This post. I’m not sure if it will ever see the light of day, but if you are reading it now then I found the courage the pull the trigger and share with you.
This post is about being afraid. About my fears as a photographer. They’ve been showing up A LOT lately. I don’t have a real beginning, middle or end to this post. I’m not sure this will be coherent to anyone but me (hence the reason you might not ever see it).
I have this theory about why the voices of fear in my head are louder today than they have been in a while. It is because I’m about to start doing something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. Something that I’ve worked hard for. And now that it is almost here, fear is messing with my head. Fear is trying to get me to walk away from embarking on my dreams. Fear shows up when we are invested in something, when we care and when something really matter to us.
I’ve wanted to be a mentor and teacher of photography for a long time. I love the whole learning process, being both a student and a teacher. I get to be part of this amazing workshop, Ultimate Intro to Photography, that Courtney has put her entire heart and soul into over the last year. I get to share my knowledge with students who are wanting to better themselves as photographers. I could almost burst with excitement. I get to share my passion! I had no idea where I wanted this photography journey to take me when I started, but this is absolutely the path I want to be on.
So now that it is just about time to saddle up, my fear is tugging on my shirt trying to pull me back from the starting line.
These are the thoughts that seem to get louder as the days pass:
-Who do you think you are to be teaching? You still have so much to learn yourself.
-Your photos don’t look near as good as the other Mentors in the workshop.
-The students who get your for a Mentor are going to be upset they didn’t get Trisha, Beth, Allison or Laurie.
And you know who else has been showing up? Fear’s sidekick–Doubt.
-Doubt has been laughing hysterically at the fact that I wrote not one, but TWO, articles for Click It Up A Notch about Building Confidence as a Photographer and Part 2 and yet here am I am full of them with regards to myself and my work.
-Doubt has been saying “Who is going to ever believe a thing you say again about photography if you publish a post saying you doubt yourself and you are afraid?”
– Doubt taunts “You are coward. You tell everyone you don’t have time to pull together a portfolio for juried shows. But we know the truth. It is because you are afraid of being rejected and then these voices that say “you aren’t good enough” will be validated. So you don’t even try.”
Then comes Shame to round out the trio.
-Aren’t you embarrassed that you only shoot with one lens? And it is only the 50mm 1.8 at that? You can’t even take a photo of your lens because it is attached to your camera!
-Your workspace. Seriously? It’s dark and not color coordinated. You don’t work on a Mac like everyone else does. You don’t have cute desk accessories. Or even a planner. You don’t use a planner?!! (Yes that is an Angry Birds cup and a new pack of toothbrushes…every successful photographer has toothbrushes on their desks, right?!!)
I wonder if others ever feel this way, too. I really don’t know that fear and doubt ever leave us. I think maybe they get louder and stronger as we get closer to the things that are important to us. I share all this with you not to fish for compliments or reassurance, quite the contrary…I share this because one of the best confidence boosters out there is finding someone else who knows those fears and doubts, too. Just hearing someone else say “Me, too!” can make these three shirk back into the darkness. So bookmark this page, this article, and come back to me next time you are feeling those fears creep in. Read my words again and take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. That while I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I think deep down fear whispers the same things to everyone at some point in their life.
I used to think that the opposite of being afraid was NOT being afraid. But I’ve come to a different conclusion based on this last battle with it. I think fear will always be there, no matter how many successes we have to our name, no matter how many Facebook fans we have, no matter how confident we are with ourselves. I now think that the opposite of fearing is simply doing. It’s just showing up. It’s just doing what you are afraid of despite being scared.
How do you deal with self doubt and fear?