What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?

"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"  The question taunted me each time I received an email from my friend, Lisa, who is a licensed therapist.  Lisa counsels clients who have phobias so this question is relevant to her profession and it was part of her signature block on her emails.  She helps her clients overcome their fears through therapies that allow them to ultimately live normal lives without the obstacles created by their phobias.  

Each time I read that question it compelled me to wonder what risks I should take to overcome the doubts and fears that were preventing me from living one of my wildest dreams since childhood:  pursuing a career as a fine artist.  At the time, I had just gotten back into painting after my youngest son started kindergarten.  Each time I finished a piece, I received good feedback from my instructor and my fellow students.  I commandeered a room in my basement which became my studio and I was obsessed with painting during every stolen moment from my busy life.  Friends and family encouraged me to start exhibiting my work, and despite the echoes of doubt that lingered in my head, I began applying for art shows and was joyfully astounded when I sold my first painting.      

 ©2013 Jennifer Friedman

 ©2013 Jennifer Friedman

Shown above is one of the first pieces I painted during that time and it remains one of my favorites.  I regret having sold it, not just because I like it, but also because for me it represents a period in my life during which I took a leap of faith to pursue a frustrated passion.   

To Lisa I give a hearty "thanks" for nudging me to take a risk every time she emailed me.  To you I pay forward the favor and ask you, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"