Mistakes, Fear and Creativity

Flickr by Ron Mader

Flickr by Ron Mader

When I was a child I was RIDICULOUSLY afraid of everything! I wanted all my ducks in a row as well everyone else’s. I remember hating when my mom would say “I don’t know where we are,” when we were driving. I’d have a full blown meltdown. I was sure that it meant we were going to die driving around and we’d never make it home again (this always happened in neighborhoods or populated places but that never played a role in my panic). I became the caretaker of all of my friends even in elementary school and never did I want to get into trouble. Never.

While I was a scared child, I was also a pretty creative child.  I wrote children’s books, all of which I still have. I had an alter ego named Tiffany Sportslender. Tiffany was a mogul…she ran a sports equipment store but later went on to be a television anchor, owned several boutiques, was a banker, lawyer and all around business woman. I’m dead serious when I say that was 4-5 years of my childhood. Ask my mom, I’m fairly certain I wanted my name legally changed to Tiffany Sportslender.

I think my fear and creative were linked in a weird way. I think my overactive imagination caused me to be fearful of mundane things. Which is why I could easily jump from “we took a wrong turn,” to “this is how it all ends.” As I got older I stopped being as afraid, but trust me there are still moments when I have to talk myself off a ledge over something silly. I’m still an overly cautious person and hate doing anything too scary.

I have recently realized though that being safe and avoiding fear means killing creativity. I’m not saying I need to take up base jumping, but taking more risks in life would be beneficial. I’m not sure I could come up with as many children’s book ideas now as I did when I was 6, I’m still pretty impressed when I read some of them. I need to let my mind run wild, even if it means scaring myself.

I believe women in particular get stuck in playing it safe. We think we need to be the caretakers so we need to be level headed and make sure nothing bad happens EVER. That’s also why women gravitate towards authors such as Elizabeth Gilbert and Cheryl Strayd, they are the women we aspire to be. They looked fear in the face and said “Fuck off.” They made huge mistakes and it made them who they were.

We need to stop fearing fear and embrace it. Use fear to spark the creativity. No one should strive for a safe, perfect life. No one should strive for 100% success. Those things don’t make for an interesting and meaningful life. Those things don’t inspire.

One of my fears is sharing my ideas. You have no idea how many blog posts are sitting in the “drafts” section because I don’t feel confident about publishing them. What if someone doesn’t like them? Who cares. My personal goal is to write one new blog post per week, even if I know someone might hate it, it’s mine and I want to love it and give it the attention it deserves. This is going to take some accountability so I’m counting on you all.

What scary thing are you going to do to spark your creativity?


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