You have two choices when it comes to your fears. You can be afraid of your fears
and run away from them, or to be afraid of your fears and look them at them square and challenge them until they are no longer a fear. In this age old question I refer to as the red pill, or the blue pill conundrum that will separate all successful people from others. Of course the successful people opt for the red pill (to face their fears), instead of living life in a hapless falsehood where they think they are “safe.” Unfortunately it is this false comfort zone that literally pulls the life from people and place them into ho-humdrum and often times depression or more serious health issues.
I am always looking for what I call absolute truths, or basic principles that can’t be disproved, debated or challenged through logical arguments. This sounds really philosophical, and in a way it is. But I won’t bore you with academia, the importance here is that I look for things that when utilized or implement will almost always work. When it comes to my studies in business and observations in my career, and even as I have begun studying successful artists, they all have one thing in common. They face their fears and challenge them with reckless abandon. I use this in my life everyday both in my professional and personal life.
The Resistance of Fear and The Impostor Syndrome
Likely the only thing holding you back is literally the fear of failure. This often manifests itself as fear of not making ends meet, or just looking like a goof in general. You don’t want to look like a failure and in so doing most people take the common route of not even trying. This can prevent us from even taking a step in the direction that we want to try because we don’t even want to fail. Or we may be influenced by others in that we don’t want to even take on the chance that someone else might give you shit about trying. This can be your friends, family or even internet trolls that prevent you from making that first step. You don’t want to have to answer to them about some imperfection in your body, or you are afraid the images won’t turn out exactly like you would like. Sometimes the fear comes after you take your first step and you want to get more serious and take on more work as a pin up model, or pin up photographer. You have had a few successful shoots, but then you aren’t able to book any more sets, or you look back at your work and realize it doesn’t live up to your standards. This is often referred to as the “Impostor Syndrome” and can stop you cold in your tracks. This is the single element that Steven Pressfield shares in his books : The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
and Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work. These books are great for artists or solopreneurs (entrepreneurs opening their own business such as photographers and models) to help fight through these thoughts and develop specific steps to help get through it. But don’t worry I am going to share with you how I go about it below:
The Two Basic Questions You Need To Answer!
Anytime I am faced with a challenge, or something that I want to try and I am not sure of the action that I want to take, I literally take the time to answer two questions. The first is, “What is the worst that can happen?” and the Second is, “What is your goal.”
Let’s focus on the first question: What is the worst that can happen?
This is a challenging technique and can often place more fear into the situation, but once you understand the worst of the situation, then you know the true “worst” of the scenario then you can make a logical decision on your path. For example, if you are considering climbing Mount Everest, the worst case scenario is, “You could literally freeze to death.” If you have children, or other people that depend on you then the thought of freezing to death is likely something that you don’t need to be “afraid of” but you can use that to make a logical decision that climbing Everest is probably not for you. Of course I took the easy analogy with the climbing of Mount Everest, right? Well let’s use my own personal example lately. That is, “I want to make a great Pin Up Themed Podcast.”
What is the worst that can happen by hosting A Pin Up Themed Podcast?
Well there are a few things that can go wrong of course. In some circles, you could be ostercized from your community, you could even be fired, from some jobs if your boss doesn’t like the idea of you hosting a podcast in after hours. The things that I was most worried about was looking like a dumb ass (1) and not being able to get any guests on for interviews (2) not get any downloads or traffic to our site (3) and spending all sorts of time on this not seeing the benefits of having the podcast and not being able to fulfill other commitments (4). These probably look pretty similar to many of your own lists say if you are considering setting up a photography business, or starting to get serious about modeling.
When I look at this list, the most pressing issue was the first one. Yes, I really don’t like to look like a dumb ass. The other issues are either depended upon looking like a dumb ass or something that I can mitigate. So really the most significant resistance came in the fact that I don’t want to look like a dumb ass. So knowing this, I realize that the worst thing that could happen in my situation is that I would look like a dumb ass. Guess what, I can live with that. While I don’t WAANT to look like an idiot, it can happen, it will happen and if it isn’t around a podcast, then I will in some other area.
