Using Fear to Kick Complacency to the Curb

I’ve learned a great deal in 2016, but the greatest lesson of all, the one I will cherish, teach, and allow to be the mascot for 2017 is this: Complacency is unacceptable.

We all know what this means in our work, creative, and personal lives. To be complacent is to be smug or show uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements. To be complacent is to have settled; to catch the curveballs life has thrown at you and hold onto them rather than throw them back.

I’ve been at that place before. Afraid, distracted, or “too busy” to move forward the way I want to because where I am is already so comfortable. A comfortable job, a great commute to work, a good space to live. At one point, I had completely given up on myself before I even started. I’m a recent graduate working at one of the top digital technology companies worldwide. Before getting this job, I was confident in my skill-set, anxious to write, produce content, and take my career to new heights, whether that meant traveling, branding myself or simply just scaling within a company. But after getting what most had called a dream job, I felt out of my league.  Working with senior writers, designers, and strategists who’ve been in the business for years. Working with people who have started and failed at start up companies before I was even born. Working with dangerously talented and senior-level women all of a sudden felt so heavy, so daunting, so much so that I psyched myself out. I didn’t believe in myself anymore. And often times even now, I feel this lack of living up to standards that I’ve placed on myself as too much. I had allowed these feelings to make me stationery.

All of the ideas that I had suddenly seemed childish and I heard my voice getting smaller and smaller in meetings.

I found myself giving up before starting projects and simply sticking to what I knew, sticking to what my job title was.

Because as long as I do what I’m getting paid to do I’m good, right? Wrong – all I was doing was wasting my own time.

Fear and complacency are poison to the creative mind. These concepts not only hold you hostage to your own limitations, but also create a stagnant mindset where instead of second guessing yourself, what you’re doing or what you should be doing, you become seemingly content in your doubts. I think we’ve wasted enough time here.yellow2016-9 We have all been given the same unique opportunity to search the land of 2017 and make it great. We are to take the mistakes, time loss, and lessons of the past year and become pioneers to new chances for the days, months, and years to come. We have to believe in ourselves again. I am not the only person who has suffered with allowing fears to cripple me away from growing and risking. If you want more, regardless of where your peers are, how old (or young) you are, or what your battles are, we should all be striving for more. Pioneering for more.

This year is ripe with prospects. As challenging as it could be to take a blank page and draw or write, it’s also the perfect time to see this challenge as a blessing, a new chance, a break to make that page literally anything you want it to be.

We have to allow fear to motivate us away from complacency and towards bigger things.

We are the leaders of our lives and careers despite what our titles are. How long will we allow everything else to dictate our next steps before we take full control?

They say behind every great man is a great woman. I say, behind every great woman are the trials and lessons she’s learned to pass on to other great women. Friends, this is the beginning of our time. We either set our path or continue walking on someone else’s, the choice is always ours.

Kiana St. Louis