Are You Afraid To Succeed?
(Before I go on, I'd like to apologize for not doing my usual art journal quote. BUT, I did actually take this photo and alter it so it's still all my work. I'll explain in a bit.)
Let's say you've been working hard to make your dream come true, and one day opportunity comes banging on your door. Would you hesitate to open it? Would you doubt yourself?
Is the thing that's actually holding you back from going full speed, 110%, hustling and putting all your energy into your work because you're afraid of what might happen if your dreams actually came true? We all know failure to some degree, but not many have achieved true success. For most it's a daydream, a someday-when-I-am-(fill in the blank), something to help us get through day to day drudgery.
Fear of success is a real thing. It causes us to procrastinate, to say no to opportunities because they may be too good to be true (even if they're not), or after saying yes, to suddenly want to back out of things. It was so much easier for me when my art teacher entered my work into juried shows for me. If it was up to me, I probably would've procrastinated, then "oops, I missed the deadline."
A week ago, I was toying with the idea of teaching classes. Actually, it's something that had been on my mind for some time, but trying to figure out timing is difficult when I have two little ones at home, especially when those two little ones are going to be homeschooled, and a husband who works long hours in the office during the week, coming home after 8 some nights. And now, a week later, not only do I know that I will be teaching classes, I also know where and that it's going to start one weekend in October. Not only that, but in two weeks I'm also going to be demonstrating to a crowd of onlookers the process of needle felting, putting some of my work up on display, hopefully sell, and see people face to face when, up until now, I've been able to safely hide behind my computer screen. I am not just stepping out of my comfort zone, in some ways I feel like I'm flying to another planet. All it took was one quick email to the first place I thought to ask. And I know this is just the start.
I guess with all this happening, it feels so much more real. Up until now, I was in a "fake it til you make it" mode, putting up one thing online, then another, gauging reactions. A lot of it is made up assumptions or fears in my head, like thinking my husband would in some way disapprove because that means I would be spending time away from the family on the days he's home (I promise, Sundays are ours), or that I couldn't invest the money needed up front for supplies to sell kits and grow my business. And yet, after talking to him, I realized I was being defensive about things that weren't issues and he seemed more approving than I thought he would be. I know, many people will be shaking their heads wondering why I need his okay to follow my dreams, but it does affect him. When you're living off a single income that isn't yours, and there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, you are essentially asking him to trust you, to believe in you, to invest in your dream with you. We're not talking about an every day expense here, like buying groceries or a little something for myself here and there. And I think maybe in my head, I came up with this "oh, well he's not going to like it" thought because I knew that if he didn't approve, then I could back out and not take full blame for quitting. Now, not only does he believe in me (even if with the slightest bit of healthy skepticism), so does the studio owner at Mermaid Art Studios. I owe it not only to myself, but to them as well, to give it all I've got.
Up until now, I could've just closed up shop, stopped writing my blog, deactivated the social media accounts. There's no going back now. Quitting is no longer an option (not that it was, but if it had been...).
Going through it, I can tell you it's not a bad feeling. It's not like the fear you get when there's bad weather and you or a loved one has to travel through it. There's no gut feeling that something bad is going to happen. It's more like the feeling you get when you get the acceptance letter for the college of your dreams, when you sign the lease on your first apartment, the mortgage papers for your first house, putting on your dress on your wedding day, or when you go into labor with your first child. It's knowing that your life is changing, and even though you really wanted it to happen and are excited for it, you have absolutely no idea what to expect any more. Because, even if life kinda sucks right now, you're already familiar with that.
Don't fear your future, embrace it. You can adapt your life to the changes you make, it's all within your control. When opportunity comes knocking at your door, welcome it with open arms. It's going to be an awesome ride.