By Nicole Tinkham
We asked (on our Facebook page) what your biggest struggle was when starting a new art project or learning a new art technique and we were blown away by how similar your answers were! So many of our artist friends responded to the question with “the fear of not being perfect”. We totally get where you’re coming from because we’ve been there too, and are still learning how to navigate fear in our lives. It’s difficult to jump into something new when you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing or how to achieve it. Not to mention how daunting that blank canvas looks when first starting. But we’re here to tell you that just getting started is more important than worrying about it being perfect. Learning as you go is part of the process! Read on for our top tips on overcoming the fear of getting started.
Determine where your fear comes from
We believe that understanding why you feel a certain way can greatly help in overcoming your fears and becoming a stronger person. So what are you really afraid of? Before you say “getting started” take some time to seriously think about this question. Are you afraid of failure? Are you afraid of what people may think of you? Are you afraid of rejection? Dig deep and figure out what is behind the fear you’re experiencing. Once you have a clear idea on what it is that’s holding you back from starting, you can work on overcoming that fear. For instance, if you’re afraid of rejection you may need to work on your confidence. If it’s failure, you need to remind yourself of the benefits of making a mistake. You will be learning along the way and mistakes mean you’re trying. That’s a good thing! In order to overcome the fear, you must start at the beginning and figure out what’s causing it.
Live in the moment
When it comes down to it, fear of getting started is really fear of the future. You must remember that the future is out of your control. You have no idea what will happen yet. You may make a mistake but then again you might nail it on the first try! You never know until you begin. It’s not only the future that you’re focusing on though. You’re probably looking at past mistakes as well. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have the doubt that you have today. The point is, we need to stop comparing the present to the past because we can’t go back and change the past. We also can’t control what will happen in the future. So the best thing we can do is live in the moment. What does this mean for your new art project? It means you must begin today. You just have to get started. Follow your heart and have an open mind. Know that anything can happen and roll with the punches, learning as you go.
Consider the worst that could happen
Whenever you’re worried about anything in life, think about the absolute worse thing that could possibly happen. Often times it’s not as bad as what you make it out to be in your head. Maybe you have the fear of being rejected. If you are rejected, what would you do? You’d learn from it and move on. You’d push yourself to improve and do better next time. Even if it is hard to deal with, you will live! Next time fear and worry creep in, do this little exercise. Jot down the worst case scenario and determine how bad it really is. You can do this with any area of your life too, not just when starting a new project.
Just do it
Take a deep breath and just go for it. Let go of your fears and worries. Pretend this is just for fun or just practice. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Have fun with it. We believe that it’s impossible to mess art up anyway. Let us explain: either you completely hate the piece in which case you paint over it and start new, or you fall in love with the imperfections or “happy little accidents” and keep it the way it is. Either way, you can’t lose so jump all in and give it what you got!
Plan to succeed
If you’re not a jump all in, wing it kind of person that’s totally fine! There’s nothing wrong with planning for success as long as you’re moving forward and aren’t just stuck in one place or allowing yourself to move backwards. When we say “plan for success”, we mean do some research before you begin, watch tutorials, take some classes, and really get an understanding of what you plan to do. Get yourself mentally ready to take on the challenge and once you get there, then it’s time to go for it!
Embrace the imperfections
Ok so you went for it and you made a mistake, now what? Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up over it. Everyone makes mistakes so this just means you’re totally normal (or at least somewhat normal…we can’t speak for other areas of your life :)). Don’t let this be the point where you give up though. Embrace those mistakes, learn from them, and allow yourself to grow as an artist. We’ve found that there’s no better way to learn than through making mistakes. It’s also important to laugh it off, forgive yourself, and continue moving forward.
The fear of getting started in any area of your life is a challenge for sure. But at the same time, you can’t let this fear of perfection hold you back from doing amazing things. We know how talented you are (we’ve seen your work on Facebook!) and we know you can achieve whatever it is you’re setting out to do. We realize that you’re often your own biggest critic but loosen up a bit. Of course there’s always room to work on your art but don’t be so hard on yourself that the fear prevents you from doing your thing! Really understand where this fear is coming from, focus on this moment right here and right now, realize that the worse that can happen isn’t as bad as you probably make it out to be, jump right in and do it or plan to succeed, and embrace those mistakes when they happen. We believe in you and know you can do this. Even if you aren’t your biggest cheerleader at the moment, you do have a support system RIGHT HERE!!
Tell us, what are some other ways you are struggling with starting a new project or learning a new art technique? Let us know in the comments and it could be answered in our next blog post!