19 Jan Fear
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.