I sometimes feel scared of the day ahead, so scared that even when I wake up naturally early I roll over, pretend I’m too tired to get up, and go back to sleep.
I’m at my most scared when I don’t have a lot of tasks and to-dos on my list. When they’re there they keep me busy, productive, I feel that I’m on track and Getting Things Done. At the same time of course I’m resentful at the list, at all the things I must do that are stopping me from spending much time, if any, on what I really want to do. I long for a time when I might be able to wake up without the pressure to be busy, with the entire day looming ahead for me to spend hours writing if I please and then to sit back, relax, laugh with my family and go to bed at night satisfied that I’ve done what I was meant to do. That I’ve made progress on my dreams.
I’m scared of the days when all there is is open space. I’m scared that I’m going to waste it and so ironically enough my instinct is to do just that. To oversleep, to come up with a new project idea and start that instead, to use it as a chance to clean up my inbox or my Dropbox.
I’m scared of what might happen if I really give my all to following my dreams. I’m scared, I suppose, that I might find out I’m not good enough after all. If I don’t give it my all it’s easy to tell myself I haven’t been putting the time or effort in, and that when I do I will absolutely get there. But if I DO put that time and effort in … and I don’t get there … what does that mean?!
One word: scary.
I’ve learned to push through this fear, to strike it down, although not as well as I’d like to. It’s a definite practice. But here’s what I’ve learned, here’s what I do when the fear rises up. In case you ever find yourself dealing with a similar fear –
Just one hour.
I commit to spending just one hour on my dream, which in most cases for me is my writing. Even if I don’t know what to write; have nothing I’m working on or feel like I’m writing absolute drivel (which is a lot of the time). One hour. After that one hour I face the fear and see if I can bear to commit to another one. It’s like pulling teeth at times. But when I follow through? I feel amazing. Better still – words get written. Progress is made.
I spend some time figuring out what’s really going on. Usually I do this through journaling, sometimes through a walk or sitting on the beach. I dig into the parts of my mind I’ve been trying to ignore. What am I really scared of? What’s the worst that might happen? What’s the best that might happen? Always, the best outweighs the worst. Always.
I give myself a talking to. Remind myself I’m here for a purpose. I’ve chosen to live that purpose. It’s not okay to run and hide from it. It’s not okay to let my message and my gift die away because I’m not brave enough to release it into the world. It’s not okay to pretend I’m satisfied with what I’ve achieved so far and who I am when really I want more. I don’t mean being ungrateful. You can be grateful and still want more.
Ignore the busywork.
I remind myself sternly that if I even LOOK at that list of busywork I’ll be sucked into it. Without a doubt. I will tell myself that I HAVE to do this, that other people are depending on me, that I have no choice. I’ll tell myself I’ll do the writing this afternoon, this evening. I never ever will do the writing this afternoon or this evening. It’s only ever now, or never.
I take a moment, or two, perhaps more. Like right now. I sit back. Look around. Take a sip of coffee. Close my eyes. And I breathe the fear into my chest; I allow myself to feel it. I let it bubble right up – and then out. Whooosh. I let it out. I don’t need you today fear. I know why I’m here. I know what I’m meant to be doing. I believe in my dream. I know that the best WILL happen. I know that in saying all of this and then doing it, I am aligned. I am me. I am on track. I give myself permission to live my dreams, and to start now.
The fear will be back, that’s for certain. It never stops trying, you have to give it points for that! But you don’t ever have to stop trying either. Live your dreams. Start today.
Life is Now. Press Play.