I have FOGS (Fear of Getting Started). For me, it starts with information overwhelm and leads to a whirlwind of paralyzing thoughts and avoidance actions. I worry about what item to complete first. Or I become comfortable with my small environment where potential failure will be hidden from the world.

Maybe you think I am exaggerating or maybe you can totally identify with this. Either way, it is important to understand that we all have had FOGS at some point in our creative business. To fight the FOGS demon we need to differentiate between legitimate cautions and FOGS behaviors. Recognizing that FOGS comes in many forms from the voice screaming, “just get started” to the little voices that whispers “you can’t” or “don’t bother”.

We must confront FOGS head on! For some, this may mean seeking help outside oneself, while for others it may be as simple as scaling whatever self-imposed barrier is standing in our way. There is no shame in admitting you have FOGS! Anyone who says they never have it or struggled with it… well, they are not telling themselves the truth.

Through my research as an art business coach, I have come up with a list of 10 ways that FOGS can present itself.

  1. Perfectionism- Any time you find yourself thinking that you are not finished enough or good enough to take forward action. I am not talking about positive self evaluation. I am referring to the self-imposed barrier that stops any forward action or creates a cycle of constant self-doubt.
  2. Constant Research – The comfortable blanket of research that leads to endless computer searches which builds a lack of confidence to move forward.
  3. Comparing My Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle – When we evaluate our success based on someone else who has gone before us, and choose not to act, we have FOGS
  4. Self Doubt – If you hear yourself say, “I’m NOT ____________ (insert any word). Focusing on what you don’t have, instead of focusing on acquiring what you need.
  5. Envy – Don’t let the green eyed monster distract you from your own goals. Your art journey is going to be different than others.
  6. Safety – We find comfort in the thought of how much nicer it will be to fail inside our small box rather than to take the chance at learning from our mistakes in a larger forum.
  7. Social Component – Many art goals include networking or interacting with other people. Yes, many of us artists are introverts and we get our energy from our quiet time. Learning how to become a SOCIAL introvert is possible. Yes, social interactions will drain our creative energy so find creative ways to interact in a way that doesn’t drain you (even if that means hiring a business manager).
  8. Help – If you are unwilling to ask for help, pay for information, or engage in learning, you have FOGS
  9. Copycat – FOGS also presents itself in a belief that you can’t do something if you know someone else has already done it. Let’s reset the mindset. First, No idea is new. We are all just recycling ideas. Second, business is the process of finding ideas and process, placing them together in a way to meet your business goals. (The concepts of copyright, trademark, plagiarism are not what I am talking about.)   An example is, “I can’t paint ‘flowers” because Jack paints flowers.”.
  10. Feedback – Well meaning individuals can place their anxieties upon you. Remember that even the best intentioned people still have their own agendas. If you are having a hard time getting started because of the advice of others, you will need to evaluate their feedback as a gift. Ask yourself this question. “Is the gift helpful or feeding into your FOGS?”

As a Momentum Artist, you are learning how to implement best business practice into our creative company. FOGS is normal. Learning how to make FOGS our ally is the topic of the next Momentum Artist interview. I will be talking to Shawna St. James, The Empowered Painting to identify the 8 pillars of creativity and use them to jumpstart your next creative project.