The Intangible Force That Always Holds You Back

I was sitting in front of my fireplace on my favorite fluffy white rug.

That kind that’s impossibly soft yet impossibly difficult to clean.

I had coffee in my hand and my day planner, computer, and notepad were spread out before me.

It was a Sunday afternoon, so a fresh blank page welcomed me when I opened my planner to the upcoming week.

The launch date I had tentatively set for my collection was drawing closer, and so far my time management skills somehow based goals on another universe where I had 8 hands instead of 2 and 48 hours in a day.

I began writing down my goals for the week, trying to be realistic about the time each one would command.

Each page seemed hungry for sticky notes and reminders, and I was happy to oblige.

My to do list has always had a way of resembling that of a snowball –the more I check off as done, the more I have to do.

At times it seems like for every one task that gets finished, three more come to its funeral.

Throughout this process of launching my own fashion collection, one of the things that has kept me grounded has been an increasing awareness of which thoughts are meaningful and true, and which ones are just self doubt trying to kill my dreams.

The ability to distinguish the difference has been crucial in being able to move forward with sharing my ideas with the world (those of you that write or sell art or attempt to monetize your creativity in any way, my hat goes off to you). The fear is real, friends.

Lately, I’ve been trying to identify the intangible force that’s been holding me back for the past few months.

I know how hard I’ve been working, yet it often feels like the needle has barely moved, so to speak.

The list of accomplishments pales in comparison to the one that holds all the things I still have to do. The latter list overwhelms me and on some days, it feels like it swallows me whole.

It was that Sunday afternoon on my fluffy white rug that I dug deep enough to uncover what I like to label as self sabotage in the form of the list of things that “must be done” before I can sell a single dress to someone.

I’ve been labeling things as “Must Do Before Dress Launch” that should be labeled as “Bonus But Not Crucial” in order to subconsciously stall.

The fear of my business being a flop, the fear of “public” rejection (however public Instagram really is), and the fear of an endless stream of returns on the first dresses I sell has been the gatekeeper of my progress for the past year.

I’ve been in the preparation phase for so long that I’ve become too comfortable. As long as I haven’t put my work out there for the world to see, then the possibility of success still remains.

I don’t want an answer from the world because I’m afraid it will be the one I don’t want to hear.

These thoughts are false.

“Failure” only happens if you give up or never take the next step.

I’ve been terrified of failing, of people hating what I make, or worse, feeling absolutely nothing towards it.

It took immense reflection to realize that if I stayed in this pre-launch phase forever, that would be failure. Moving forward is moving forward, but staying stationery purely out of fear is failure.

Fear is real and shouldn’t be ignored, but it also should be labeled for what it really is: just another obstacle that must be stepped over. 

Is there anything that you’ve been scared of that has kept you from your goals?


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  • Charisma August 9, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Absolutely love and can relate to what you’ve written. It takes a lot of courage to understand that you have set out to do what your gut is telling you even when the biggest naysayer (yourself) is throwing up roadblocks. Thank you for being so raw and honest. It’s gives other artists like myself some wondeful perspective. Good luck and keep designing . Can’t wait to see the collection!

    • jacobajane August 11, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Thank you for your lovely words!

      You’re so right, we are our own biggest roadblock. Sometimes it’s easier to blame someone else for our lack of courage and confidence, but at the very root it’s actually our own selves giving those words permission to affect us.

      As an artist, sometimes it feels like my work is something that I have no choice but to make and share with the world, almost as if it’s a force bigger than me. But we rarely talk about how scary it is to share it! I wish more artists and creatives would open up about how terrifying it is to press Publish or list that first piece for sale on an online store, or share a photo of their work on Instagram. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I’d love to see what you’re working on too!

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