Hanna Luna

Hanna Luna

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March 31, 2024 | Hanna Luna

Why Artists Should Embrace Uncertainty

Photo of Hanna Luna making art in her art studio

 

This letter is for:

 

  • The artist who wants to sell their art.
  • The creative who wants to start a new project.
  • The writer who wants to write their first novel.

But who keeps putting it off for later.

 

It’s for the artist who is terrified of the “what-if’s” that’ll come up if they fail (or make a mistake).

 

“What if I’ll never “make it” as an artist?”

 

“What if my art isn’t good enough?”

 

“What if I don’t have what it takes?”

 

These are the questions that come up anytime we think of starting something new.

 

They’re the ones we try to avoid by procrastinating and playing it safe. 

 

Why?

 

Because we’re terrified of uncertainty.

 

The truth is, you are never going to be ready (or 100% certain). 

 

Starting something new will always feel a little uncomfortable, but you must start anyway.

 

That’s where the real growth happens — when you’re faced with uncertainty and the obstacles that come with it.

 

It took me years to realize this because I knew that once I did, I would need to change.

 

I’d have to stop avoiding discomfort and start leaning into it.

 

It meant that if I truly wanted to accomplish my dream of being a full-time artist, I’d need to embrace uncertainty (not run from it). 

 

This realization is what pushed me to create my IG content planner (but I didn’t stop there).

 

I Embraced Uncertainty (and it backfired)

A few weeks ago, I got an email from one of my favorite YouTubers.

 

Her name is Kelsey Rodriguez — a popular YouTuber within the art community with over 200K subscribers.

 

She asked me if I’d like to take part in a coaching call (one that she’d later post to her YouTube channel).

 

This was both terrifying and exciting. It was a chance for me to speak to an artist I’ve looked up to for years, but not only that.

 

It was also an opportunity to get more eyes on my art, my content, and my online shop.

 

I wanted to say yes, but another part of me didn’t. 

 

I wasn’t ready.

 

The more I thought about saying yes, the louder my thoughts became. Thoughts like:

 

  • What if I’m awkward and embarrass myself in front of thousands of people?
  • What if this goes horribly wrong and there’s nothing I can do about it?
  • What if I say something that destroys my brand and reputation?

These questions raced through my mind for days, but in the end, I chose courage. I embraced uncertainty.

 

“Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s not the feeling of bravery. It’s turning to the part of us that is screaming, “What if this is a horrible failure?” and saying, “I have no idea, but let’s find out”. 

– David Duchemin

I replied to her email with a wholehearted “yes” and now there was no looking back.

 

I was committed, and I was going to follow through.

 

Soon after sending that email, my anxious thoughts vanished.

 

And it stayed that way until we got closer to the day of the call.

 

That’s when the thoughts came rushing back, and with them, an overwhelming anxiety.

 

I knew I had to prepare for the call, but the knot in my stomach made that impossible.

 

There was only one thing left to do. 

 

Face the fear directly, and challenge the belief that was fueling it — just enough to allow me to prep for the interview. I wrote all about how I do this in my previous letter.

 

After I spent 15 minutes challenging the belief behind my anxiety, it greatly decreased.

 

It went from 85% in strength to a solid 40%, and in doing so, I was able to take action and prepare for the call.

 

I wrote a to-do list of everything I needed to do before-hand and wrote down some questions to ask during our chat.

 

The night before the call, I was so excited I barely slept.

 

Then came the morning of and I was so nervous, especially in the minutes leading up to the call.

 

But guess what? I showed up and did it anyway — the very thing I was so afraid to do.

 

I embraced uncertainty and I was so proud of myself for having done so.

 

I won’t lie to you though. It wasn’t all gumdrops and roses afterwards. If anything, it was the opposite.

 

Why Artists are Afraid of Uncertainty

The call went well, but was I perfect? No and that’s what I was afraid of.

 

During the call I stumbled over a few words, lost my train of thought, and my eyes wandered a bit.

 

I pushed myself far from my comfort zone with this experience and naturally, it triggered some painful wounds — wounds rooted in perfectionism.

 

That’s why after the interview my anxiety came back. I tried ignoring it in the hopes that it’d go away but it didn’t.

 

Later that afternoon, I couldn’t ignore it any longer and the tears came bursting out and before I knew it, I was full on grieving.

 

Grieving the part of me that was terrified of doing things imperfectly and of the uncertainty that came with it.

 

We all have this part within us.

 

The part that believes we must do everything perfectly (and avoid the uncertainty that comes with doing them imperfectly).

 

The good news is that we can heal this part of within us by sitting with it, feeling what it’s feeling and hearing what it has to say.

 

I’m telling you this is because I want you to know that facing uncertainty won’t always be pretty.

 

Sometimes you will fail or you’ll make mistakes (as I did) and it’ll trigger some painful feelings.

 

This is totally normal and in fact, a necessary part of the healing process. A process we must all go through to repair our relationship with uncertainty (and with ourselves).

 

After a while, the tears stopped flowing and I felt a warmth come over me. I realized I was okay.

 

I also knew that this brief discomfort paled in comparison to the regret of having missed opportunities like this one.

How to Embrace Uncertainty

“Why not fear never making the art we wanted to make more than we fear the reasons we have for not putting ourselves out there and for taking a chance?”  – David Duchemin

Our goal shouldn’t be to get rid of our fear, but to transform it — to be more afraid of missing out than of messing up.

 

In his book, “Start Ugly”, David Duchemin says that fear avoids the specifics and deals in vague generalities. So let’s get specific.

 

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

 

  • What am I afraid will happen if I take that risk?
  • What am I afraid I’ll feel if things don’t go as planned?
  • What could I gain from experiencing the worst case-scenario?
  • What steps can I take to prove that I could handle it (if it happened)?

It’s by shining a light on your fears that you’ll be able to transform them (and lessen their power over you). 

 

It’s also what will allow you to create unique ways for you to overcome those fears.

 

So I promise it’ll be worth the time and effort you spend answering these questions. 

 

After all, your dreams depend on it.

 

Why Artists Just Need to Start

It’s the small, consistent steps you take towards your goals that’ll lead to big results.

 

That’s why it’s better to take lots of imperfect action over a little bit of perfect action.

 

Don’t wait to have a perfect plan before you:

 

  • Launch your online shop
  • Start that YouTube channel
  • Accept your first art commission
  • Network with other artists

Don’t get stuck in the researching phase.

 

Watch a few YouTube videos. Read a couple of blog posts. Take a course (or two, at most). Then get started.

 

I made my first digital product after watching a couple of YouTube videos.

 

It took me less than an hour to make and it’s generated over $500 in revenue.

 

I’m not special. If I can do it, you can too. You just need to embrace uncertainty and take imperfect action.

 

I promise you’ll learn so much more from doing the thing than you will from just reading about it.

 

“The more you learn and experience, the more it displaces the unknown and the fear that often follows in its wake.” – David Duchemin

The more you expose yourself to uncertainty, the more familiar it’ll become.

 

The more familiar it becomes, the easier it’ll be to take imperfect action.

 

Dealing with uncertainty is a skill like any other. It takes practice and consistency to get good at.

 

But the more you embrace it, the more evidence you’ll create that proves you can face it (and the obstacles that come with it).

 

That’s it for this week my love.

 

Talk soon,

Hanna

 

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Hey, I'm Hanna

I’m an artist who’s obsessed with helping artists thrive by sharing tips on mindset, creativity, and social media.

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