So here’s the thing I didn’t blog about yesterday: Fear. Having daily rituals is great. It’s helpful. It’s productive. Yup. All of that. But what makes routines difficult is not the self-discipline or the self-motivation. It’s not that the house is quiet. It’s not that I’m not being paid an hourly wage. The most difficult thing to overcome each morning when I face my day is fear.

Jerry Gille said, “Confront your fears, list them, get to know them, and only then will you be able to put them aside and move ahead.”

So here goes. Looking at each area of my life, this is what I (sometimes) see.


Sitting down to a white page. Fear: what if I’ve got nothing? Nothing to say. Nothing to write. OR … what if I spend the whole morning, hours and hours writing, and it belongs in the trash? What if my work today isn’t good? What if I accomplish nothing of value? 

That’s the thing about writing. You don’t know when you start what you will end up with. 


Mistake after mistake. Mispronunciation after mispronunciation. That’s okay. That’s learning. But what if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and I always stick out? What if, in the end, I’m not good enough at it to really understand and speak Dutch clearly? In other words, what if I’m just an impostor? Trying to learn Dutch. Too old. Too American. Too … me. 

That’s the thing about learning a language. You don’t know when you start what you will end up with. 


What if I get it wrong? What if I do all this work only to find out I misunderstood a situation, a cultural agenda, a happenstance. What if the mistakes all add up and I lose my credibility? OR What if I hit a dead end and the language barrier is too much? What if this particular research thread doesn’t go anywhere at all? What if I’m just deluding myself, wasting my time? 

That’s the thing about research. You don’t know when you start what you will end up with.


What if my non-business head shows itself and my age? What if I never get Twitter? What new things are there that I don’t even know about? I’ll never keep up. I’m behind before I even start! What if my business doesn’t grow? What if I lose money, lose face, end up in the red at the end of the year?

That’s the thing about your business. You don’t know when you start what you will end up with.


OK, this is a lot like writing. White page. Color instead of words. What if I’m fooling myself? What if it looks like a child did this piece? What if my fancy easel and online class and neat row of paints and chalks and crayons and inks all add up to nothing more than self-delusion?

That’s the thing about art. You don’t know when you start what you will end up with. 

Oh, have I said that before? That’s the thing about ________. Fill in the blank: Music. Life. Motherhood. A conversation. A phone call. A poem. You don’t know when you start, what you will end up with.

Les Brown said, “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.” 

So here’s to living your dreams, whatever they are.  And here’s to faith and fine pillows.

And me? I’m off to work on my dream. A new book. This year. Am I afraid? Yes. Am I going to let that stop me? Nope. Not today.  And that is enough. 


Jill Kandel
  • Ingrid Lochamire
    Posted at 09:12h, 19 January Reply

    Hallelujah and Amen! I mean it. Fear has robbed me of too many “best intentions”, opportunities, friendships, dreams. I’ll join you in resting on that “fine pillow” of faith.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 07:31h, 20 January Reply

      I agree. Fear is a robber! It poses as a protector, but it is not.

  • Heather MacLaren Johnson
    Posted at 10:13h, 19 January Reply

    Yes! Fear stops me too often. All the “what-ifs” and the greatest fear of all for me–wasting time. But I keep fighting fear, though I still too often fail, with this truth: God wastes nothing. Thank you for this excellent post!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 07:34h, 20 January Reply

      Hi Heather! A fear of wasting time. I hear you! Each day is such a gift, I don’t want to waste it. That can paralyze me some days. But is can also be a source of joy. Today is a gift. Each moment. And I’m thankful.

  • Diane McElwain
    Posted at 10:38h, 19 January Reply

    Fear stops all of us! I remember Michael Sharra gave me an answer to my question–When do you know you are done researching? He said–You just know. I don’t know if that helps!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 07:35h, 20 January Reply

      Thanks, Diane. Right now all I know is that I’m Not Done. So I just keep on keeping on!

  • Kelly Greer
    Posted at 11:06h, 19 January Reply

    Thank you for stilling my knocking knees and racing heart this morning. It is an adventure –this life is after all! Go in joy! Let’s do this thing!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 07:36h, 20 January Reply

      Oh, Kelly! And what an adventure you have lived. I’m in awe of your story. If you can go in joy, anyone can! Love you.

  • Donna Churchill
    Posted at 21:33h, 19 January Reply

    When I read your post yesterday, I was so impressed by your daily rituals. I was awed, too, because I never have 2 days in my week that look the same. Your discipline is inspiring! A bit intimidating, but definitely inspiring. Reading your blog today shows me no matter what our daily disciplines, we all fight the same dragon. Our responses may be different, but we all need His strength to overcome the fear to get on with what he’s called us to. Thanks, Jill. Loved these two blogs!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 07:43h, 20 January Reply

      Thanks, Diane. My goal is to keep the mornings free to write. So I schedule all appointments, things I have to do for my mom, meetings, groceries, etc in the afternoons. I try to hold my mornings as sacred. If I don’t do that, no one will do it for me. I am surprised how natural this has become. “No, I can’t bring my mom in at 9:00, but I could bring her over after 2:00.” “No, I can’t have coffee with you at 10:00, but 3:00 would work.” I look at it like this: I’m not saying NO to people; I’m saying YES to writing.

  • Jan VanKooten
    Posted at 02:34h, 21 January Reply

    This post followed by the comments was wonderfully reminiscent of our morning LMWW sessions in October — truthful, tender and inspirational. Thx for getting the ball rolling by being so vulnerable and so real.

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