Never Let Fear Hold You Back

Never Let Fear Hold You Back

Intro by Skip Cohen

This past May, Sheila and I were in New Mexico and visited Georgia O’Keeffe’s home. Standing in her house, there’s this incredible feeling you get – a combination of inspiration, energy, and just everyday awe. And, to make sure I was using the word “awe” correctly, I looked it up… “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”

Wandering through the archives of, I ran across this post by Bob Coates and wanted to share it here on the Marathon blog. Not everyone likes all of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, but you have to respect her creativity and the reputation she built around her art.

As the “Mother of American modernism,” you’re standing in her office looking out on the valley, and you can feel the energy still there. You get to know her just a little better, and her quote about never letting fear hold her back is so relevant.

We all have fears, and too often, we stay within our comfort zone. Yet, growth only occurs outside that zone. You’ve got to take risks with your creativity, your goals, and your journey. Think about the photographers you respect the most – there’s a common denominator with each one – they’re all risk-takers and continually pushing the boundaries of creativity!

By Bob Coates

I’m a fan of some of O’Keeffe’s iconic images of flowers, southwestern landscapes and of course flower studies. I don’t like everything she created which I found out when tracking down her images in various museums and books. But that’s OK.

Heck, I don’t necessarily like everything I create!

The fact that there are sections of her work that don’t do anything for me shows that she was not afraid to experiment and try new techniques and explore new ideas. My guess is she would not have created the iconic pieces if it were not for her pushing through her boundaries of comfort.

Fear can keep us from being successful.

How? In Sales, being afraid to ask for the order. In art, being afraid of what others MIGHT say. In life, worried about what MIGHT happen.

Our minds are trained and conditioned to play out worst-case scenarios. It’s a defense mechanism that served humans well when we lived in cave-man times when fight or flight was essential to the survival of the species. We have moved beyond the need for that type of thinking as a species.

Push forward. Try something new. You never know what you might accomplish if you push through negative thinking.

This advice doesn’t mean you should ignore the ‘little voice’ that warns you of potential problems. That can save you lots of grief. Take the voice with a grain of salt and don’t let it paralyze you.

Here’s one more quote to round out this post from, I believe, Michael Jordan.

“Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”

Next Post:
Previous Post:
This article was written by
Bob Coates

Bob Coates is a practicing photographer, artist, Panasonic Lumix Luminary and educator. Bob coaches photographers on business, marketing, photography and Photoshop. His diversity as an artist is legendary with experiences in virtually all major specialties. He regularly teaches/presents at many of the major conventions, but also to small groups around the country. Click on his headshot to visit his Successful-Photographer blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *