I'm highly skeptical by nature. My favorite question is "why?" I find universal laws in science absolutely fascinating and I love reading about astrophysics and quantum mechanics; I'm less struck by the idea of having faith in well, anything.
If you have faith, that means you have complete confidence or trust in something. You believe in a person or a thing without needing proof to validate your belief. For most of my life, I've felt that this is a dangerous position to put yourself in.
In the past few years, however, I learned that making a living from creative work requires some degree of faith. This was a difficult idea to embrace, and I'm still working on it. But the first step I took was to have faith in myself.
I believed I could make my life into what I wanted. I didn't know exactly how at the time, but I put faith in myself and believed I would figure it out. And so I did.
A Creative Life Requires Faith in Yourself
You need to have faith in yourself, too. Believe that you can set out to do what you want to accomplish. Believe that you have the skills and abilities to make something great -- and if you don't possess those things, believe that you're capable of developing them so you can get to work.
Creative work requires little leaps of faith every day. If you're struggling to continue putting your belief into something -- with no proof that it's going to work, that it's good, or that it's even real -- I want to share a letter I wrote.
I wrote this the night before I quit my day job so I could work for myself full-time. I was scared and unsure. I couldn't answer many of my "why?" questions, like, why do you think this will work? Why do you think you can manage this? Why take the risk when you're so inexperienced and unqualified? Why would you succeed where so many others have failed?
The doubts crept in and along with them, the fear that I was about to screw up big time. The fear that I had gotten this all wrong and as soon as I removed the safety net that was a steady paycheck, it would all go to hell.
I laid in bed, second-guessing myself and unable to sleep -- until, somewhere in my head full of doubts, a different thought popped up.
You have faith in yourself. Stop trying to push that away. It's okay to believe in yourself. It's okay to know, without hard evidence and proof, that you will succeed. Have faith in yourself!
I jumped out of bed, grabbed my computer, and let that little voice take the stage (despite the boos and protests of all the other nasty little voices who were busy stirring up doubt and fear). This is what the voice had to say to me that night, and I want to share it with you in case your own doubts and fears are currently drowning out the voice you really need to hear.
Please take this and make it yours, and read it anytime you need to be reminded that you can do this.
I Believe in You
You are amazing. You are taking charge and making incredible things happen.
Because even if things don't turn out perfectly like you're hoping, you've already succeeded. You took that "to get what you've never had you have to do what you've never done" saying and actually DID SOMETHING. You charged forth and you willed this awesome adventure into being.
You said, I will do this. And you did it.
And you proved so much negativity you held and believed about yourself so, so wrong. Just getting to the point where you're on the edge of something big, on the verge of jumping forward, is an accomplishment that means everything.
Because you proved that you are smart. You are good at what you enjoying doing. You are passionate and you are driven to do more. You are able to build something significant. You are willing to fight.
And more importantly, you're willing to leap.
It's freakin' stupendous that someone who lived with so much fear and so much doubt is now about to not just jump, but take a huge running leap forward with confidence.
And faith. For someone who believes in nothing that isn't proven scientific fact, whose natural tendency is to question, doubt, and disbelieve anything until it actually occurs, the fact that you have faith in yourself and your ability to do awesome, wonderful, FANTASTIC things is in itself already something to be excited about.
It's hard to think about it too long. It's like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. You can't look at it and measure it, or measure it and know where it is. If you do think hard about your faith in yourself you'll start to lose it.
So just give it a thankful nod. Acknowledge that you do believe in yourself without needing logic or reason to back that up. Then get back to making big things happen.
And don't forget to thank everyone who supported you, encouraged you, helped you, and loved you. You have the stellar people who cheered for you the whole way -- even those you never even met face to face!
All of those people are remarkable beyond words. There is no praise good enough for them. Appreciate them and express your gratitude.
And remember that whenever you are in a position to help others the way your loved ones once helped you -- remember that once you've scrambled to the top, you immediately turn back around and start pulling others up with you.
And you'll be in that position before you know it. Right now is the start of good, better, best stuff.
And if you ever do start to doubt it? To doubt what you're doing, to doubt yourself?
Just remember that time when you realized each year of your life was better than the last. Every single year you felt this way.
So just imagine what next year is gonna look like. And the years after that. The future is brilliantly bright, my friend.
Keep doing what you've been doing and you'll be alright. Remember there are no worst case scenarios, because there is ALWAYS a solution. There is always a way forward. You will always survive today's challenge so you can move on to tomorrow's. And each time you overcome those challenges, you grow. You gain strength. You improve and you learn and you're better for all of it.
In the end, if you have your friends, your family, and your creativity (and your kitties), you already have everything.
The rest is just details.
That being said, I believe in you.
I believe you will have your everything a million times over.
I believe you will always take to heart those words you read as a kid, words you've read countless times again and words that have echoed around your head ever since: "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
I am so proud of you because you finally figured out how to heed that advice. You did so much more than dream. You learned how to live and I know you will never forget.
Want more thoughts and ideas like this to keep you on track with your creative work? Join a community of over 500 creatives and learn how you can Start Soaring, too.