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Feeling The Fear and Not Always Doing It Anyway.

Updated: Apr 2

When I think about my ambition it makes me excited and sad in equal measure. I’m excited for all the projects and work I can make and be involved in; all the people I could meet; the places I could go; the experiences I could have. I’m sad because it all feels fanciful and unachievable, mostly because being successful in a financial way in the art world seems like weird alchemy/witchcraft, especially working in sculpture.

Over the last month I’ve been overwhelmed with the jobs to be done and had some serious mental blockage over the last couple of weeks.

I tend to turn to a good podcast when feeling adrift and last week my little brain cogs began to realign while listening to the Repairing Your Relationship with Achievement and Hustle episode of the Unpublished podcast. I realised fear was holding me back from progressing. I kept my notebook beside me for the next few days and every time something I'm scared of came to mind I wrote it down. I rung my brain dry of fear and woke up the next day energised.

I wanted to share some of my fears here to encourage others to think about what fears might be keeping them from moving forward.

  • Fear of being tired. Fear of burn out. Fear of exhaustion. - What if I become so successful I’m too exhausted to enjoy it?

  • Fear of what I can accomplish. - What if it’s bigger than I can handle?

  • Fear of engaging in a toxic system. - Big blocker.

  • I’m scared that I’ll do all the work and nothing changes. - Nothing changes if you do nothing.

  • All the work and I don’t get where I want or need to be. - You’ll end up somewhere.

  • What if I don’t like it when I get there. - Do something else.

  • I want to be doing something big. What if it never happens?

  • What if I keep making art with nowhere for it to go and end up living a life of poverty surrounded by my own art ‘til I die?

  • What if I’m not good enough?

  • What if my art is shit?

  • If I’ve not ”made it” now will I ever?

  • I’m scared nobody gives a shit. I’m scared I’m invisible.

  • Am I too old? Should I get out and give way to the fresh graduates?

  • I’m scared of giving up.

  • I’m scared I’ll always struggle financially.

  • Scared of never truly being brave enough.

  • Scared of forgetting who I am.

  • Scared of being in a position that makes me revert to old behaviours - People pleasing, nodding in the face of perceived authority.

  • I’m scared I’ll shrink to fit.

  • I’m scared I’m too niche.

  • I’m scared of not being art worldly enough.

  • I’m scared of inaction while simultaneously being paralysed into inaction.

I originally posted this on LinkedIn, I did not include my personal fears, only my work based ones. Here's my personal fears that are holding me back from my fully full life.

  • I'm scared I'll be alone forever. - Always thought eventually I'd find my person but the older I get the less likely it feels. I'm mostly ok with being on my own but having a good partnership is an experience I'd like to have.

  • I'm scared that all men are shit.

  • I'm bored of the men I encounter being shit.

  • I'm scared I'm just passing time until a man appears - not so much these day but it does still feel a little bit true.

  • I'm scared another 10 years will pass and I'll not have sex.

  • I'm scared I'll never receive intimate affection/closeness in my life.

  • I'm afraid I'll have to settle - more likely to settle for myself being alone than settle in a partner.

  • I'm scared that I can't have it all.

I think it's important to see all the fears both professional and personal otherwise you're not seeing the whole person.

Tell me what you're scared of?

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