're supposed to be doing which would make them successful?


I cringe a little bit when I hear coach lingo like “overcome your fears” because that’s not entirely what we’re here to do. Usually, fear manifests as disguised concerns, presenting themselves as rational considerations that make us overanalyze our decisions and dwell on potential mistakes or negative outcomes. It causes us to hesitate and ultimately choose inaction over action. We're here to help you understand and recognize the difference between when fear is reasonable and appropriate vs. when it is causing you to be stagnant.


Getting Unstuck

You can't demand yourself out of the hole you dug yourself into. At least not for me. When I try to force myself out of the hole, it acts like a weight on my shoulders that seems to make me sink a little bit deeper into the mud. Use the following steps as a creative's guide to navigating fear.


creative mind coming out of a hole of stagnation and fear

Acceptance

Getting out of the hole starts with realizing you’re in one and accepting how you got there in the first place. Whatever you’re going through is difficult, even if you don’t think it should be. Be kind to yourself for being in the hole, for being stuck, for not knowing what to do next. Let yourself hang out here in the truth of that for as long as you need to, and know that you won’t be there forever.


Detachment

Try identifying and observing your fearful or doubtful thoughts from a distance. For example, instead of "I'm not good enough," try, “I’m having the thought that I’m not good enough.” Recognize that you’re experiencing the thought rather than it being an absolute truth. This can help you gain perspective on the negative thought patterns and self-doubt that may be contributing to your sense of being trapped in the hole. By disengaging from these thoughts, you can reduce their power over you and create space for more constructive responses.


Mindfulness

Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness will help you slow down your thought process and increase awareness so you can catch your unhelpful, fearful, or doubtful thoughts before they spin out of control. Observe your thoughts in a nonjudgmental way and respond more effectively by making choices aligned with your values. Which thoughts would you rather buy into? Thoughts of inadequacy, or thoughts of potential?


Taking Values-Based Action

Instead of waiting for the perfect moment start taking small but meaningful steps toward the life you aspire to live. Set achievable goals, break tasks into manageable parts, and celebrate any progress made along the way. One of the earliest thoughts I recall having when I was stuck in the hole was the decision to put my laundry away. This seemingly small action was significant because it honored my desire to embody capability, responsibility, and organization. By acknowledging my values and actively seeking ways to uphold them, I found that my ability to be capable, responsible, and organized gradually trickled into other aspects of my life.


We can help you with this process because we've experienced it, and studied it. We know that it's okay to have a healthy amount of fear. Fear often signals the significance of something in our lives and the potential risk it faces but don't let that get you in a stuck place. It's a slippery step back into the hole. Remember that you are capable of doing the thing you're supposed to be doing to be successful. Remember that you can live a life by design. And if you're stuck in a hole right now, remember that you won't be there forever. Follow the steps of acceptance, detachment, mindfulness, and taking values-based action. If you need help with these steps or want structured accountability and support, talk to a coach.








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1 Comment


Guest
Feb 09

This post really resonated with me, I appreciate you and Ted for putting content out like this!

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