There is a book in the bible, Joshua, and chapter 1 verse 9 has become an ethos for me. It revolves around having courage and the opposite of courage is fear. I hate fear. Fear intimidates and tries its best to impose itself on creative people. Fear does this because it knows that when creative people stand up and do what they’ve been made to do that things will change, courage will grow, and we will start to fulfill our purpose as artists.
No one wants to be controlled by fear. It happens when we believe the lies that fear tries to sell us. No one or no organization has ever achieved its audacious goals by believing fear as it’s trying to kill courage at every turn. So where does fear hide?
- Fear hides in “business as usual” – The status quo is a safe place for fear to hide. How we’ve always done things is a great excuse to not be courageous and take chances. Business as usual is a great tool because most organizations reward employees for successfully doing what has always been done, which is backwards. Fear secretly tells us that if we depart from what we’ve always done in our past, we will not succeed in the future. Really? I would argue that if we don’t actively look to depart from our past, we won’t be around in the future to even know if it’s worked. It’s time we go on the offensive with business as usual. “Why” is like raid for business as usual. If we’re not asking why, we’ll never uncover if what we are doing even matters.
- Fear hides in success – Success often masks problems. Problems are opportunities waiting to be uncovered. Without intentionality, we never will uncover the opportunities that live inside our success, the future game changers waiting to propel us beyond our dreams, or the places where great lives just a little passed good. How fear hides in success is in comfort. When we’re starting anything, there’s risk, danger, and the very real possibility that tomorrow everything will evaporate. But then success builds this sense of false comfort that lulls us to complacency and then attacks us and cripples us. Never Settle. Ever. Refuse to be satisfied. There’s always more we can do and new chances to change everything.
- Fear of hard conversations. – Don’t be afraid of them. There was a time I feared these conversations so much because I was afraid I wouldn’t be liked or that I might be wrong. That, and I disliked conflict. Guess what…all of these are legitimate fears. But in the end, none of them really are greater than truth, honesty, and respect. When handled properly, hard conversations build trust, relationship, and respect. They show that we care enough about what we’re doing to fight for it. People respect passion. Now, be nice and carry yourself with respect for others. Don’t be a jerk. No one likes a jerk, but you can have hard and honest conversations without being a jerk.
- Fear feeds the lie “We can’t do without it.” – Sacred cows exist in every organization. Fight them. Make sure the tools, resources, and vehicles we’re using are still relevant and matter. Are all of these things still creating the results we intended for them or are they still in use because we are afraid of what might happen if we remove them…without knowing? Sacred cows paralyze organizations and stifle creativity.
So this week, exercise courage. Have a conversation that stretches you, challenge a system that may not be working anymore, seek data that tells the truth beyond “just because.” God made you creative for more than great art. He made you creative because he knew people would need you to be brave enough to try. When you try, you just might uncover something so fresh and powerful that it changes everything.
Are you ready to be brave?