To tell you the truth, I’m always afraid. I fear that I’m just wasting my time and that I cannot reach my potential. I fear that I’m not doing enough or that I’m being left behind. I’m afraid of being the last in the pack.

I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of not succeeding.

Ever since I started exploring my passion, I have always wanted to share my journey and my work, but I always think about other people judging me. What if people tell me that my output is horrible; that I’m a nobody and am not worthy of sharing anything? What if my work comes off as amateurish? These are all thoughts that run through my head all the time. But I know I am not the only one who experiences this.

You probably have similar thoughts, but you know what? You are also not alone.

Everyone is afraid. Even successful people are afraid of not succeeding.

It was around two years ago when I first shared my lettering on Instagram.

Did it matter that it did not look well done (and no it’s not a steak)?

It was the best I could do at the time. If you saw my work then, you might feel like the quality was poor. I will not refute that because it’s true. I was not good at it when I started. But will it matter in the long run? The answer is no. Because I will only get better with time and effort. When you come back after a month or two, you will only see my work becoming better and better.

If I never embraced my fear, I will not hold myself accountable to get better at what I do. I will not be where I am now. There are still a lot of things to learn and improve on. To move ahead, I need to push myself outside my comfort zone continually, and that includes slowly facing my fears.

Being afraid is okay. Often, you do not start something because you are afraid of what other people might say. Well, other people always have something to say. Even your family or friends may hold you back from what you want to achieve. Even if your work is not up to par, it’s okay.

The important thing is that you are committed to improving. Take time to slowly channel your fears into your dreams.

Do not be too concerned about making your work perfect. Perfection is not only unattainable, but it also leads to paralysis. When you think that the work is not yet ready, it will take you longer to share it. And even after making it as perfect as you can, it will still not be perfect in other people’s eyes. So what is stopping you from sharing your work?

Your work does not have to be 100% perfect.

As Jake Parker said, Finished not Perfect. Because you see, even if you are perfectly satisfied with your work today; tomorrow, you will see it differently. And the week after that, you will look at your work with more critiques. In reality, your work will never be perfect.

Face your fear of not being perfect. Focus on finishing things with 80–90% quality, and you still learn the same things as you would when you try to make it perfect, but a lot faster. After only a month, you will see that you have already improved so much.

Stay consistent. There’s a saying that goes, “Practice makes perfect.” What this means for me, and for a lot of artists out there, is the importance of consistent practice and preparation. When you practice diligently, you will become better at what you do. It does not matter if you are afraid. When you prepare yourself to do the hard work, and to persevere each day, you will get better.

Small wins for big dreams. When you face your smaller fears, you become more ready for bigger challenges. Before you realize it, you are already miles away from where you started, and miles closer to your goal.

And lastly, fail fast and fail forward. Do not be afraid to fail. Failure is almost guaranteed as you are starting out. There are plenty of stuff to learn and to try. If you wait too long to start and you fail at achieving what you envisioned, you lose valuable time to make things better. When you accept your fear and still do it anyway, you become one step closer to reaching your dreams.

What’s stopping you from channeling your fears into dreams?

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Thank you for reading my blog. This is originally posted on Designate Studio. This is the first of the many other pieces that I will share with you weekly. Subscribe to my newsletter, and receive weekly motivations, inspirations, and tips to better your lettering and your craft. I am looking forward to having you here to learn together, follow my journey and to #designwithnate.

You may engage with me on Instagram and Twitter: @nathanielong, or on Facebook: @Designate Studio


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