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Jonathan Larson QuoteIn the song La Vie Boheme from my favorite musical Rent, Mark sings, “The opposite of war isn’t peace…it’s creation!”

I love the line, but I know that for many people, the act of creation puts them at war with themselves, or at least their inner critic.

Whether you’re a writer or a designer or an artist or a performer, the act of true creation involves a sharing of personal thoughts, dreams, insights, emotions. And by virtue of that sharing, we make ourselves vulnerable. We worry about what others will think about us and our work, whether it’s worthy, whether we’re any good. Or maybe, we wonder, others won’t even care about what we’ve created at all.

And so the fear sets in. The fear that what we create won’t be any good, and therefore, we ourselves aren’t any good.

And that kind of fear can halt creativity in a New York minute.

But what would happen if we welcomed the fear? If we took our worry over whether or not people would embrace our creation and turned it into fuel to create more?

In his fantastic book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes:

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.”

That last line warrants a repeat:

The more fear we feel about a specific entreprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and the growth of our soul.

So welcome the fear like an old friend. Let it know you were expecting it. Give it its five minutes to be heard. And then politely ask it to hit the road so you can get back to the important business of creating.

You have something to share. And the world will be better for it.