As I gear up for the launch this Thursday, I’ve been reflecting back on the creative timeline of this project and comparing/contrasting it to things I’ve made and launched in the past.
Through that exercise, I’ve been revisiting the many lessons I’ve learned about overcoming my fears and getting something out into the world.
These contemplations were swirling around in my head (what else is new) when a close friend asked me, “So, are you nervous to launch Color Your Soul?”
Instinctively I was about to reply “Of course!,” as I would with every other thing I’ve launched in the past, but instead I just paused.
I paused because while the answer IS yes -- there’s always that fear in your mind that no one will like or want or buy what you’re making -- I was actually astounded at just how little time I had spent thinking about that fear over the course of the summer, which is honestly a real departure from my normal operating procedure.
Truthfully it never even occurred to me NOT to launch Color Your Soul once the idea came to me in its fully realized form. And whatever doubts or fears momentarily arose, they were quickly quieted by my passion for getting the thing made.
BUT... this, as I said, is NOT typical of my process in the past.
And I know from the many emails I’ve received from several of you on this list that creative fear is a very real hurdle, one that has the power to take what’s in your head and your heart and allow it to gather dust.
So I thought to myself… When did it change? What made the difference? When did I reach that point where I was able to dull the voices of fear in my head and what nugget of wisdom might I be able to pluck out and pass on to anyone whose fear voices are the loudest thing in the room?
Well before I get to that nugget, a quick backstory…
Back in 2011, I was still working for a local ad agency back in Florida. In my less productive work hours, I would find myself straying away from my work and over to my favorite design and lifestyle blogs (I justified this distraction time as “gathering inspiration.”)
I would cozy up in the archives of these popular online spaces, clicking through page after page of words and images and all this juicy creativity, and I would find myself feeling equally inspired and envious. I was completely envious of these people who had such distinct and well-developed creative voices.
The more I saw other people expressing themselves in this very public way -- a way that had the power to connect with a random stranger like myself -- the more it felt like a mirror reflecting back my own desires, and, more importantly, my own UNREALIZED potential.
I could sense I had something to say, but I didn’t have the first clue about how to say it. I knew I had a voice that was begging to be shared too, but I was afraid that no one would care about it.
The fear and overwhelm of not knowing where to start just paralyzed me.
The days and weeks and months ticked by and I remember feeling more and more stifled and frustrated as I kept imagining myself as one of those bloggers I so admired, only to quickly return to reality, disappointed that this vision existed only in my head.
Until one day, the pain of carrying these suppressed creative impulses inside became so beyond frustrating that it finally drowned out every one of my fears.
The nagging desire to share my own voice became so persistent that it outweighed whatever hesitations I had.
So I finally started my blog.
I was reluctant and full of doubt and honestly kind of embarrassed at first, wondering what my friends would think. But from the moment I hit publish on my first post, I experienced this relief that's hard to describe. Like a colorful bird that had been trapped in a cage was finally free to fly.
That blog became a place that I could share my writing, my creative ideas and, really, work through my own journey of self-discovery. It was my sandbox to play in, to learn and to stretch the creative muscles that I didn’t even yet know the extent of.
That blog turned into a few side design projects which turned into my full-time design business which evolved into the Made Vibrant brand that exists today.
It’s five years later, but with every single thing that I bring out of my head and out into the world today -- whether it’s something as big as a new website or as small as one Instagram post -- the same basic battle is waged between my fear and my creative impulse:
Will I express what’s inside or will my fear keep me from doing so?
In those moments, I always think back to that day I decided to start my first blog because it illuminates for me this very simple logical conclusion in my brain:
The PAIN (and yes, I do think it is a soulful, psychic kind of pain) of keeping untapped potential inside me is a fate far worse than putting it out into the world and seeing what comes of it.
Once you finally reach that rational conclusion, you start to feel you’re virtually unstoppable because you have no choice but to go on making.
THIS is the nugget that allows me to silence my fear and keep on creating things, and now it makes sense to me why Color Your Soul has felt like the most fearless thing I’ve ever created.
It’s not because I don’t HAVE these fears anymore (like I said, they’re always there, and, if anything, when it’s something you care so much about, they’re even more present); it’s simply that my fears are WAAAAY outgunned by the truth and vision and creative impulse I have within this project.
The notion of NOT publishing something this aligned with my creative spirit is so heartbreaking to consider that it makes the alternative -- overcoming my fears of rejection -- seem like nothing more than a necessary step in the process.
So, my challenge is to you this week is to get REALLY acquainted with the pain of standing still.
I want you to think about that thing -- that novel, or blog, or business, or song, or career -- still sitting inside you begging to be born. I want you to ask yourself what kind of impact that untapped potential is having on your heart, what kind of subtle shade it’s creating over your true spirit.
And then I want you to ask yourself:
What’s scarier -- overcoming your fears of rejection OR living your whole life with that subtle shade never being lifted?
I promise you...
Once you decide that your greatest fear is doing nothing at all, the courage to make things becomes a whole lot easier to muster.
Wishing you all an AMAZING week, and I’ll be back in your inbox on Thursday with all the details about the new website, Color Your Soul and more!