Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

How To Pick a Fight With Fear and Chase Your Dreams

fear train station

This is the Part Where I Quit

Fear tries to bully me into silence. Shame swears I’m not qualified. Insecurity sneers that I’ve got nothing worth saying. So this is the part where I quit. Unless it isn’t.

My heart aches to make beauty, to change things. But these voices roll around the corners of my soul when I think about anything that involves creativity and truth. So I’ve played small, dabbled in little side projects, secretly longed for more. I’ve occasionally ventured into deeper waters, but it’s never been long until I succumb to those voices. They’re calling again, whispering in my ears about writing, about this blog.

At some point, all creatives find ourselves here. Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, calls it resistance, and the experience is unmistakable. The rush of the brand-new wears off, fear sets in, weariness fills your marrow. You wonder if you’re cut out for this, if it’s selfish to chase your dreams, if anybody cares about what you’re doing.

Does it matter? Is it worth the price? Is it worth fighting the fear?

Usually, I decide it isn’t, and I throw in the towel. But not this time.

Fear is a Bully

I’m tired of letting fear tell me I can’t be my whole self. I’m tired of believing I can’t have the life of my dreams, that I need to compartmentalize my soul and bury parts of it.

The reality is that fear never fully disappears. It can only be mastered. The authors of Art & Fear tell us “what separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit.” The same is true in any worthwhile endeavor: we challenge our fears and fight them off, or we submit to them and let them rule our lives.

How to Pick a Fight

So instead of quitting, this is the part where I pick a fight with my fears. And, like any bully, fear isn’t so bad once I stand up to it. Pressfield calls it “turning pro.” It means going all-in, showing up to my passion like it’s my job, refusing to consider whether anyone else cares or sees.

When I decided to turn pro some weeks back, I realized goals and dreams wouldn’t be enough. Habits and practice must sustain me here. The simple, profound truth is that all it takes is showing up, day in and day out, and creating.

Not everything I write makes its way to this blog, but nearly every day for two months, I’ve worked on stringing words together. When I’m tired, when it’s inconvenient, when I’m sick, I’m still spending at least a few minutes growing as a writer.

It’s Worth It

And you know what I’ve discovered? It is worth it. It’s worth it to be fully alive, to be all I was made for. Whether or not I write a book anyone reads or reach a million people on this blog, it’s worth it for the simple joy of acting on the dreams of my heart. My life is richer and happier for facing into the fear and doing what I’ve always longed to do.

It’s worth it for you, too.

What are your secret dreams? I’m sure you’ve dabbled in little ways and heard the screaming resistance. Maybe it’s a business idea, the dream of running a marathon or learning graphic design. Whatever it is, it’s worth it to feel your soul come alive. Don’t let fear steal the life you want. Make time to show up to your passion, even for five minutes each day.

What is it that your heart jumps for? What is it keeping you from chasing it down? What would change if you turned pro in your head? Tell me about it in the comments or email me at sarah@beautifulbetween.com. I’d really love to hear.

More reads on facing fear and pursuing your passion:

Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

Mutiny of Dreamers by Melissa B. Hawks – I read this in one sitting and cried through half of it!

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About Sarah

Hi, I'm Sarah. I love coffee, pancakes and street tacos. I'm a learner, a traveler and a creative mess. I've got a thing for redemption and seeing broken people living beautiful lives. That's the story I've lived, and the one I want for you. Let's be friends!

5 Replies

  1. Love love love this. Reminds me of my recent post about “jumping.” Here’s to not quitting! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Stephanie!

  2. Jocelyn Simmons

    Yes Yes and Yes my Darling it is worth it!

  3. “It is worth it. It’s worth it to be fully alive, to be all I was made for.

    It IS worth it, my friend! You and that beautiful heart of yours. YES to all of this!

    This post made me get all teary-eyed. Thanks for telling your truth and inviting us into the challenge.

    Happy Tuesday,
    Steve

    1. Thanks Steve, I’m working on it! Never imagined it would be so tough, but it is so good! Thanks for being a friend!

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