You know the kind of thing I’m talking about. Not pitching for a job that’s got you written all over it because you “know” you won’t get it. Not quitting corporate life, even though your entrepreneurial sideline business is showing more than green shoots of success. Not leaving a relationship that’s well past its sell-by date, because you tell yourself there will never be another.
You’ve read all the logical advice out there.
You know that you can tick all the boxes on the spec for the big job. That your moonlighting income is trending beyond break even. That there are lots of eligible singletons on the market.
It convinces you for so long. But…
You’ve listened to the motivational gurus.
You’ve heard the ra ra that says “Just Do It! Push past yourself. Be confident, find courage, and take a leap of faith”.
It inspires you for so long. But…
And there’s always a “but”.
A primeval doubt that forces you back on yourself, that immobilizes you, that stops you from acting as powerfully as you know you can.
And which in turn mixes with fear that dissolves you, taking with it all your courage and resolve.
It’s frustrating. So frustrating. Of course this thing you’re wrestling with right now is very specific. Yet the feelings are ones you’ve known before in different guises. Always you try to tuck them away. Always they bounce back.
The theme echoed for me because it’s in my story too right now. (I gotta love how my work as coach and self-development ninja is so often the cauldron of my own growth.)
My dilemma? Daring to unveil and unmask online even more than I already have. Believing that doing so will help take my blogging business to the next level again.
Oh, I do pretty well. I know I’m well respected by a solid community of friends, followers and clients. I’ve put the leg work in. I’m proud of where I am. My blog’s currently sitting at a not-too-shabby circa 200,000 Global Alexa. And I make enough money to pay my way in life.
You might say, “Wow. Why would you want to do more?”
And sure, I could cruise here.
But, here’s the thing. I know there’s an even bigger me inside, bursting to push through, if only I will let it.
I ask myself: “Who am I to dare to believe I could touch more people; influence more broadly?” I compare myself to others I perceive as having cracked it and find myself falling short. Jon Morrow’s magic; Johnny B Truant’s humor; Naomi Dunford’s razor sharpness.
In my own mind I play small to their bigness. I am perpetual apprentice to their mastery.
What if I took back my projections and broke through my own glass ceiling?
And I think of the other times in my life that I’ve pushed through growth points despite fear and doubt. The time I knew I had to jump from my prestigious career to self-employment, despite no savings to fall back on. The time I so wanted to accept a loving man’s invitation despite being one very scalded cat. The time I intuited I had to take my business in a very different direction, despite years of successful self-employment.
How did I get past my fears at these points. How did I quell my doubts?
You might be expecting me to say something crass like I kicked them into touch. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I befriended them. Shit, I became their goddamn mother.
A slight digression, but I was thinking there of how it is for my little nephew when he gets frightened about something.
Some years ago, when he was only three or four, he was staying with me at Halloween. He loved the pumpkin lantern making, and the orange flashing decoration lamps I’d found to hang on Eric the rubber plant. But when we opened the door to some older kids, who’d come round Trick-or -Treating in full ghoulish costume, he totally freaked and ran away.
What drew him back, enough to dare to look the kids in the eye and share a laugh, was me holding him tightly, calming him down, and convincing him we were going to look at these scary monsters together.
One of the things I most dislike about some pop coaching stuff is that it encourages you to disown bits of you that you don’ t like and would rather not look at. With enough logic and motivation, it suggests, anything can be overcome.
The thing that has always stopped me moving forward is the screaming kid inside that’s so totally spooked by the unknown that it just will not budge.
To shoot for the stars you need to take your kid by the hand and figure out what it needs in order to feel safe enough to even try.
Sure, there will be practical things. Is your resume the best it can be? Are you confident your price points are market sensitive? Have you got a great divorce lawyer onboard and do you know your rights?
Inspirational stuff has its place too. Of course you need determination, tenacity and sheer balls to push through.
But don’t discount what you need emotionally. Take support from knowing that loving people are right behind you. Take all the positive strokes you can. But understand, own, and take strength from your fears and doubts. They are telling you that the faces at the door of your current challenge are scary. Gather them up, calm them down, and look the monster in the eye.
That’s when the transformation happens. That’s when you’ll feel your fear and doubts become excitement, enabling you to move beyond yourself and fly.
What’s spooking you at the moment? What do you need to find in yourself to go ahead with your ambitions?