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Insecurity – Your Best Friend

by | Nov 6, 2015

Michelle Meeker on Insecurities

Insecurity incessantly pushes people around. We all wish we could make our insecurities go away at will but what if there was a way to adjust your perspective on your insecurities?

Veteran animator and mentor, Michelle Meeker, offers her industry knowledge on how to grow through your insecurities and how embracing these insecurities ultimately will make you a stronger animator. So be patient, try to find a way to handle insecurity with grace and you’ll see your animations come to life!

– The Animation Mentor Crew

    “At any time I still expect that the no-talent police will come and arrest me.” -Mike Myers

    What I most loved (and there are so many things I loved) about the film Inside Out is how it showed the purpose of sadness in our emotional lives. It causes you to slow down and be quiet with yourself. The film also says it’s okay to have this feeling…in fact, you can’t have joy without it.

    This got me thinking about insecurity. What if allowing it to exist in your life is similar to sadness in Inside Out. What I’m saying is…instead of trying to act like insecurity doesn’t exist or allowing it to stop you in your creative path, you use it’s power to help you along. Using it to help you get to it’s alter emotion confidence.

    Let’s get something out of the way. Everyone deals with insecurity at various times in their creative journey. This includes the beginner all the way to the seasoned professional. In fact many seasoned artists never stop feeling it…they create in spite of it. There are many different reasons why we feel insecure. I’m not going to attempt to solve your insecurity in this short post. I’m still working out my own stuff so I’ll get back to you when I find the answer.

    As you figure out your personal insecurity issues, here are three ways to ride its wave towards confidence island.

  1. Do the work
  2. There is a scene from the final season on Mad Men where the main character is having a pity party about how he isn’t where he wants to be in his career. A friend gives him this advice, “Do the work, Don.” This line really hit me at my insecurity core. Your work is the only thing you have control over…not over your mentor’s critique, the hiring decisions of a company, or if an artist you respect says they like your work. You only have control over you… how hard you work and how you fight to keep progressing. If you stop working because you don’t think you’re good enough, then you’ve ended your own growth possibilities.

    Do the work, Don – from Mad Men Season 7

  3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
  4. If you’re taking risks, you’re going to be uncomfortable. Insecurity is all about being uncomfortable. This is not a bad thing. I know when I’m uncomfortable, I can use this feeling to push me to work harder and be more aware that I’m in the fight. Security and confidence can breed comfort. If you’re comfortable in what you’re creating…you’re not pushing yourself. Don’t fool yourself into thinking comfort and confidence equals security.

  5. Stop comparing your journey to others
  6. Notice I didn’t say stop comparing your work. You do need to look at where your work ranks compared to others. This is a reality of becoming a professional artist. But don’t use this comparison to freeze you in your tracks. Use their work to inspire you and to aim higher in your own work. As you are inspired, remember to stay on your own path. You are not here to make copycat work. Also, remember that social media has skewed real life. You have no idea how much sweat went into a final product or how much they thought their work was sub par up until the final pass. Don’t take the easy way out and make someone’s great work about your inadequacies. Use the inspiration to aim higher and make your work stronger.

    Lastly, reach out to other artists. This can be as simple as telling a classmate, “I really enjoyed how you handled your assignment.” Think about what someone’s kind words have meant to you in the past…especially from people that you aren’t related to. Even better is finding a group of people creating stuff and go hang with them. Your fellow creators understand the feelings of insecurity and can support you to keep creating. When you support others it can also help you by pulling you out of your “I Suck Hamster Wheel”…even if only for a few moments.

    Until…you are once again greeted by a now good friend.

    “Why hello, Insecurity. Let’s do the work.”

    Michelle Meeker

    Want to learn from mentors like Michelle Meeker?

    Michelle Meeker is a 15 year animation veteran. You can see some of this work in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Shrek. She is also a veteran mentor at Animation Mentor since 2005. She’s taught Advanced Acting, Advanced Body Mechanics and Introduction to Acting.

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