Is there something that you are really passionate about and just know you're supposed to move forward with in your life? But does your brain step in and have you second-guessing your ability to do so, or questioning if you deserve it? It sounds crazy, but it happens to the best of us and on a regular basis! It's the classic ego mind at work, and it pits us against the intuitive calling of our hearts and inner-guide. Our ego is designed to keep us "safe," and it does so by leading us from a place of fear. Fear of change, rejection, failure -- you name it. But this "safe" place doesn't really serve us at all. In fact, it can force us to dwell in negative behaviors that have us living unhappily, unfulfilled, and well below our pure potential.
In my own life, I have found this to be true about my writing. From as early as kindergarten, I recall having ease, flow, and enjoyment in writing. But I never pursued it as more than an occasional hobby. My brain told me that I needed to instead learn a trade and build a career. I went to school for business and naturally migrated to marketing and sales as a way to connect with others. Today, I'm an entrepreneur and CEO of my own tech company. While I love my clients, the work that I do, and the positive initiatives my company has led, there has always been a calling for more. Namely: writing. Still, after all these years!
I started writing technical articles for my company that were well-received, and they temporarily quenched my desire to write. But I realized I was still playing it safe and small. While I enjoyed that type of writing, the real fire-in-my-belly passion that I had was not just writing, but writing from my heart and sharing intimate details of my life: my struggles, my strengths -- and ultimately helping others along their own path. Now, that was scary! It was one thing to write a technical article, but quite another to bare my soul.
A little over a year ago, I finally said "f" it, and quit suppressing my need and desire to write and help others. As I launched my new blog, I felt those negative thoughts coming in, "Who is even going to read this?" "Will the time I spend writing take away from my business?" "What if people think my writing sucks?" In fact, I clearly remember the butterflies in my stomach as my finger lingered over the "post" button as I prepared to announce my new intention and publish my first post for the world to see. It was, however, liberating to finally hit the button. I now see those butterflies were my heart's way of telling me -- you are doing it!
Since then, I've slowly seen my vision come to life as I step into my calling of writer and mentor. The feedback from others who've felt inspired on their own journey has inspired me to carry on. Sure, some of my ego's fears have been realized along the way. At times, I felt like I could actually hear "crickets" after certain posts. And, sure, I've had some negative comments as well as all of the positive ones, on the more widely-read pieces. And, yes, I've had to make big sacrifices and stay up late at night writing instead of relaxing after a full day of working and spending time with my girls. These are all the things my ego mind had been trying to protect me from. But, they not were not nearly as bad as experienced in real-life as they were in anticipation. Our ego tends to blow things totally out of proportion to keep us safe. In reality, the challenges we face when we "go for it" are miniscule, especially in comparison to the satisfaction received when we get to truly follow our bliss to that warm and fuzzy place.
So, I ask you this: What is your nagging passion? And what is currently holding you back?
I challenge you to make a conscious, intentful effort to bring yourselves one step forward to getting to that place where your heart wants to lead you! It might be scary. You could fall flat on your face at times. You might have to make some uncomfortable changes. But, if you don't at least try to make some forward motion, than you will only find yourself longing for more in another year or even five years from now. Don't let your life pass you by! Here are a few simple tips on getting past the blocks:
- Shine the spotlight on your fears. Only light can chase out darkness. Actually call yourself out, and say or write, "I am holding back because I am afraid of ____." Put everything out there for yourself. Once you pull your fears to the surface, you can work on overcoming them.
- What is the story your ego mind tells you about this fear? Look at it from outside of your usual lens, as if outside of yourself looking in. Worst case, if this fear came true, would it really be so awful? Unless it might actually cause bodily harm or compromise your health in some way, it's probably not as bad as your mind would have you think! In my case -- so what if nobody read my blog? Would it be the end of the world? Would I roll over and die from it? No! Most fears just sound silly when looked at from this point of view.
- Finally, ask yourself what is worse: facing this seemingly irrational fear and being a little bit uncomfortable, or, not facing the fear, but also never getting any closer to living your dreams and following your passion?
Even a small step in the right direction can have a snowball effect in bringing you closer to the joyful, purposeful life you are meant to live. I hope you will make that small step today!
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