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Fear and Work

"Fears about yourself prevent you from doing your best work, while fears about your reception by others prevent you from doing your own work (my emphasis)."

One of my favorite books is Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It has much to say about the creative process that applies in many ways to the careers many of us are trying to create for ourselves. 

The quote above has major implications for our careers. When we have fears and insecurities, operating perhaps from a fixed, rather than a growth mindset or where limiting beliefs control our behavior, this can hold us back from real competence and growth. We are unable to be our best because we are worried that we can't be our best. Dealing with these internal fears and insecurities is key to us doing our best work. 

Even more important, though, is the notion that when we are worried about how others will perceive us, this prevents us from doing our own work. Particularly when it comes to creative knowledge work, I believe that we are called upon to find within ourselves our positive core--those gifts that are uniquely ours and that we are uniquely positioned to bring to the world. When we worry incessantly about how others will react to this work, we will find that we are reshaping it so that it is no longer our own. The work is devoid of real life or breath because it is not a real reflection of our positive core. It's a shadow and there is no strength to a shadow. 

So the challenge for us is to find and work from our positive core, not compromising on those essential things that we know at the deepest level are true and right. We are richly rewarded when we are working from our gifts, both in the quality of our work as well as in the happiness and purpose we find in doing it. 



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