Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Embrace the Fear

While I was on the treadmill this morning, I listened to the December 20th episode of the podcast "Quilting for the Rest of Us" by Sandy Hasenauer.  In it, she talked for a few minutes about "embracing the fear" which really resonated with me, as it applies to my pile of UFOs with which I'm going to be reacquainting myself over the next year.

It makes a lot of sense to me that this pile has grown so high, not because of negative feelings about the project, but about my own feelings of fear that my skills don't measure up, that I will somehow mess it up, and the finished object might disappoint me.  As long as these objects remain in pristine, perfect, unfinished condition - I don't have to experience the discomfort and anxiety of failing. 

Furthermore, it's interesting to consider that projects become UFOs for me when they 'get too hard': maybe the technique (for example, blanket stitching around appliqué) didn't look as perfect as the picture in the book and I judge my skills as not quite measuring up, or I don't get around to adding borders because I'm not confident about my creativity, or I get behind on a BOM, so I'm obviously not as productive as everyone else (whoever they are).

Fear keeps us static, never developing, changing, learning.  Embracing fear is a crucial task of growth.  

So, as I move through the year of "Nothing but UFOs" I intend to be mindful of the process, and ask myself "why is this a UFO?" and work through the negative feelings.  This will not simply become an act of striking things off of to-do lists.


  1. Thanks so much for offering your own response to the podcast like this. As I said, I always figure my issues are shared with others, but it's great to hear exactly how that works out for others. I appreciated reading your words here and will love to follow along as you go through this process this year!
    Sandy H, Quilting...for the Rest of Us

  2. Good reminder to me. I also need to discern what it is that has made me set a project aside and do something else.
    I know that sometimes it is the NEED to get something else done for a deadline (e.g. Secret Sister), but more often I don't know what to do NEXT. I mean I know what's NEXT, but I can't decide on which fabric to use, or what KIND of border should be next, or whether this is going to turn into a bedsized quilt or stop at a crib quilt.

    And sometimes I'm TIRED of this project!

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder to at lerast NAME what's going on. Then maybe I'll see a pattern.

  3. great post. I have felt some of the same things.
    one of my biggest ways i get sidetracked finishing a project is seeing new ones on the internet.

  4. Took a 12 Step Course on Dysfunctionalism(SP?). The reason I procrastinate? 'cause I'm a perfectionist! I see things in my brain and it never turns out that way so I give up.... or I wait for that "perfect" moment. Crazy, eh? And if you were to accuse me of being a perfectionist, I would laugh in your face... but apparently I am! LOL

    Anyhow, adopted Brenda's motto of "Finished is Better Than Perfect" and its helped a LOT with UFOs!

    Love reading your posts!


  5. I was intimidated by sandwiching, quilting and binding for years and just kept piecing. Ironically this fall I learned to really enjoy walking foot quilting and doing binding after finishing 5-6 quilts. Fear and perfection issues go hand in hand for me... Now I'm going to be learning FMQ this year and working on overcoming my inner perfectionist! Great post.

  6. Excellent post! I see myself in everything you described. I am working on the "perfectionist" side of me. In the past, if I couldn't do something "perfectly" than I wouldn't even bother trying at all. Nowadays, I try to remember to chant "done is better than perfect". It helps me through my perfectionistic (is that a word?) tendencies.