Halloween is coming up and I am scared. Not because I watch American Horror Story Hotel, or binge episodes of The Walking Dead, (though, I'm sure it doesn't help), but because there is something in my brain controlling me, and I have to kill it!
I HAVE TO KILL MY FEAR!
We all have fears. You. Me. Even Winnie the Pooh fears the nightmares of Heffalumps and Woozles stealing his honey
Which reminds me, I had a terrible nightmare last night!
There I was, sitting back munchin' on my lunch, when I chomped into a mozzarella stick with a big fat juicy centipede sitting smack dab in the center!
Could you imagine?!
The horror! The agony! The gut-wrenching ickyness of it all...
How could my dreams do this to me?!
How could they make me eat a mozzarella stick with... GLUTEN!
*Snap out of it man! You have an email to write.*
Sorry, sorry...what were was I?
Oh, yes - FEARS!
Our fears keep us from the things we want in life.
Like, the time when I was a kid and had to be rescued from the Claustrophobia Tunnel Exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry.
What I wanted to do, was get to the other end of the long, dark, labyrinth without freaking out. But, my fears had other, more panic-attack-y plans.
Fortunately, as we get older, we find ways to overcome and cope with our fears. For instance, I am now able to float in an isolation space tank for over an hour... and enjoy it!
Unfortunately, the new fears that come to replace those ones are a bit more subtle.
Fears are no longer screaming in my head. They are lurking beneath the surface, filling me with excuses that "justify" not taking action.
Excuses like, "I'm too busy", "I need to do more research", or even "I'll do it later, I'm tired right now".
But let's be real. It's just our fear running around in procrastination pants!
So, what is my "procrastination fear", you ask?
Honestly... It is writing emails like this and sending them out to you.
Putting your thoughts down on a blank page, opening up your vulnerabilities, and broadcasting them to be judged my a sea of strangers... takes some real cojones, if you ask me. Cojones that I often lack.
But, I'm not alone.
We all have some sort of fear within us, disguised as apathy in our life.
- Asking that girl, or guy out
- Talking to your boss about wanting a raise
- Finally quitting that job you hate
I've talked to so many people over the years about why they haven't started the thing they "want" to do.
- Their blog
- Their website
- Their newsletter
The answer always comes back to some sort of excuse like, "I don't have the time".
Stop lying. You're Scared!
If you really "wanted" to do it, you'd find time to do it. That is unless, you're scared to do it. In which case, we have to address that fear.
Being afraid is OK!
Seriously, who wouldn't be?! After sending this email, MailChimp will literally let me know, in real-time, that you opened this, hated it, and unsubscribed.
It's scary. But, once you get past the fear, it becomes motivating. It becomes a game, or competition with yourself to keep improving.
Moving from Procrastination to Action!
But, how can you get over that mental barrier of fear?
Simple. The more you do it, the easier it gets!
Just recently, Srinivas Rao, sent me this amazing short he made called “Commit to the Act of Creating".
It was just the kick in the ass I needed to move past my fear. To realize that there won't always be a big life event, or inspirational moment to motivate me to write. I needed to "normalize" writing and make it part of my routine.
So, I set up a series of action triggers to get me on the right path. What do you think?
Trigger >> Action
Wake Up >> Journal: First thing, I empty my brain and practice stream of consciousness writing via 750 Words.
Journal >> Learn: After my brain-dump, I re-fill it with something inspirational, or educational. (books, videos, or various newsletters)
Learn >> Write: Pull an interesting idea from my steam of conscious journal and formalize the thought. If my journal is nothing but "coffee, coffee, coffee...", pull an idea from my "learning" step. Bonus points for merging an idea from each together.
Write >> Post: Send it to the world via the email list, blog, or social channels. Doesn't matter which, so long as it is done.
This system will be tweaked as I use it more, but for right now, it has helped me organize my thoughts to move from fear to action.
Let me know if it worked, or if you have any ideas for making it better.
For now, I'm done putting off my writing habit for another day. I've given myself permission and am committed to the act of creating. Time for step 4. Time to send this out!
Keep an eye out for more, as I continue my journey towards Creative Confidence. Next up - How to stop comparing yourself to the best-of-the-best while you're still in beginner-mode.
What is something you've wanted to start, but keep putting off?
Leave a comment below :)