I have a new client (let’s call her Becky even though that’s not her name) who really wants to write a book. Becky’s trying to write a book. She’s written a little bit of her book. She is a beautiful writer and has the skills, tools, and experience she needs to write the book, but she can’t seem to get more than a few paragraphs out sporadically and even those writing sessions are rife with inner conflict. She beats herself up for not being disciplined enough. She distracts herself with internet searches on time management for writing a book. She spends a hella lot of time negotiating with an inner critic that keeps her paralyzed in fear. So one day I asked her,
What’s bigger than your fear?
Quiet, but I could sense the wheels turning. I kept going. “I hear you and these fears are real. However, what if we were to the zoom the lens way, way out, so you could see yourself right now AND what’s out there on the horizon? What’s out there? What’s the purpose of this book? What’s your vision for it and the world you want to live in? What’s your beacon of WHY you do what you do? What purpose can you attach to this endeavor that’s bigger than you; that’s bigger than your fear?”
Becky started furiously scribbling thoughts and questions as the dots were starting to connect. She didn’t have the verbal answers yet, but I could already sense the swell of courage in her chest rising up knowing there was a greater cause; a bigger battle; a raison d’etre. She took the question away wanting to give herself plenty of time and space to think about and feel the answers. She wanted to spend some time getting to know her motivation.
A Common Hurdle
Becky’s “issue” isn’t unique. Almost all of my clients are working to get over some kind of hump, whether it’s a creative project, a new career path, relationship change, improving their health, money issues, time management, self-discovery and/or personal healing.
With all of these (and many many more), fear can be a huge hindrance to forward movement and growth. People are afraid of all kinds of things; failure, success, change, rocking the boat, upsetting family/friends, uncertainty, feeling stupid; being ridiculed, kicked out, shamed. Some of these are real, but many are projections from our own ego trying to keep us safe through fear.
When we are afraid, it’s hard to see the big picture, to incorporate our whole being, experience and vision into the story. In fear, our thinking gets small and narrow as we focus on these perceived immediate threats.
When we can take a step back and become present to what’s real, everything changes.
Through mindfulness, we can see more clearly what’s right in front of us AND hold our broader vision of who we are and how we want to change the world. It’s very difficult for most people to stay motivated without a longer vision, a purpose beyond themselves, or a very deep WHY for what they are doing.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do things just for us. I’m a huge advocate for doing whatever brings one joy for joy’s sake. However, for big changes, the women I work with need a deeper purpose, a reason to serve that feeds them and keeps them inspired.
I’m not saying any of these big changes or projects are easy. They aren’t, but they are do-able. It takes hard work, but we often make that work harder by focusing only on the project or the fear. When we can deeply root our vision for the world and how we want to serve into our motivation, the journey becomes much smoother.
Motivation and vision are huge, but they also won’t get you there alone. The other key elements for big change are what I call,
SAAS: Self-knowledge, Accountability, Audacity and Self-compassion.
Self-knowledge: Who am I am and how do I best operate? Do I work better in the morning? evening? alone? around people? How do I need to be held accountable? Some think it’s indulgent to get to know thyself. I think it’s imperative to success.
Accountability: Whether you are accountable to yourself or someone else, it’s really important to set mini goals and check in with someone when you’re doing something big. Most people do best with outside accountability. If this is you, make sure you’re accountabili-buddy is someone who is supportive, compassionate and has your best interest at heart.
Audacity: Say what? Who does she think she is? YES! I want a whole lot more of this in every one of us! We could all use a little more audacity, courage, grit, stick-with-it-and-show-up-every-time-ness. Whether this is natural for you or not, it can be practiced and grown in each of us.
Self-compassion: Most people think that a lack of discipline is their problem. But it’s hard to make yourself do hard things when you’re beating yourself up all the time. Cultivating more self-compassion to kindly support yourself through difficult times will do more for your success and well-being than any amount of discipline ever will.
If you are contemplating a big change or project, or craving something different in your life, spend some time with these. What’s bigger than your fear? What’s the longer vision or purpose you’re helping to affect? And then incorporate the elements above. Whatever you are craving is divine and has a bigger purpose than you. And if you are dreaming about it, the world needs it. The world needs you in all of your glory, my sister-friend. Take a deep breath, step into that and start now!
Jacque is offering an upcoming program called True Peace & Presence -an intimate, 4-week, online program for women who want to be more present, feel more peaceful, act more powerfully, and live more intentionally. (This is NOT a WW program. To inquire about this program, please contact Jacque directly).
Jacque is a Life Coach for women who want more peace, presence and personal power. Jacque’s unique and effective blend of gifts includes coaching, spiritual guidance, female empowerment and deep, non-judgmental listening and acceptance. She helps women tap into their own boundless reserves of divine wisdom and let go of anxieties and fears by offering personalized tools and strategies to help them feel more intentional, peaceful, powerful and free. Jacque completed her Woman Within Weekend in 2014 and is active in an Empowerment Circle in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. She can be found at jacquesaltsman.com.