One thing that I’ve recently come to understand about living a creative life is having to make room for fear. In fact, plenty of room. Creativity cannot take a leap forward without fear trailing behind it. To be creative or think creatively requires risk and thinking outside the box. Oftentimes, I find myself getting swept away by some charge of energy – a thought, an idea or a magnificent piece of work. It's then too that anxiety comes rushing in when I think of all its possibilities. This is why one must be careful when dealing with fear, because killing or avoiding fear, inadvertently kills creativity. So I’m learning to accept fears’ echoes. To make room for it, and the less I fight it, the less it fights back. Actually I found it sticks around less and less. I wrote a letter to my fear as an exercise and found it very liberating.
What would your letter say? Here’s what I wrote:
My Dearest Fear,
Mr. Pippin and I are embarking on a road trip together. We’ll be picking up Creativity along the way. I know you’ll join us, because that’s what you do. I also know how much you take your job seriously initiating doubt and ridicule whenever I try to do something meaningful. A round of applause on how well you’ve always done your job.
Therefore, come along if you must. But I will remind you Fear, that I too have a job to do. My job is to work hard and be as true to myself as possible – I know it sounds crazy, but this often requires taking risks. So make yourself comfortable in the back, there’s a fold out coffee cup holder for your convenience.
While on this road trip, do understand this: Mr. Pippin and I will be making all the decisions along the way and we will only acknowledge Creativity ideas and input. I respect that you are a part of this company too, and will want to make all the noise you can to be heard and obeyed. Let me be crystal clear that I am in charge. Your echoes will only serve as a reminder of how much I need to do this. You’re not allowed to play with the GPS or fidget with the iTunes. But above all else my dearest Fear, you’re NEVER allowed to take the wheel of this vehicle.
We’ll be heading off this winter for an adventurous road trip! All of us then, together. Driving along the rocky yet incredible stretch of unknown highway.
P.S. We’re picking up Inner Child along Imagination Highway. I’m told she gives the nastiest ear noogies and eats Captain Crunch nonstop.