Friday, February 22, 2013

Fear is a liar.

I ran across this last fall, and I love, love, love it! As a creative person, fear is a constant companion. Will they like it? Is it good enough? Am I good enough?

As a creative leader, one of my favorite moments is when I share with a new writer or art director that every single one of us is afraid.

Afraid someone will "find out" that we aren't sure what we're doing.

Afraid our boss will realize we're "winging it."

 Afraid we aren't smart enough, creative enough, good enough.

The look on their face when I give voice to the fear deep inside them, as the fear bubbles up and they think "how does she KNOW?!"

Then the subsequent relief when they realize they aren't alone anymore in their fear.   Liberation.

Creativity is always winging it. It's taking risks. And fear lives and breathes alongside risk. Fear feeds on it.

When I saw this quote, it immediately moved me. As a wordsmith, I find it beautiful. "Fear is a liar."

It doesn't say "fear is a lie." It could have, but it doesn't. The author must truly and deeply understand the profound nature of fear, because he recognizes and personifies it for what it is. And it's a liar.

When we think of fear as a being, not a thing, we can better recognize it's presence. And perhaps resolve ourselves to be more comfortable when we find it. It's like the playground bully. We can't make him go away. But we don't have to listen to him. We can stand up to him. Or we can ignore him.

Regardless which route we choose, to engage with him, or to walk away from him, in the end all that matters is that we understand the simple truth that he is a liar. And liars always lie.

 So when he tells us to quit, to stop, to leave, we know we should do the opposite.

When he tells us it will end poorly, we will be humiliated, we will look stupid, or that our ideas will be rejected, we know to soldier on.

When we name him, and know him, we will always recognize him. And we will know him for who he is, and we will know that we are ok, because everything he says is a lie.

Liberation. For fear is a liar.  And liars always lie.