I’d say the single biggest force in stopping me turning freelance sooner wasn’t the fear of not being able to pay the bills or the worry I wasn’t good enough. It was embarrassment, embarrassment at admitting to myself or to anyone else that I wanted to write full time and deviate from a career path I had been working at for nearly ten years. I had visions of people simply laughing at my decision or worse at the work I was producing. My fear of the opinions and criticisms of the people I knew or even the wider world meant that at first I kept my burgeoning freelance career as a closely guarded secret, telling only my partner for months and months.
I realised that my embarrassment reflex had always been pretty high since childhood extending to being incapable of watching people being embarrassed on TV (I still can’t watch X factor!) But letting embarrassment or perhaps more rightly fear guide my life decision seems like a pretty poor way to get along so I made a conscious decision to factor it out of my choices. This was tough, remains tough and I still find myself supressing this fearful part of my psyche but eventually my need to be happier and have a more fulfilling (if sometimes less well paid) career won out.
So I left a well-paid but stressful career and embarked on the scary but much more fulfilling path of freelance writing. I still get worried, I still even get a little embarrassed of telling people what I do for a living (like it’s a pretend job!) but I am doing it, so I guess I partially conquered the fear for the moment. It got me thinking about how many other people have remained or do remain in a situation that makes them unhappy because there embarrassed of what people may think of them if they make a change.
I guess the question to ask yourself then is ‘Why am I not doing what I want?’ and if the answer is rooted in fear then you should reassess. Trust me, stop being embarrassed and you will finally start getting the important stuff done.