Inside the heart of every Creative is a gift to be shared. In the mind of every communicator, a story waiting to be told. And in them both, you’ll find a longing, an outlandish dream, a deep hope — and a diabolical question that threatens to undo it all.
What if no one cares what I have to share?
What if I never make it past the gatekeepers?
Am I kidding myself to think I can do this?
What if all my work — these plans, this hope — are for nothing in the end?
What if it doesn’t work?
The Creative Mind
No, friend. I haven’t stolen your diary. This is the plight of the artist. We worry. We wonder.
Creatives see what others can’t see and say what others don’t. Many of us feel the weight of that burden to get it right, to say it perfectly. When we add to it our need to be accepted and appreciated, it can be a recipe for confusion, procrastination, disappointment and shame.
Not exactly the emotions you want to feel when you’re trying to share your gift with the world, am I right?
It’s true that some artists create simply because they must, without attachment to the outcome. (We hate those people.) But for the rest of us, mindset matters.
Our thoughts and feelings guide us to or away from our mission. When we feel we’re on target, we create with boldness and faith, confident our work will find its home. But when we’re unsure, we question whether or not our effort is “for” something, and we hold back. We don’t fully commit or follow through. We drag our feet and lose momentum, focus and hope.
The Results of Self-protection
If that’s you in this season, chances are good you’re struggling with the questions above. When you know what you should be doing, but you’re not doing it, there are reasons.
Stop beating yourself up and take a moment to investigate why. Chances are, you’re self-protecting. And doesn’t it make sense that you would? Doesn’t that make you intelligent in this case?
If you believe on some level it’s not going to work out, that your time and effort are all for nothing, wouldn’t the smartest part of you put the brakes on to keep you from potential hurt and wasted time? Wouldn’t something else feel more urgent and important? When you really think about it, why would you follow through?
And so, we sit…waiting for a day that won’t come, busying ourselves with lesser things, shaming ourselves with this lesser life, protecting a dream that we are sabotaging.
Doubt is ugly and mean, my friends. And its effects are numerous. Confusion. Laziness. Fatigue. Apathy. Wasted time. Stolen potential.
So, let’s play this out. What if it doesn’t work? You try and fail. The book sits in your garage. The speech never gets booked. Your gift goes unshared. You try, but ultimately, you never get the traction you deserve.
Sad story. But you know what’s worse than that?
Never writing the speech that could shift the conversation.
Never finishing the book that could change the world.
Stopping short, before you truly even tried.
So yeah…maybe it won’t work out for us the way we’d hoped. It’s possible. But don’t you want to reach heaven’s gates being someone who never gave up on the gift that was yours alone to give the world?
The truth is none of us know what the future holds. Try as we might, we just can’t see it. And it takes just as much bandwidth to believe something good will happen as something bad.
The next time that little voice in your head whispers “What if it doesn’t work?” remind yourself that the only way to know for sure is to try — with everything you’ve got — for as long as you’ve got it to give.
And then, for good measure, ask yourself this better question…
What if it does work?
Chance Scoggins is a Certified Life & Business Coach for creative entrepreneurs. He blogs about bold, authentic, intentional living to over a million readers at www.chancescoggins.com. For more information about his process, check out www.chancescoggins.com/coaching.