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Turn your Fear of the Unknown into a Window of Opportunity

Why do most of us find it difficult to try new things?

Is it that we think it will be difficult? Is it that we are resistant to getting out of our comfort zone? Is it that we worry about what other people will think? Or perhaps we fear the unknown?

For some people, it's all of the above.

What if we challenge ourselves to try new things? What benefits will that bring? Perhaps we could turn it around and think of all the positives a new experience may bring.

Being quite shy and introverted, when I was younger, I was always the one at conferences and workshops standing off to the side. Introducing myself to strangers was way out of my comfort zone!

What if had mingled at the conference, I may have actually known someone, I may have made new business connections, I could have enjoyed chatting with like minded people… after all we have chosen this event, we must have something in common!

As I am getting older, I am encouraging myself to try new things and to be brave. As an artist, I enjoy painting with watercolour. However, I rarely paint portraits. Why? Because I find them very challenging, and I worry that people will judge my work or criticise my technique. So normally, I stick with other subjects. It’s safer, more comfortable.

Recently, in an effort to try new things (during Covid 19 lockdown), I signed up to an online course to create 30 Faces in 30 Days. This course was offered by Sktchy, an online art community specialising in portrait drawing and painting. I felt this challenge would give me the push I needed to try something new, painting a human face, every day for 30 days, using different mediums and techniques.

Having taken the plunge to purchase the course, I excitedly awaited the start date. The first few days I was very dedicated, sitting down each night to draw, sketch and paint a new face, guided by a range of very talented artists. I had the option of uploading my finished face into the online community and the feedback I received was welcoming and supportive, giving me to drive to continue on.

Although I did not complete the challenge within the 30 days, I did complete 30 faces, and I was delighted with the art I created including pencil, watercolour, marker, ink and digital mediums. My favourite was an ink sketch where the artist was using hand-made acorn ink. I have since signed up for another course by this artist to make my own ink from natural materials.

The good news is that now I am now more confident to draw portraits, regularly choosing a reference photo to enhance my skills.

By focusing on the positives, and with the right support and encouragement, we can feel comfortable to move out of our comfort zone and try new things. The more we challenge ourselves to new experiences, the less fearful we become of the unknown.

Go on, be brave… turn your fear of the unknown into a window of opportunity.

Try something new today!


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