I’ve been thinking a lot about fear… where does it come from, why do we have the fears we have and why don’t we all have the same ones?  Why does something make us nervous one day and feel paralyzed the next?

Fear is a funny thing… it’s our brain’s way of trying to keep us safe.  Sometimes it does and sometimes it just keeps us from reaching our potential or going for something we really want.

Is it important to overcome every fear you have?  I don’t think so.  Is it important to overcome fears that are standing in the way of you and the life or business you want?   Absolutely!  Unless you are happier feeling safe than taking a risk and getting what you want of course. 🙂

Here’s a recent example:

Tara Reed in a go kartA few weeks ago my sister and brother-in-law were in town and my brother thought it would be a fun family activity to go go karting.  My son had done it and loved it!  I had been in go karts at amusement parks and some other family recreation type places and thought, “Sure!  Why not!”

Well… when we got there I realized this wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  These were some SERIOUS go karts!  You had to have a driver’s license to drive them.  You had to wear a really heavy helmet.  You had to watch a safety video… I immediately began to feel fear and discomfort creep in.  I told my husband, “This feels like a cruise excursion that I shouldn’t have signed up for!”

We went into the track and listened to our instructions.  They told us how the track was a little slicker than normal because the ice and snow were dripping in a little from the roof so be careful – especially on that first turn… my stomach knotted up a little more…

I got in the car, I took deep breathes. I told myself it would be fun, I could do this and there was nothing to be afraid of.  I watched as my mom went, my brother, my sister and so on… my mouth got dry.

Then it was my turn.  I squared my shoulders and hit the gas.  It would be ok.

WELL… I HATED EVERY ONE OF THOSE 10 MINUTES and it was all I could do not to drive into the pit early or, quite honestly, cry.  I don’t like driving fast.  I don’t like spinning out around corners.  I had no interest in trying to beat anyone, pass anyone or do anything other than finish the race and get the heck out of the car!

Is this a fear I feel I need to conquer?  NO.  I have no plans on becoming a race car driver.  I didn’t get any enjoyment from the process.  I tried it, I finished it and it wasn’t for me.  Will it alter or inhibit my life if I don’t do it again? No.  So to me, it was a ‘bucket list’ activity and I won’t do it again.  EVER.

Now if you are laughing and thinking I’m silly and shaking your head in wonder and thinking “How could she NOT have liked that???” you are not alone.  My whole family, including my 69 yr old mother, agree with you.  But the fact remains: not my cup of tea.

Let’s move on to another example:

When I learned about art licensing, I was intrigued but I had a lot of doubts and fears too.  No one will like my work. (fear)  I won’t make it because I don’t have any “real” art training. (fear) People will judge me for trying and failing. (fear)  I could go on and on but I think you get the idea.

Similar things come up every time I do something a little different, a little bigger or a little further outside my comfort zone.  I had to deal with some fear when creating the Art Licensing Academy program.  What if no one signs up? What if people start judging me harshly on Facebook? What if, what if, what if…

Do I need to get over these fears?  Absolutely.  Because if I don’t, I won’t be able to live the creative life I want.  I won’t be able to teach and help and inspire other artists.

Will it negatively affect me if I let the fear stop me?  Yes.  So these kinds of fears need to be conquered.

I googled “songs about overcoming fear” and found this catchy tune called Tightrope by Janelle Monae.  There may be a few lyrics that don’t thrill some people but the overall message is awesome – your life is a tightrope and it’s up to YOU:  you follow or you lead, you blame the machine or you keep your balance…

What is your choice?  Feel the fear and do it anyway or let the fear tip you off your tightrope?

Here’s the song and the lyrics for you to ponder… and remember, you don’t have to overcome every fear, but it’s in your best interest to overcome those that (a) won’t kill or maim you and (b) stand in the way of what you really want!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

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LYRICS – Tightrope by Monae and Leftfoot

Another day
I take your pain away

Some people talk about ya
Like they know all about ya
When you get down they doubt ya
And when you tippin on the scene
Yeah they talkin’ bout it
Cause they can’t tip all on the scene with ya
Talk about it
T-t-t-talk bout it
When you get elevated,
They love it or they hate it
You dance up on them haters
Keep getting funky on the scene
While they jumpin’ round ya
They trying to take all your dreams
But you can’t allow it

Cause baby whether you’re high or low
Whether you’re high or low
You gotta tip on the tightrope
T-t-t-tip on the tightrope

Whether you’re high or low
Baby whether you’re high or low
You got to tip on the tightrope
Now let me see you do the tightrope
And I’m still tippin’ on it

See I’m not walkin’ on it
Or tryin to run around it
This ain’t no acrobatics
You either follow or you lead, yeah
I’m talkin’ bout you,
Or keep on blaming the machine, yeah
I’m talkin’ bout it,
T-t-t-talkin’ bout it
I can’t complain about it
I gotta keep my balance
And just keep dancin on it
We gettin funky on the scene
Yeah you know about it
Like a star on the screen
Watch me tip all on it

Then baby whether I’m high or low
Baby whether you’re high or low
You gotta tip on the tightrope
Yeah, tip on the tightrope
Baby, baby, baby
Whether you’re high or low
Baby whether you’re high or low
Tip on the tightrope
Baby let me see you tight rope
And I’m still tippin’ on it

Big Boi:

You gotta keep your balance or you fall into the gap
It’s a challenge but I manage cause I’m cautious with the strap
Do damage to your canvas that a doctor cannot patch
See boy you don’t want no friction like the back of a matchbook
Daddy Fat Stacks will fold you and your MacBook
Close shows, shut you down before we gon’ go backwards
Act up, and whether we high or low we gonna get back-up
Like the Dow Jones and Nasdaq
Sorta like a thong in an ass crack
Come on

I tip on alligators and little rattle snakers
But I’m another flavor
Something like a terminator
Ain’t no equivocating
I fight for what I believe
While you talkin’ bout it
Jus-jus-just talkin’ bout it
Some callin me a sinner
Some callin me a winner
I’m callin you to dinner
And you know exactly what I mean
Yeah I’m talkin bout you
You can rock or you can leave
Watch me tip without you

N-N-Now whether I’m high or low
Whether I’m high or low
I’m gonna tip on the tightrope
Baby, baby, baby
Whether I’m high or low
High or low
I got to tip on the tightrope
Now baby tip on the tightrope

You can’t get too high
I said you can’t get too low
Cause you get too high
No you’ll surely be low
1, 2, 3, Ho!

Yeah, yeah
Now shut up, yeah
Yeah, now put some voodoo on it
Ladies and gentlemen the funkiest horn section in Metropolis
Yeah, yeah, yeah, OH!
We call that classy brass

Do you mind?
If I play the ukulele
Just like a little lady
Do you mind?
If I play the ukulele
Just like a little lady
As I play the ukulele
If I play my ukulele
Just like a little lady

Read more: Janelle Monae – Tightrope Lyrics | MetroLyrics