Three Reasons To Face Your Fear Of Creativity

4 min read

I’ll be the first to admit that when I started offering a songwriting experience to organizations, I completely underestimated the fear that executives have of appearing foolish in front of their peers. Creativity is something we all possess but if we’ve let it languish as so many of us do, then reconnecting with our creative side can feel undoubtedly scary. This is especially true for individuals and teams who are used to being in control and at the top of their respective games. The most effective creativity  – and innovation in a larger sense – is about accepting temporary chaos and a willingness to become a beginner which invariably takes us out of our comfort zones. That being said, the rewards for bravery in the face of these fears are significant. I’ve listed a few of these below.

1. It’s Exhilarating 

I hear “I’m not creative” so often from my songwriting experience participants that I’ve come to expect it. However, what I’ve also come to expect is that when you give smart people the tools to unlock their creativity, they simply get to work and do it. Better still, once you show someone how to access their creativity, the increase in energy and joy is contagious. I’m often faced with dozens – and sometimes hundreds – of somber faces when I explain to them they’ll be writing a song but an hour later those same participants are smiling, laughing and, yes, even singing. Sixty minutes and a willingness to face your fears can – and does – result in exactly this kind of exhilaration.

2. It’s Motivating

Carrying the weight of fear is a burden we place – often unknowingly – on our creative efforts. Imagine, then, that once this burden is lifted with just a little effort, how much better we feel and how much more willing we are to get to work on something we were previously dreading. The fear of creativity is not just for creative beginners, I’ve spent the last four decades plumbing the depths of my own creativity and I still face that little tremor of fear before I sit down to write my next song or even this article. The difference is that I’ve had years of confirmation that facing my fear results in something I can be proud of and this is what motivates me to get up the next day and do it again.

3. It’s Memorable

Going though our daily tasks to move the productivity needle is an essential part of what it means to be in business. Yet it’s also safe to say that this kind of work is not always the most memorable. But facing your fear of creativity and going on to create in whatever form that may take is behavior that leaves a mark. Not only will you be putting a small part of yourself into the world and adding to your creative legacy but you’ll have also spent your time creating a memory of which you can be truly proud. Part of deriving meaning out of our lives is about stepping away from the status quo and doing something worth remembering.


I want to be clear. The fear we feel about leaving our comfort zones and doing something creative is real. I don’t want to discount that a big reason most of us describe ourselves as “not creative” is because creativity simply feels too daunting. I’m not recommending that any of us start with grand, heroic creative gestures. On the contrary, even the smallest creative effort will go a long way towards helping us face and overcome our fears. I’ll close this piece with a quote from a senior healthcare executive who walked up to me after he’d successfully written and sung a song with his leadership team. His exact words were, “I thought this was going to be one of the worst days of my life but it turned out to be one of the best.”


Find out more about Cliff’s innovation & creativity workshops for business teams and organizations.

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