William Kenower spoke at a recent Pacific Northwest Writers Association about the myths that keep us from writing. He’s a very good engaging, fun speaker. And he has been blogging about writing for a number of years now, regularly interviewing writers of all genres and measures of success. The bottom line of his presentation is that our own fear and self doubt gets in the way of being the writer we want to be.
A number of years ago I wrote a newsletter post on the topic of fear and I thought I’d repost to this blog. Hope you find it of interest.
Fear Is the Door to Possibility
Fear has been on my mind lately. You know, that 2 am, eyes wide open, mind won’t shut down, stomach churning, “what have I done!” kind of feeling. We get ourselves to that place in our own unique ways.
Some of us fear failure – and we’re extremely talented in creating failure scenarios.
“If I leave this job, I won’t be able to get another one or I won’t get one that pays as much. I’ll lose my benefits, be on unemployment, lose my house, my car, my life partner. I’ll be on the streets….”
Some of us fear success – “If I succeed, I’ll be responsible for my success and I’ll lose this whole blaming strategy that has worked for me for most of my life.” Or “What if I succeed? I don’t know what I’m doing!”
Some of us fear instability. It unnerves us. The ground moves and we can’t find a handhold. Walk into any corporation in the process of merging, downsizing, or being sp
un off. Stay by the coffeepot or the copy machine and listen. The loss of control and stability is palpable. “I can’t believe what THEY are doing. THEY don’t care about us. THEY’RE just using us!”
Some of us fear stability. The very sameness and routine of life and work raises the question of our life purpose. “Is that all there is?”
Have I named your fear yet? If not, give it some thought. Think about somewhere in your life where you stop yourself. Maybe you want to create a business, but you seem to always stall at the idea stage and never reach the implementation stage. Maybe you want to contribute to a business or a non-profit, but sit in front of your phone procrastinating, rather than making those essential sales calls. Maybe you have a deeply held passion for teaching, for healing, for creating, for organizing. Maybe it’s a goat ranch in Texas, a marina in Florida, a gallery in Santa Fe, a new business, an innovation that will change the way we live. Maybe you want to write novels, poetry, memoirs. You have this passion, but you hesitate to act. Sure, we all have many very good reasons for not following our passions. And many of those reasons are legitimate. Or are they?
Sooner or later, we all learn about the limited time offer called “life.” I learned one year when I buried too many people – friends really. They died of old age, heart attacks, cancer. One of my takeaways from standing at so many graves in a short period of time is the true and certain knowledge that life is short and the point of power is the present. Wishing for a future does not a future make.
We have to be willing to stand at the edge, look over the precipice of our fears, take a deep breath and leap without the certain knowledge of flight. This is not a blind leap of faith, but a leap supported by building sufficient reserves of mind, body, spirit, money and community. While the leap itself is the act of an individual, we don’t have to act alone. The more we surround ourselves with people who challenge us to be our Selves and support our journey of discovery, the more success we will create. So build a community to surround you on your path and face those fears. Fear opens the door to great possibility!