This is the phrase that Charlie McDonnell used as the title of a video back in 2012:
With more than a million subscribers on YouTube, he was one of the the lucky few who found success online by creating videos about his interests.
Yet, at the top, Charlie was honest. “I’m scared,” he explained in the video. He lost his confidence, he couldn’t create, and when he did, he didn’t like it. He was afraid not just that people wouldn’t like his videos, but that people wouldn’t like him. Even with a million+ subscribers, this fear left him frozen.
There were loads of video responses from other creators on YouTube, in which the common theme was clear:
“We are all scared.”
Many of these other creators were similar to Charlie — they were viewed as successful; had large audiences; did work that mattered deeply to them. Yet, fear about themselves and their work was a regular occurrence.
I think we don’t talk about this enough. How, at mid-career, fear can creep in, grab hold, and trap us.
So we suffer silently. Because at mid-career, you feel like you have something to lose. That is a distinct difference between mid-career and the beginner. When you are just starting out with your creative work, it’s easy to say, “I’m putting it all on the line, what do I have to lose?!”
We talk a lot about the fear of starting. And I’m glad. It’s a critical topic to encourage more people to pursue their creative vision. To become doers, not just dabblers, in their craft.