“If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”

~ Confucius


Recently a couple of things happened that gave me insight on how we fail. We were discussing how one of my friends was going to participate in an upcoming art event by submitting his photographs. Although he is extremely talented, enjoys this activity, and has many years of experience, when someone asked if he was a photographer, he casually replied that he was not, and only did it as a hobby. Several people there who know his talents forced him to say out loud that he was indeed, a photographer.

Then at lunch with friends, one of them mentioned she just started a podcast. Almost immediately she said it was just a “crazy idea”. We corrected her and insisted it wasn’t crazy at all and praised her for being courageous. We also told her about how we thought her eloquence made podcasting the perfect vehicle for her to express her ideas.

My friends are not the only ones who have a hard time doing something creative and then tentatively putting it out there. I tremble every time I am about to click the PUBLISH button on my blog site, and on several occasions, I have referred to it as a “baby blog”!!! Most of us suffer from fear of being judged or criticized, so we protect ourselves by stating it’s just a “hobby”, or a “crazy idea”, etc. That way if we don’t succeed (whatever definition of success we have in our mind), we can always go back to the safety of our practice space.

So, at what point do we give ourselves permission to leave our safety zone and enter the real world? When do we consider ourselves photographers, podcasters, bloggers, artists? Is it after many years of practice and experience? Perhaps after having the right education or certification? Does that make us now official creators or subject matter experts? I propose that we will never be experts, and that is just fine.

We should allow ourselves to fail. The first time will be no doubt devastating. It will sting a bit less the second time. By the third time, we may have a scar which will protect us from further damage. Then eventually we will realize that there is no such thing as failure (or success for that matter), but just a continuous process of growth. Allowing others to see a buried part of ourselves is the only way we will find our true inner voice, which may have been hiding for long time, even from ourselves.

To find your voice, look at how you like to communicate with others AND how well you do it. Both factors must be there. You can speak to many or few, write, paint, sing, dance, etc. We are very fortunate to live in a place and time where there are multiple ways to transmit your message. Then look for support group to learn from, and eventually teach to. And finally, don’t give up. You can stop to catch your breath, but then keep going. You may not see the fruits of your labor immediately or when you desire, but they will come.

In encouraging my friends to go for their dreams, I realized that I had stopped writing my blog. Their example inspired me to get out of my writing hiatus. Sometimes you feel you’re the only one who feels pressure to step out of your comfort zone. Having these moments of sharing our fears was a great lesson. We should all go out there and work on our own crazy ideas. In the process we will learn about ourselves and we may even push those around us to move forward. I’ll go first. I am a Blogger!



My friends’ sites: Coffee Talk Podcast and Arbitrary Pixel Photography