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(noise)letter: How To Combat Fears That Stop a Dream in its Tracks

Happy Halloween! In honor of this spooky season, let's talk about everyone's favorite topic - FEAR.

Just to clear the air - a lot of marketers want to scare you into believing you have a problem and then leverage your insecurities to convince you to buy their solution.

That's not why I'm here.

I'm here to acknowledge the fears that artists face on a daily basis that throw us violently between confidence and insecurity. At the very least, I hope to validate your experience, expel the myth that wrestling = weakness, and encourage conversation surrounding these primary (very legitimate) fears that can stop a dream dead in its tracks.

Whether you're a musician, artist, writer, entrepreneur, maker, or creative thinker, you've probably had to face one or all of these at some point in your journey. 

#1 Fear of rejection

Obvious first choice, right? Making art is an extremely vulnerable thing, and a lot of times, the idea of marketing that vulnerability as a product can feel gross and straight up terrifying.

But there's something about artists - we all know it - that thing that we can't ignore. The thing that tells us we have to create or else we're going to implode. To many of us, it's the thing that makes life worth living.

Beauty. Art. Ideas. Thought. We have to lean into these universal values and remind ourselves, in the face of fear, that we are able to articulate them for a reason. There is purpose in art, and while not everyone will see or appreciate our work, there are those who will and they are the ones who matter to our career.

In the face of rejection, do everything you can to let it fuel your momentum forward. You can't please everyone, so use the feedback you receive to narrow your focus and clearly define your audience. Use it to target the opportunities that will really move the needle for your career. Learn how to serve your fans by discovering what does and doesn't work.

All of this data comes from risking rejection, and there's not really a way around it. It's scary, but it can also be your biggest advocate for developing your brand. Keep your eyes forward and transform fear into productive energy.

#2 Fear of failure

No one sets out to fail in their life. When you put your creativity out there and it doesn't yield the results you hoped for, it can feel like you've been crushed and gutted. We think, not only did our effort not pay off, but somehow, our minds also trick us into believing that the piece of us - our identity - that we put into our work is not sufficient (a.k.a., we are not enough).

This lie is the sole driving force behind the fear of failure. This one is hard to combat alone. It takes a tribe who knows you, can see you, and can affirm you outside of your own thoughts. It also takes intentional self-affirmation, which may or may not align with your current emotions.

Ultimately, the fear of failure only has as much power as we give it.

And remember, a lot of times "failure" implies that there will not be another try. Keep hold of your power over this one by getting back up and trying again.

#3 Fear of the unknown

How many times have we heard that only a handful of musicians "make it," only the top tier of actors get the big gigs, only a small percentage of entrepreneurs have a business that sticks? There is always risk involved in creating. The very nature of creativity implies engaging with the unknown.

Scary? Hell yes. Certain? No way. Worth it? Depends on what you're looking for.

If you're asking if there is a guarantee of success when we commit to taking the risk, the answer is no. If you're asking if any great thing can be achieved without taking a risk and stepping into the unknown, the answer is also no...

What does "worth it" look like to you? Does it look like guarantees and security? Or does it looks like growth, some serious struggle, battle scars, and experience that will widen your perspective regardless of the outcome?

In the words of actor, producer, director, and screenwriter, William Hurt, "Great risks come in long term, tremendously assiduous, very courageous study."

I hope you take a risk today. Put yourself out there with no expectations and see how it plays out. All the best art had to risk rejection, failure, and the unknown to become understood, appreciated, and seen for what it's truly worth.

Happy Halloween and stay safe out there tonight!

To your success, Naø 🖤

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