Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Steven Pressfield
I believed, for most of my adult life, that my life partner was something that would come to me. All I had to do was “be good”, faithful and obedient. I just had to work hard and somebody would notice me. At one point, a close friend, “Why are you not working at getting a partner? If you put half the energy into finding a partner, that you have been putting in your career, you’d be married by now!” I remember feeling slightly insulted by his words. Old stories die hard.
Eventually, I took this to heart, and I began putting myself out in the dating world. I put up a dating profile on several online dating sites and set aside time to “work” on meeting a partner. I went on loads of dates. I took everything personally. I painted every “no” as a failure and a sign of my unworthiness. It was difficult – Sometimes fun but mostly scary. It eventually got easier, and after every encounter, I learned a little bit more about myself and how to date but it never stopped being challenging. It took me a very long time to break my old belief.
One of the things that I learned along the way was that sitting in my pit of pitifulness had some real advantages. Believing that I am unworthy or a failure gave me a good excuse not to face rejection.
Believing that I had to be obedient and good in order to receive a relationship meant that I did not have to do the work to put myself out in the world. I didn’t have to expose my vulnerable parts. I could stay safe in the cocoon of ‘I am not worthy’ thus never exposing my terrifying fears to those around me.
I am in the middle of the process of publishing my first book (working title: Hearts Guide to Crisis). There were a few times in the writing process where I became paralyzed with self doubt and overwhelmed with the rewrites and my mediocre writing. I was listening to a number of podcasts and reading blogs on writing but I could not write.
I woke up one morning and it was like a fog lifted and everything got crystal clear. Writing a good book is not supposed to be easy. The discipline of crafting and redrafting the work is all a part of the creative process. Rewrites and discipline are part of the process.
I feel like I have spent my lifetime proving to myself that I deserve to be in “the arena” while at the same time, constantly avoiding the limelight and minimizing my skill set. My whine that I am not good enough, that my writing is mediocre, was just an excuse to not do the hard work of doing the work.
I know that sounds obvious, but for me, this was a lightbulb moment. Once I understood this, I was able to focus my time on my writing and I stopped listening to the whiney voice of “I am not enough”. This was a game changer for me.
Fear is easy. It lets you protect your vulnerability and your ugly. It lets you nurse your story that says you are are not enough. Fear will freeze you in your victim thinking – It can paralyze you into believing that your only choice is to do nothing but feel miserable.
The antidote is to this paralysis is available to you. Move. Do something. Take steps towards your dream. Focus on what you can do and table everything else. When you hear yourself complain how the other guy has it so good, and you have it so bad, remember that’s just the fear talking. Keep moving, right through your fear.
It won’t work.
I can’t do this.
I’m too old, too young, too dumb, too smart.
I can’t do this by myself.
The list is long. I know, because I could write another book on all the things fear tells you.
Fear is easy and very very chatty. Don’t listen.
Instead, use your energy to do the work. Everyday. Repeat.