How do we overcome fear and deal with it?
Any activity where you put your work “out there” can be terrifying. You are suddenly open to criticism from people you really don’t know…especially if you post on the internet.
Sometimes faceless strangers can make unkind remarks, but you must realize that the remarks they make are about themselves, and usually have nothing to do with your own work. You are sharing your creation, and something you are proud of, your own first-born. Positive comments will outnumber the negative ones, so focus on the positive ones.
Fear of failure can stop you dead in your tracks
It’s been said that many creative ventures are like space travel…stepping into an unfamiliar territory. You don’t know where, exactly, this piece you are working on will take you. Don’t be scared to take that risk. The most it can cost you are some pieces of metal, which can be retrieved with a bit of imagination.
Know that all of us, as jewelers, have stepped into the unknown and yes, we have all lost some silver or copper in the process. But what you will learn will far outweigh the cost of the metal. Step back, look at the process, and proceed again. You will be surprised how much you learned, and you will have a path of where to go from your mistake to inspired creativity, plus how your confidence has increased.
Fear of success can hide in the shadows and undermine every step
Yes, fear of success is a huge fear. You have just finished a series of earrings, and sold everything you made. How do you top that, and what’s more, can you?
What if you succeed beyond your wildest dreams? What do you do now? What is your next project? Can your next project be as successful as your last one? Where do you turn? There are a million ways you can go, but what if you design something and no one likes it? What if you can’t keep up with the demands of a new gallery?
Chances are your worst fears are not going to happen. Remember, you did it once, you can do it again, and this next time you won’t make the mistakes that you did on the first pieces. You had some doubt about those pieces, too, in the beginning, didn’t you? You probably had a series of failures in those pieces, but the joy of the success dims the memory of those early failures.
Have confidence and make that creative jump. Grab that passion and have another go at it. Once you get started, you will wonder why you ever second-guessed yourself.
Believe in yourself
I teach a lot of beginners. In my studio is a small sign over the solder area that says “Nothing teaches success like failure.”
Think about it. You may be very successful in your designs and sales, but somewhere along the way, a failure has led to success. I have often said that doing 1400 techniques does not make you an expert, but doing one technique 1400 times does. You will learn from every experience, as each one presents different circumstances. It’s hard to say to others to get out there and “Just do it”, but that is a way to show the world that you believe in what you are doing, and you have the ability and passion to stand up to the world and say “Look at what I can do!” It’s very empowering.
The way to overcome your fear is to face it head on
You may have a few critics, we all do, but don’t let the naysayers stop you. Go for it, sacrifice a bit of metal in the name of learning a new technique. Fill out that form for an art festival and send it in. It’s spring, the time for new growth and rebirth. Go for it and have a wonderful time. After all, all the great inventors in history has some failure, but the difference is, they stuck with it.
Go for it
We at Wubbers send you good thoughts and strength, so follow your heart, go with your passion. Make it so.
Lexi Erickson, President of Wubbers University, is an internationally-known artist and teacher based in Denver, CO.