Good CompanyLife & Business

FEAR(less): How to Turn Fear Into Creative Fuel (4 Big Lessons)

by Grace Bonney

Have you ever been afraid to talk about the things you’re afraid of? Have you ever worried you are the only one struggling with an issue or the only one feeling like an imposter? No matter what your biggest professional fears are, I’ve got some good news: You are not alone. Not now and not ever. Everyone, everywhere and at every stage of business is afraid of something or muddling through a project, hope or dream that didn’t go as planned.

And because I feel that these fears and “failures” are actually the most powerful tools for motivation and learning, we dedicated the entire second issue of our new print magazine, Good Company, to this theme.

One of the hardest parts of getting through those times is feeling alone and finding the courage to talk openly about things that are scary, daunting, and that could be perceived as failures. So in our newest issue, dubbed the Fear(less) Issue, we are walking you through how to turn fear into creative failure, push past sophomore slumps and creative blocks, how to work with friends and handle financial hardships, and how to build a support system that will get you through even the toughest spots. It is 180 pages of inspiration AND practical advice for learning how to turn fear into the most effective tool in your professional toolbox.

Today the new issue is on stands everywhere (click here to order a copy online, find a store near you or grab tickets to our fall tour) so I am celebrating by sharing the 4 biggest lessons I learned from working on this issue and giving you a little peek behind the issue and how it came together.

The Four Biggest Lessons I Learned From This Issue:

  • Talk to your fellow creatives and build support systems. When we connect around things we’re all struggling with, we get stronger. Keeping secrets from each other may give the impression that everything is “fine” on the outside, but real strength comes from acknowledging difficulties and connecting with others to learn from those moments.
  • Don’t be afraid to share what feel like weaknesses publicly. We cannot find our people, our teachers, our mentors or our friends if we don’t talk about what we need and struggle with openly. The people in this issue found some of their best support systems in unlikely places just by openly discussing hurdles they were dealing with.
  • Failure doesn’t mean your idea isn’t valid or worth pursuing — it just means you need to course correct and adjust. All businesses have to do that all the time, it’s part of creative life. So many wonderful projects in this issue almost didn’t come to fruition because of early setbacks. But if we plan for and expect these as a natural part of life and work, we can quickly learn to see them as guide posts, rather than road blocks, along our path, pointing us in a better direction.
  • Write down what you learned from something that didn’t work out. There will always be a life lesson hidden inside something tough. Remember it, grow from it and move forward. When you look back at all the things you’ve survived and how they taught you something valuable or made you stronger, you will start to feel less vulnerable when tough times roll around.

What’s inside The Fear(less) issue?

This issue is 180 pages of group interviews, one-on-ones, cartoons, visual storytelling, stellar photography, and more, including:

  • Identifying as Me: Activist and writer Jacob Tobia talks to comic, actor, and producer Rhea Butcher about how gender and gender identity connect to life on and off stage.
  • Resistance Revival Chorus: Meet the women turning fear into joy through the power of song.
  • Creative Block—One Illustrator’s Biggest Fear by Sally Nixon.
  • Even Africans Fall in Love: A feature on the Kenyan film director Wanuri Kahiu whose groundbreaking film took Cannes by storm but is outlawed in her own country.
  • The Rise & Bloom of Bethany Yellowtail: A story about fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail, who discusses why her mission always involves supporting the voices and work of her community.
  • Tools and Resources for Facing Your Fears: Alicia Kennedy sits down with Annie Selke, Rae Tutera, Aris Mejias, Sara Eve Rivera, Rooney Elmi & Shannon Mustipher for a conversation on the toughest moments.
  • Kayla Whaley talks with YouTube star Annie Segarra, the artist and activist, to discuss the future of accessibility and the importance of fostering community.
  • Unapologetically HER: Grace Bonney sits down for a one-on-one conversation with author, activist, and founder of Equality for HER Blair Imani, who talks about life at the intersection of Black, Queer, and Muslim identity—and how she’s found the strength to persevere through harrowing situations.
  • Fariha Roísín talks with director, producer, and actress Desiree Akhavan on the importance of telling stories that haven’t been told before.
  • How to Collaborate on Creative Projects with Friends Without Making Things Weird by Lora DiFranco and illustrated by Katie Daughtery.
  • A Fear of Starting Over: Novelist TANAÏS returns to give her own reflections on the sophomore slump.
  • Sharing Space for Dream-Chasing: Kelli Hart Kehler investigates how co-working spaces can offer women and non-binary creatives a place to be fearless in pursuit of their goals.

Behind the Scenes with our cover feature, “Professional Troublemaker,” Luvvie Ajayi:

Luvvie being photographed by photographer Deun Ivory in Chicago, Illinois.

Listening to Maleek Berry during the shoot…

The cover team together: makeup artist Andrea Samuels, Luvvie Ajayi, me (Grace), and Deun Ivory.


Laying out the second issue and getting our edits in place…

Taking the first print copies out on the road!

The back cover.

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