I am going to say it: life can be hard.What is it about admitting the truth about how much harder life is than one had expected.Anyone who has started a family, cultivated a skill, started a large project or business will say the same thing in hindsight – this is harder than I thought.After starting a company and writing a book, I will now admit that both were so much harder than I had anticipated.The difficulty comes in stages:
- Blame. I can’t start this because I don’t have the time, resources, support, or skills. We draft a very unique narrative about why our unique life situation is the hardest one facing mankind.
- Fear. Once we stop blaming, we move onto fear. I cannot start because I am afraid of failing. I am afraid I am not good enough. I am afraid others will not approve.
- Overwhelm. If we move past our blame and fear, we get lost in the sheer volume of work that has to get done to be successful and we quit in a state of total overwhelm.
The solutions also come in stages:
- Write a new narrative. The story you are telling yourself has to change. Yes, you are right. You are facing obstacles. You don’t have the time, money, or support that you wish you had. But repeating the same story doesn’t help. Stop repeating that story in your head and start finding solutions. No one is in your way except your mindset. Really, write out the story you are telling filled with blame and excuses and make a promise that you will never think those thoughts again! Or at least cut back from saying it 100 times a week to 20.
- Face Fear. Meet your new best friend, fear. Fear is crippling until you sort out your relationship with him. Sorry, he is kind of annoying because he is a huge worrier. He can be helpful in real moments of danger, but most of the time you just have to hang out with a very stressed out friend. Talk to fear and let him know things are ok, but he really needs to chill out. He doesn’t mean to derail you, he just always thinks things are going to be a problem. Watch the movie Insideout and see fear for what he really is!
- Get Going. Set up a work schedule for success. Take out your calendar and start planning out the times you will work on your goals. It is ok to start slowly. Maybe you only have 1-2 hours a day. Start there and build up. Schedule it. Get an accountability partner. Write out some mantras to keep going. Tell your best friend that she is pulling some overtime. Vent about your stress and then get back to work!
Have you asked yourself what your alternative is?We do not want to take action because the truth will come out – we are not good enough. We will be found out that we’re flawed, scared, human.So we tell ourselves, “Stay still. It is safe right where you are.”True. You will stay exactly where you are. You will not take the “risk”, but your worst fears will have come true.You will not try. You have failed. You have failed because you gave up. No action does not lead to safety. The world will still keep moving. People will still get sick or hurt. We cannot control the world around us.So since standing still means failure and it isn’t safer because we can stand still and still get hurt, what is there to lose?“I want to open a business, but I am afraid of failing.”Don’t be afraid. You have failed by quitting. It is only up from here.“I am afraid that bad things will happen in the world because I have been through a lot. I know what can happen because I have experienced bad things.”If you have experienced bad things, then you know they come out of nowhere. Waiting for them to happen doesn’t protect you. Have fun and live now since right now you are safe.What can you do today? Can you draft a new narrative? Can you make friends with fear? Can you schedule some time to pursue your goals? One step forward will motivate you to take another step. What can you do today that is different from yesterday? Start there.Love to hear your thoughts! What did you start today?