Monday, March 14, 2011

Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown

(Brought to you by our friends at Art Business Advice)

If your goal is to be a professional artist, you will probably need to accept the fact that many parts of your life are going to be filled with the unknown. In the beginning you will not know how much to charge for your work or when your next paycheck will arrive. You might have no idea how to file quarterly taxes, where to get health insurance or how to save for retirement on your own.

If thoughts like this make you mildly uncomfortable, moderately nervous or flat-out scared you are not alone. But…DO NOT let those fears keep you from doing what you really want to do.

Here are some techniques that may help:

1) Try New Things Even When You Don’t Have To

I don’t try new things as much as I should, but it’s very easy to see the positive impact when I do. Getting out of my comfort zone always reminds me of my core strengths—the skills I fall back on when I’m not in my element. For me, this builds more confidence in my ability to handle the unknown than in sticking to my schedules and lists.

If you are like me, your tendency will be to stay in certain environments or surround yourself with people or things that you are comfortable with. In the long run, though, that kind of coddling will just create more uncertainty and fear. Instead of sheltering yourself, start expanding your horizons. Over time this will build up your tolerance for the unknown.

2) Research the Edges of the Unknown

Many fears can be vanquished by educating yourself on the particular "unknowns" that you are facing. If you don’t know what to expect from a career in art, talk to other artists, research online and/or find a mentor. Keep in mind that this technique can be both a blessing and a curse. It is very easy to research and make plans. It is never quite as easy to follow through and act upon them.

3. Line Up Several Fallback Options

Instead of diving immediately into the unknown—such as, quitting your job tomorrow and switching to a full-time career as an artist—it makes sense to come up with a list of secondary fallback options. Having a backup plan makes it easier for you to devote more of your attention to your art instead of worrying about what you will do if it does not work out.

4) Fake It Until You Make It

Once you have committed to heading into the unknown, commit to being confident, as well. This means acting like a professional even if you do not feel like one yet!!! Buyers will feel more comfortable purchasing art from you and you will start to believe in yourself more and more. It may be something of a mind trick, but it does work, so give it a try.

Ultimately, having a fear of the unknown will only hold you back. The more you explore any unfamiliar situation, the less fear there will be.

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

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