How to use fear and trust in your creative endeavors


Feature image by: Steve Wilson

I’ve been rock climbing for around four years now, and like with most things that you practice and love to do, you get better at it as time goes on. But even though you might get stronger and improve your technique there is always something out of your range that you strive for.

I don’t travel nearly as much as I used to, but climbing presents a lot of the same challenges that going somewhere completely foreign does. You’re always pushing the edge of your comfort zone (sometimes pushing it A LOT), and, something I’ve been thinking about today, you’re always balancing elements of fear and trust. Rock climbing can be scary – terrifying even – but I find that it’s in those moments, when I’m face to face with my fear, that I can overcome it. I can make the move, I can clip the next draw. If I’m not pushing against that fear I’m not really learning much about myself.

Trust is also a huge thing, not only trust that your belay partner is going to save your life if you take a fall (although that’s huge!), or trust that all your gear is safe, but trust in yourself, in your abilities. Sometimes – especially when you’re climbing a route for the very first time – you don’t know exactly what’s coming up. You may have to go for a move to progress but aren’t sure what you’re going to do when you get there. It’s times like these where trust in yourself allows you to make the move because you know that once you get there you will be able to figure out the next step.

I often hear from students at MatadorU that it’s scary to submit assignments, or scary to pitch ideas and articles to editors. And it totally can be. That’s a normal feeling and it’s well worth it to just acknowledge that. Everyone goes through this. But this is also where you can start playing with the balance between fear and trust, knowing that as long as you’re pushing against that fear you’re going to learn something, and trusting that no matter what happens you will deal with it and you will know (or learn) what to do when the time comes.

What fears are you pushing against right now? Can you trust yourself? Try to do one thing that scares you, even a little bit, and lean into it.

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