I don't know about you all, but I often hold myself back from starting something new. With my recent streaming on Twitch, I've been researching other people's Twitch channels, watching them paint and interact with their viewers. I would say, "I want to do that!" And then the doubt would set in.
"I don't have enough time for that. I'll just disappoint people if I can't stream often enough."
"Everyone has fancy channels with cool graphics. The broadcasting program is too confusing"
"What if I freeze up and don't know what to say?"
Then I read this quote:
That's what helped me make the jump last week and just get started. I streamed a rough, unscripted version, and I flew by the seat of my pants. I don't make it a habit, but sometimes you need to force yourself to get started whether you're ready or not-- if only just to prove to yourself that you can. Sure, you could have a bad experience when trying new things (often that's my biggest fear), but we stand to gain so much more by stepping out of our comfort zones.
While this sentiment can be distilled down into the famous Nike's slogan, "Just Do It", I much prefer the way Hemingway describes it. Getting started is extremely difficult for me. I don't like to start things unless I know exactly how they'll end (movie cliffhangers are the bane of my existence). I over-think things and I don't make decisions quickly before weighing all the pros/cons at least twice. If someone says to me, "Just do it", I say, "Wait, first I need to ____ and make sure of _____." I'm a logistics person. It's what makes me good at my profession, however, I struggle to take risks, both big and small. To me, everything is in black & white-- you're either 100% prepared, or you're not. (Camping with me is not fun. I'd bring a pack mule if I could and I'd name him Hobart.)
While I absolutely love my personal comfort zone, I'm still not content to stagnate. I always want to be listening, learning, and growing. I always want to get better; I want to be the best. However, I don't go about this in the aggressive elbow-your-way-to-the-front way that's widely accepted, even applauded, in today's society. It's "I want to be the best" not "I want to be better than everyone else". There is a difference, I promise. One sentiment means you want to rise to the top and excel personally despite all odds; the other is rooted in the idea of pushing other people down in order to succeed. I think your work should speak for itself. If you do receive compliments, I believe you should accept them politely but not revel in them. I dislike braggarts-- modesty is a form of politeness, not weakness. There aren't many who share this sentiment, and I'm always extremely pleased when I learn about others with similar minds. One of those people who has built a successful career this way is Felicia Day.
I recently finished Felicia Day's book titled "You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir". It is excellent.
I thoroughly enjoy audiobooks that are narrated by the author-- they alone know how it's truly meant to be read. Felicia Day is hilarious both as a person and in her narration. She's funny, genuine, and I empathize with her personal struggles so much that it's painful. Felicia embodies the neurotic, obsessive "praise monkey" who wants everything to be perfect and will make serious sacrifices to achieve her goals once she sets her mind to it (and trying to make it all look easy). I aspire to be like her (just without the nervous breakdowns). Felicia shares her struggle with thyroid issues-- the exact thing I'm going through now. Luckily, my hair hadn't started falling out like hers did, but I could relate to almost every horrible moment she went through before she was diagnosed and made significant changes in her life. I'm very happy for her that she was able to get this addressed, and I'm beginning my own road to recovery.
For anyone else who struggles with chemical imbalances or is just a general worry wart, I hope that you can get things back on track. Whether it's just to start a new project or gathering the courage to seek professional support, I encourage you to dig deep and find the conviction inside yourself. Even if it's just making a list of things you want to try and picking one at random (and sticking to it). I did this the other day and laughed at myself when it didn't turn out exactly as planned:
Tonight I'm going to start a new miniature for the Reaper Artist Conference. I'm not going to freak out if it's not perfect (I have to mentally prepare myself to ensure I don't allow my rabid perfectionism to take over). I'm letting go and trying new things. The biggest win for me is going to be able to share my process on Twitch, and if I win something in the contest, great! The important part is getting started and trusting in the organic, creative process. I invite you to follow me on Twitch-- see you soon! www.Twitch.tv/mocha_minis