This weekend marked my one year anniversary as a freelance artist. For years, I'd dreamt of this: being my own boss, supporting myself with my art, dedicating my time to making my own dreams come true.
But despite knowing that all of this was waiting for me, I couldn't take "the leap." I was afraid, so I lingered. And then I got laid off. And then I didn't have a choice.
I'm not here to tell you to quit or to follow your heart or to trust your instincts. You already know that.
I'm here to tell you about the other side. The first morning of waking up and realizing you're free.. then paralyzed with fear because everything is up to you now. Then waking up 100 mornings later, feeling that freedom soften, and recognizing fear as the friend that hasn't left.
The most important thing I've learned from my first year of this new life is that this fear isn't going anywhere. At least, not for me. So instead of trying to overcome it, I welcome it.
This fear inspires me to be more intentional with my daily decisions. I willingly chose a job that I knew would bring unsteady income, so I compromise. I eat out less. I don't own a car. I thrift before buying new. All of these are worthwhile compromises if those extra pennies help me live off my artists' income.
Most importantly, this fear means I won't let failure be an option. It can't be. It drives me to work harder, eliminate the nonessential, and make every bit count. Betting on myself-- on my life-- might be a risk, but the return is invaluable. And nothing else matters anymore.
What I'm saying is: don't be afraid to be afraid. Being afraid is not the worst thing that can happen to you. In fact, it often inspires the best versions of ourselves.
So, what are you afraid of?