You can use this similar process in looking at all endeavors, especially if you are considering taking up a hobby like modeling or photography. I will post future articles on specific steps on how to do that, but first we need to establish the right mindset.
What is my Goal?
The second question that you need to look into is what is your goal? What is your goal? If you are trying to climb the tallest mountain in the wold then you have no options but to choose to climb Everest. But if your goal is to climb a mountain and slide down it’s glaciers then you can choose to take up the hobby and climb other mountains that don’t pose the same level of risk. This will help provide the level of focus you need to find success. But setting this level of goal isn’t going to help. There are still things that you can’t control that will prevent you from climbing that mountain. For example, most mountains are national parks (at least here in the States) and you can’t just go out and start climbing. You need to get on a wait list, and by a permit which are limited each year. Of course other things like weather also come into play and may prevent you from your goal. Having this level of goal, what I call and outcome goal, can be self-defeatest and lead back into that thought of impostor syndrome or fear of failure. Your goals need to be Action Based Goals.
My Goals for The Pin Up Podcast
So when I break down the goals for The Pin Up Podcast, of course my Outcome Goal (not the direct focus) is to have a top Podcast in the Art Category on iTunes that gets a hundred-thousand of downloads each month. This has many factors that I don’t have control over to make this happen. Through business strategy (my education and day-life experience) I can help eliminate most of the challenges, but it is perfectly possible for iTunes to close it’s podcast categories tomorrow and I don’t have any impact on that. So my focus is to focus on very specific action goals that I do have control over. Another way to look at this is to focus on Tactical elements.
My focus very specifically out of the gate has been:
- To improving my interviewing skills and the overall production of the podcast. While I am 100% comfortable giving presentations to large groups of people, hosting a podcast is strangely different and I am still slightly nervous about it. This goal will lead to having a great sounding podcast (one of the requirements to have a strong following.
- To get top quality guests. While this was one of my main fear as I laid out the money to invest in the resources needed to put a podcast together. Once I started scheduling interviews with all of the awesome guests we have had, I know that we will continue to have top quality guests. (as long as we stay true to our other goals)
- To provide VALUE to the pin up community. We want to give resources that are useful to pin up girls, models, photographers and other artists in our community. This will include mindset discussions, business discussion and specific tactics on how to turn your hobby into a business. This is likely the MOST important goal, since if we provide value through our site and podcast then even if I look like a dumb ass, we will be contributing to the community that we love. This is really important for so many reasons but it is key, if you don’t provide value then you won’t develop fans. It is that simple.
Notice, that each of these goals are very specific and well within my own control, with maybe the exception of the ability to have guests as this is also dependent upon having others participate. I can though, have solo-podcasts on occasion to discuss things like marketing, mindset, photography, professionalism and more.
Don’t be afraid of fear, look at the worst case scenario and determine if you can live with the possible outcomes. If not then it isn’t fear, it is a rational conclusion. If you can handle the potential worst case scenario then develop some tactical or action goals to make sure that the worst case scenario is most likely not going to happen.
I will end this long mindset article with the most significant learning that I have had this week. One of the most powerful things that I have watched in the last couple weeks was a documentary on Steve Jobs. Of course I am a “Mac” being a creative type but I didn’t realize how inspirational this basic documentary would be. The single most important concept that I took from this video was a concept that Jobs himself shared:
“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you … the minute that you understand that you can poke life … that you can change it, you can mould it … that’s maybe the most important thing.”
Yes, all of those models that we look up to, started out just as you have to start out. Those on-staff pin up photographers all started out the same way you have to. They may not have the same level of fear that you have now, but with the right mindset, and action based goals you too can create right along with them, and maybe even create something greater than anything that is in existence now.