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Facing Fear and False Beliefs

by | Apr 20, 2015 | The Practice of Art | 0 comments

500ClimbingThis weekend I was on the climbing wall for the first time and doing just fine until I looked out. Realizing how high I was (about 25 feet which felt like 200) I panicked. Adrenaline coursed through my body. My palms got sweaty, which only happens to me when I am totally in the grips of fear. And then all the reasons on why I couldn’t, why I shouldn’t go any higher started flooding into my head.

Now, to be clear, I was tied in. My awesome sister-in-law Jenni was belaying me, she has done this sort of thing thousands of times. Everything was fine. But fear had just reared its ugly head. And fear is a very large monster.

Why am I climbing when I am afraid of heights? Because the only reason I wasn’t climbing was because I was afraid of heights. So there I am, on the side of wall telling myself why it is okay to quit.

I already reached my first height goal.

My hands are sweaty, that can’t be safe!

It is my first time and I’ve done great for a beginner!

I’m panicking. Why should I stay up here and panic?

I yelled down to Jenni that I was coming down. She looked up and simply said, “but you’re not at the top.” So I took a few deep breaths and I made my choice. Climb. I climbed and the fear subsided a bit. It was still there, as the remnants of adrenaline don’t disappear in an instant. But it was overtaken by satisfaction, joy and a great sense of accomplishment.

Why am I telling you this on an art blog? Because it applies everywhere in life and is most definitely found in creation and business. Fear will rise up and try to boss you around. Often it is sneaky and you don’t even realize it is fear that is making these choices that you’d swear you’re making for some justifiable reason. But if you are giving yourself the excuse talk it is time to shut up and climb. Being an artist can be a very fearful thing, but for me I try to keep moving past that to satisfaction.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford