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Overcoming Fear with Focus

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At the end of each semester of teaching I do a lot of reflecting. What went well, what didn’t, what do I want to change, and what do I want my focus to be. Yesterday as I sat at my desk with papers sprawled around me, it was feeling a bit overwhelming, so many classes, so many students.

Then I remembered that it doesn’t have to be perfect, and I don’t need to have the entire plan and every lesson written out at once.

Yes, I could just reuse lessons, that would save me time, and while I reuse some, they always get changed. That’s what happens when you take the time to reflect, you slowly but surely keep making adjustments, so that you work gets better and better.

Taking time to reflect is important no matter what you do. How often do you take the time to sit down, really look at your, your creative process or practice and adjust.

It’s likely that you don’t do it enough. Or that you aren’t able to break it down, and so it feel overwhelming, causing you to give up.

As I sat at my desk with class lists in front of me, my schedule, and piles of grading , I decided that I needed to start by focusing on what really matters. I need to choose a few words that were going to be my focus and driving force for the semester.

So I wrote, kindness, compassion, aesthetics, beauty, confidence. I let out a deep breath, my shoulders fell back into place, and I was ready to go. These are my words, and as I began to create the first week of content, I kept checking back in, does it match with my mission words. It’s so much easier to move forward when you have a focus.

You’re probably not creating as often as you want to, and your number one excuse is that you don’t have enough time. The real problem is that you don’t have focus, and your lack of focus is allowing fear to creep in and hold you back.

Take 10 minutes, yes you do have 10 minutes, even if that means you need to get up a little earlier or stay up 10 minutes later.  Get out a piece of paper and answer the following questions. 

Don’t spend a lot of time thinking, just write down what comes to you. And keep writing for each answer until you feel like you don’t have anything else to say.

click here to download the worksheet: fearandfocusworksheet

I want to create because:__________________

My work can make a difference in the world by:__________________

My work is important because:__________________________

I am important because:___________________________

When I create I feel:_____________________________

I want my work to tell a story of:__________________________

I do the following instead of creating:_________________________

I don’t create because:______________________


Read back over your answers, which make you feel open and free, and which make you squirm and retract?

Choose a few of the words that resonate with you. Now get out your calendar and create your schedule for the week. If you’re putting something on your schedule that doesn’t match your words, see if you can take it off.

And when I say create a schedule I mean write down everything, exercising, reading, running errands, watching TV, making art. Remove the things that are holding you back, and replace them with what will set you free.


This is a process, and it’s not an easy one. You’re going to need to keep checking in with yourself, as fear is powerful force. That’s why I created Creative Confidence, it’s a 5 week course, where you have a support system, helping you to get back into your creative groove. Plus, after the 5 weeks, I don’t just fall off of the face of the earth. I’ll still be here to answer questions and offer support.

It’s time to share your gifts with the world. Let’s get started. http://theunstandardizedstandard.com/creative-confidence-e-course/

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