Feeling a little unsure about your future as an artist? Check out this month's article for some helpful advice about overcoming that anxiety.
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Dealing with Fear and Uncertainty
by Quinn McDonald
When you own your business, you have freedom to set your schedule and choose your clients. You also have freedom from a regular paycheck, reduced healthcare costs, and shoving the blame for bad decisions somewhere else. Not all freedoms are equal.
Looking at my schedule, I see it's not as full as last month's. I immediately feel fear, financial stress, and worry. That's how I face most problems. Trouble is, those emotions don't solve problems. So I sit down to a meeting with my fear and stress. This is actually a great form of meditation. Instead of pushing all thoughts out of my head, as many ways of meditation instruct, I invite fear, uncertainty, and stress in. I sit with them, and ask them what they have to contribute.
"If you don't get work soon, you will lose the house," Fear said, getting right to the bottom line.
"But you only know training and writing and journaling, and that isn't being used in this economy," said Uncertainty, "and you don't know anything about wielding a shovel for all those shovel-ready projects," Uncertainty added.
"You are too old to get back to school, and that would take too long to retrain you, so you better stop eating or driving, because you are in bad trouble," Stress said.
"Thanks for letting me know, " I said, "but once we've established all that, what comes next? You've told me what isn't working, but what can I do that will work?"
Fear, Uncertainty and Stress were quiet. Fear spoke up first. "Well, if you don't do something, you will be in big trouble."
"OK," I said, "But that's the same thing you already said. I want to hear something I can do, undertake, think about." Again, Fear, Uncertainty and Stress were quiet. They had not been quiet for a long time. Every time I sat down to meditate, they would clamor so loudly that I could not meditate. I spent all my time chasing them out of my head.
By inviting them in, listening to them, and asking for specifics, they had exhausted their efforts in the shortest of time. So we sat there, in silence, until I said, "Well, I teach several courses on journaling. I could write a workbook on one of them, and that would reach a bigger audience. And my friend Helen has some really good art ideas, maybe we could put a class together that neither one of us could teach separately.
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