I have a meeting mid-week with a local art/craft store to discuss polymer clay teaching opportunities. I’ve been preparing class samples, writing class descriptions, experimenting with some other ideas, and deciding on other details like fees, materials and supplies.
This is an opportunity I’ve been building toward for the last couple of months.
And today I ran smack dab into Mr. Fraidy Pants.
I believe he has been sneaking around in the shadows for the past few days. I know I’ve got this meeting. It has been on my calendar for a few weeks. I initially looked forward to it, was really focused and excited.
Then I hit some sort of wall. I couldn’t focus. I found myself lingering over distractions the past week. I kept telling myself “get off your butt and get to work.” And then I’d sit some more in front of the computer.
It wasn’t until today I realized what was happening.
I’m feeling the fear as this meeting gets closer. The fear is starting to crack my confidence. THAT voice is shouting at me “Who do you think you are, thinking you can teach a class? You can’t teach a class. You don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t be a fool. You have no skill for this.”
Kicking Mr. Fraidy in the Pants
On one hand, this can become a problem if I start listening to this voice. On the other hand, I can listen to the voice and ask it why it feels this way.
That is when I realized I am nervous about this meeting.
It reminds me of the first time I approached a consignment gallery to sell my artwork. My palms get sweaty, the armpits get damp, I talk way too much, and I think my laugh sounds stupid.
Fraidy Pants also tells me that he fears being seen as a fake or a fraud, that the artwork will look dorky, that the samples are inadequate and that I’m really not ready to take this leap.
Well thank you for your honesty.
I decided to take a walk. A little movement can be good; gets the blood flowing, takes your mind off things.
And then I used the turn-around technique.
For every negative thought, I turned it around to make it a positive:
You can’t teach a class became I CAN teach a class.
You don’t know what you’re doing became I DO know what I’m doing.
You have no skill for this became I DO have skill for this.
You’re a fake became I have been working with polymer clay since 1998 and continue to develop and perfect my skills. I’ve had my artwork published, entered into exhibitions, and have won awards.
Your art is dorky became I express my individual style through my art.
The turn-around seems to be working. Mr. Fraidy Pants is slowly walking away.
I returned to the studio and started working on some more potential class ideas. At last check they weren’t coming along as well as I’d hoped and I may have to put them aside for now. That is okay. I’m learning more about my strengths and areas where I need improvement. It is all about practice and learning from failure.
Mr Fraidy Pants has been a little quieter, though I see him sitting in the corner waiting for a opening.
I give him a little wave. I tell him I’m doing much better, thank you very much.