In some aspects I am that fearless person and my passion to do certain things knows no bounds. At other times though, the longing is there, however the feelings of self doubt creep in and I am therefore held back by my own insecurities. I don’t feel particularly insecure on the surface, but if a fear of not being good enough at something is holding me back from doing it, then surely I have to admit that it stems from insecurity.
I think it comes down to knowing our strengths, or at least thinking we know them and getting into a habit of focusing on what we know and have been proven to be good at. A pastry chef may be confident in their ability to make the most amazing Profiteroles, but then ask them to say, make fresh pasta and they may feel unsure of their capability to do it to the standard which they have perfected with the profiteroles – and so may be reluctant to even try. This is a somewhat random example and there may be a pastry chef who reads this and is thinking ‘actually I can make wicked fresh pasta for your information!’. But my point is, stepping out of our comfort zone, even if only slightly, can often be more daunting than we give it credit. And so we find ourselves saying things we’d like to do, knowing full well that they are not entirely unachievable, however we never get round to doing them, due to something deep down holding us back. It’s that hidden insecurity, which we often bury with the age old excuses of not having enough time, or the right tools or enough money and so on.
When I think of all the things I started when I had no clue and very little resources but went ahead and did anyway; I think of how different things would have been if I had maybe never been brave enough to give them a go. My blog for one is probably one of my biggest examples. When I started my blog I didn’t even read them, I just had a passion to create and share and so that’s what I did. Of course I look back at some old posts and laugh to myself at their pointlessness, my questionable outfits and my writing (or lack of)…but if I hadn’t started, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Now I couldn’t imagine not having this little space on the internet and it still amazes me that it evolved into part of my job…but what if I’d never started. What if that self doubt had crept in, what if I’d had that overwhelming fear of not being good enough and I hadn’t just gone ahead and published my first post and continued to share regardless. Who knows, maybe I would have found something else that I was equally passionate about to focus on, maybe I wouldn’t. All I do know however, is that in starting I have no regrets and in fact I feel thankful to my past self for being fearless enough to just start something new.
Even when I look back at the things I tried and failed at, I never look back with regret, as each thing has taught me a lesson or two along the way, if not only given me some very funny stories, some of which I’ll maybe have to recount to you in future posts.
I guess it all comes down to the push. I’ll explain what I mean by that in a second, but first I want to say how it’s funny that I’d written the start of this blog post a couple of weeks ago and it had sat on my desktop, unfinished since then. Over the weekend though, I spent a lot of time chatting with some of my fellow creative friends and a lot of what we discussed actually focused on the topics in this post. I guess that’s what inspired me to pick things back up and finish this post today.
Basically, when chatting to a friend, I’d used an elaborate metaphor to describe a situation of trying something new and quickly transitioning from one period to another. I said how the thing we want to do but maybe feel too afraid to try is like diving into a swimming pool from a high up diving board; you find yourself standing on the diving board and looking down at the deep blue pool below. It looks appealing, inviting even, but you are so far away from it, it looks too scary to just dive right in.
And so you wait, stood on the diving board (in your safe space if you like) looking into the deep blue water below, wondering and imagining what it would be like but not feeling quite brave enough, or feeling like it’s not quite the right timing to just dive right in…until eventually, (if you’re lucky), you get the push. Either through forces outside of your control, or through your own urges to get on with it, you jump.
Then you find yourself falling and plummeting into the freezing cold water. It’s different, it’s outside of your safe space and it can even be a shock to the system. But then you pull yourself to the surface and catch your breath. You realise that you did it, in fact, you’re doing it right now. It still feels different but you dived right in and now you’re finally doing the thing that you’ve been wanting to do for the longest time.
It’s not necessarily easy, but you have two choices, you either stick in this pool and keep swimming, or you get out. The longer that you’re in the water though, the more you find yourself getting used to it and soon you start to swim, you even start to enjoy and become good at it and eventually you look back and think, I’m glad I dived in.
Like I said, that was my very elaborate (and somewhat long winded) metaphor, but it’s the best way I can describe the process and it pretty much sums up some of my own experiences. There have been times where I have got out of the pool (metaphorically speaking) after having dived into certain situations. It’s important to know that not every experience will wind up being for you, and that’s completely okay…but then if you never try you’ll never know. So what’s it going to be, stay firmly planted on the board, or dive right in?
The photos in this post were shot by myself. I have a series called #SamiosSelfPortraits which you can see more of here.