I’ve been doing some 3D modelling recently. It’s something I have been doing with varying degrees of success for almost 20 years. You would think that I would have it down by now. You would think that I would just do the job with no issues or stress. You would think that I would have worked out strategies for dozens of potential problems. You would think that I would fly through a project and rarely have to backtrack or repair blunders. You would think that I would have confidence in my own experience and abilities.
What I have is fear.
Not a crippling fear. Not a fear that stops me from attempting new things. It’s a low level, pervasive fear. It’s the fear that I can’t do what I said I could. It’s the fear that everyone is better than me at almost everything, and I have been fooling anyone who thinks otherwise. It’s the fear that I will be found out as a fraud, and that everything I create will be sub-standard. This fear usually doesn’t stop me, but it does slow me down. I can usually even recognize when it is slowing me down, but it is sometimes difficult to overcome it.
I have amassed a portfolio full of evidence that I am capable of modelling objects, animating, sculpting, constructing, working out solutions to problems. Occasionally I will look at some of it and feel like a real cool guy who knows how to do things and is really awesome at stuff. That lasts until I start on something new, and then it’s all fear all the time. I usually spend way too long looking up the solutions devised by other people. Seeking help or advice when I honestly don’t know how to do a thing is probably a smart move, but when it is just fear directing me with feelings of inadequacy, it’s just a huge waste of time.
There is almost always a point in all of these projects that were slowed by fear, where I realize that the obstacles I was afraid of tackling have very simple solutions. Usually solutions that I am already very familiar with. Solutions that I have implemented time and again on other projects. I tend to get a lot done in a very short amount of time when this happens. I usually marvel at how trivial the problems holding me back turned out to be.
I’m going to have to work harder on squelching minor fears. I’m going to have to be better at harnessing that feeling when I overcome the fear and move forward. I think this is probably the most challenging problem I consistently come across in all the work I do. Overcoming fear is my full time job. Anything else I accomplish is consequential.