Unsure Turned Courageous
Recently, I’ve noticed that when given a morsel of encouragement—anything really—I turn into She-Woman. I feel like I can accomplish anything. My husband, a songwriter/singer/piano player, also needs encouragement from outside sources—a.k.a. those not in his family or immediate circle of friends. He has received countless “Atta-boys” and “you’re so amazingly talented” from his family alone. Perhaps it makes him wonder sometimes “Do they really mean it? They are my family. They love me anyway.”
If we all admit it, encouragement from outside sources is a big deal. I’ve realized this more this past week as one person’s compliment lit up my world. Let’s face it: Artists are among the most sensitive on the planet. We constantly wonder whether we are any good and if we may ever live up to our potential. Whether you call yourself an “artist” or not, we all experience self-doubt, fear and anxiety. For these ailments, courage is the remedy. It is easy to allow self-doubt creep in, prompting us to wonder, “Well, I’m not courageous…what have I done?” Stop. Right there. Leave it all behind. Begin with a single act of courage today. Anything will do. Then try two tomorrow and three…well you get my drift. If we want to be courageous, we must step out—in faith—with action.
Zig Ziglar tells us, “Do it, and then you will feel motivated to do it.” How true. Forcing myself to do the things I believe I need to do, not what I feel like at the moment, has been key. Feelings are powerful. They serve me when I need them and other times, I call them out. And later, I’m glad I did. Joan Baez said,“Action is the antidote to despair”. In my experience, this is true. The days despair came knocking on my door is when I gave up my choice to act; choosing instead to lie down and take it. It’s no way to live. Thankfully, I renew my choice to act each day now. Fully aware that life is not simply happening to me, but that I choose to take specific actions (or not), motivates my days. Despair has no ground when we choose to live this way.
As I finish this post and glance down at my eco-friendly coffee to-go, I notice a word jumping off the mug at me: COURAGEOUS. How appropriate since “courage” is on my brain and I already chose to write about it today. I am choosing to be courageous today. Are you? What small step will you take?
To read more about “artist doubt”, check out this neat article titled The Unsure Artist: http://on.wsj.com/PFG4wK.