Overcoming Fear of Doing Something New

Thursday, May 16, 2013
Fear held up my progress in lessons these past few weeks. In Lesson 2, there was a segment on painting a face and I skipped it. I knew there were other ways to finish my picture, so I went ahead without the paint. Then came Lesson 4. I couldn't avoid it this time. Happening to come across a sale on paints while out shopping one day made the decision to try this a little easier.

tamdoll finished upturned face moving away from fear
 Final Upturned Face - Paint and Pencil

I procrastinated so much today until I stopped myself & decided that I couldn't put off the inevitable - I finally sat down to work through the lesson & asked something that usually gets me through a tough spot - "What's the worst than can happen?" That's when I realized that the worst thing would be to have a horrible picture & about $20 in supplies that I may never use again. Things started to seem a little easier. Like I didn't have too much to lose.

Sketch for Upturned Face

I almost stopped after just drawing the face - I wasn't thrilled with it, but if I spent more time to draw another, I would never have gotten to the paint - it was just another excuse. I don't know why I had such an aversion to trying it - fear of something new was the only thing I could think of. At this point I started looking at it like a challenge - I couldn't let this get the best of me.

tamdoll painted upturned face moving away from fear

Final Upturned Face - Paint

When I was done, I breathed a sigh of relief and said "I'm done, now I never have to do that again." But wait! It wasn't so bad! I didn't like this face so much - not the lips, or the shading - so yes, I will have to do it again. And each time I do, it will get better and easier. And my stash of paint won't have to go to waste.

I may even start to like the process.


I realized it's been a very long time since I tried something new and out of my comfort zone.

Next time you have to do something you may be afraid of trying, ask yourself "What's the worst than can happen?" When you realize that there's nothing really to fear, accomplishing new things can be an adventure. (Unless you're sky diving, or training lions or something like that.) Someone told me this over 20 years ago when I was just starting out in the corporate world and it has worked for me since - from facing an auditorium full of people when I had to give a presentation, to teaching classes and volunteer opportunities. Who knew I'd be using the same advice for something personal and creative?

Mermaid Circus class

10 comments:

  1. First of all - you are too hard on yourself. The face is lovely. It may not match your idea of what it should have looked like but dismiss that and look at it again!!! It is wonderful.

    Second of all! Meee tooo! Those times when we keep putting something off - it usually is because we are not all that certain we know what we are doing!!! If we will be able to get the results we want. Succeed in our endeavor. When i catch myself in this state, I take one teeny tiny baby step and that is usually all it takes! But i like your solution very much!!! Thank you!

    Funny how powerfully subversive fear of the unknown can be, isn't it. So glad you overcame it and made this beautiful face to share.

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  2. I'm so happy you persevered! Draw on- and paint!
    Xoxoxxoxox Jane

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  3. Lorraine Eidlitz5/17/13, 4:32 AM

    Hi Tammy,
    Fellow mermaidcircus classmate here. Just wanted to tell you how great it is that you brought yourself up to the plate so-to-speak. I'm digesting a LOT from this class; it preoccupies me a lot. But I've only posted one picture with paint pens back in April and can't seem to apply myself the way you have. You took the plunge. I hate that cold water in the deep end. Classmates like you who are putting it out there INSPIRE me. I just wanted you to know that I think you're on a roll. I know it's the doing that propels us forward, but it's the intention that gets us started. Great on YOu!

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  4. I think it came out great! I get what you're saying though. I am hyper critical of myself so sometmes it's hard to move forward. Keep at it!

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  5. Thanks Pam for your kind comments! I'm going to keep trying with the faces, I'm learning that it's the painting part that is hardest for me. It has been such a very, very long time since I tried something completely unknown and unfamiliar - but I think getting uncomfortable is good & some future creativity will be inspired by it.

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  6. Thanks Jane!! You're a great teacher and I'm so glad I jumped into this class - doing something new is inspiring me in so many ways, like rejuvenating my creativity.

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  7. Lorraine, thanks so much for your comments! You only posted one picture - but did you create more & just not post it? I think the best thing to do is to "Just do it". Or take baby steps like Pam (see comments) suggests. And share on our class page!! It would be awesome to see what you come up with.

    I am so antsy when I have no projects on hand and recently had to take a break from constant knitting & crocheting (& video game playing) - without this class I'd really have nothing creative to look forward to in the evenings or on my days off. And the expense + all the new craft supplies - I have to justify it and produce something for my family to see! As an extra bonus, I think the pen and paintbrushes have been good therapy for my hands & maybe I'll be knitting again soon.

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  8. Judi thanks for your comment! It's funny how many reasons I can come up with to stop or re-do a project, but if I just get started, I enjoy doing it so much - I wonder why I hesitated in the first place!

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  9. Tammy, it's quite natural to fear what you don't know. What you do to overcome your fear is what separates individuals. I'm glad you took up the brush because your face is pretty good. Quite like statue of liberty. I have a lot of fears in my real life. But when it comes to crafts, somehow I'm fearless. I often give my kids the same advice as yours. What's the worse thing? And I always say this to them. If this is the worst thing in your life right now, then your life is pretty good.

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  10. Thanks Jane! My husband says he likes the first face I painted better, but this is the one I did right in my notebook, so it's here to stay. It does seem silly to put things in perspective & realize that being afraid to try something new like painting is so much less fearful than doing something more drastic in life.

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