Here’s a fun game: Bring together a group of creative professionals. Get them talking. Add just enough wine to get them really talking. Then, ask how many of them secretly, at times, feel like a complete fraud. If it’s under 100% of the people in the room, you’ve either got a liar in your midst, or a real rarity. Because the thing about creative work is that it is deeply, deeply vulnerable — and sometimes, just about everyone wonders: “Am I even good at this?”
Self-doubt is one of the most common killers of creative dreams. It’s rarely outside scrutiny that shuts down a great idea, but rather, the internal, nagging voice. Some of the greatest artists in the world have struggled with self-doubt, and plenty have written about it. So the next time you’re about to cave to that little part of you that thinks you can’t do something, remember that a.) you’re not alone in feeling that way, and b.) if this many other creatives have overcome it, you can, too.
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh
“Our doubts are traitors.
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
–William Shakespeare in Measure for Measure
“…The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it. The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” — J. M. Barrie in Peter Pan
“When you realize your own insecurity, and you embrace it, it’s such an incredible self-realization, and it’s such an incredible journey.” — Sue Bryce
“I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.” — Tennessee Williams
“Shame: We all have it. It’s that gremlin that says ‘I’m not enough.’ Or, if you’re feeling pretty confident,…’ooh, who do you think you are?’ Shame always has a seat.” — Brene Brown