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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Inspiration Monday: Looking Fear in the Eye

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
- Dorothy Thompson

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.


So how many of you are afraid to work toward your dreams? Afraid of what your friends and family will say? Afraid of messing up the comfort of your life? Afraid of what you will need to sacrifice? Afraid of making a mistake and having it thrown in your face that it just serves you right...who do you think you are, trying to do something outside the norm? Afraid of failing at your dream? Afraid of maybe succeeding and finding out what that really means? So afraid of finding out what you are capable of and then discovering you could have done this all a long time ago and your life could have been so different? So afraid of any consequence...you're paralyzed, and you choose to let life go right on by.

Okay, you've come this far. I'll admit I get freaked out at times. But, I'm also tired of just dreaming. It is time to do something about it.

So now what? Now that we've acknowledged our fears, let's figure out what we will do with our fear. Some people are automatically motivated by fear and work away from what they are most afraid of. For example, some people are afraid of having no money. They end up working long hours and do just about anything to earn and squirrel away the money. This gives them the comfort of knowing they have money. Other people are so afraid of failure, it makes them work so hard, so much so they break the barriers of what has held others back, to succeed beyond what they ever imagined.

Think back to when you remember life as so easy and triumphant. Think back to all the wins you've had over the years...maybe it was the freedom and excitement when you learned how to ride a bike. Or the first time you aced a spelling or math test. Or hit the ball further than anyone else. Maybe it is when you became someone's best friend. Or when you know you helped someone who was troubled. Or maybe it was your first real job and you could go out an afford a new pair of shoes. Maybe it was when you were able to save enough money to pay your way through school, buy your first car, rent your first apartment, buy your first condo, your first house.

Remember all the sweat and hard work you put into a project to make things happen. Smile and enjoy the glory you remembered. Doesn't it feel great to feel competent, to feel successful and powerful with what you've accomplished so far? You handled the stumbling blocks just fine. You might have grumbled a bit, but it didn't sway you, because you had to or wanted to do it.

Maybe you had to do it to show your friends you could ride a bike. Maybe you had to jump off the high diving board to show your friends you weren't chicken. Maybe you wanted to show off in front of that cute boy or girl in your class. Maybe you wanted that promotion because only you could take that new job to a whole new level. Or maybe you were so mad because a door closed in your face or someone told you that you were stupid or not good enough; too young or too old; the wrong race or the wrong gender...and you wanted to prove everyone wrong. And you worked your little tail off to make things happen.

No matter how you went about it, you have already learned through your mistakes, disapointments, failures and successes. You've already done things in your life that you've been proud of. So, what's so different about trying to reach your dream?

I can't make you change your life patterns to make you reach toward your dream. Only you can do that. However, I can show you that it may not be so hard from what you have already accomplished in your life. Little steps, that's all I'm saying. It takes little steps to make big things happen.

And in case you have't read it lately....You are good enough. You are smart enough. You are clever enough. You have the right combination of genetic codes to do whatever it is you want to do. You can do it. Get rid of all that mental garbage that's telling you otherwise. Besides taming the fear, throwing out the negative thoughts will be one of the most liberating things you do.

You are capable of so much, it is up to you to choose how you will let the fear into your life. Will you let the fear in and dominate your whole existence or will you totally kick it to the curb? You decide.

12 comments:

Shawn said...

This is very "The War of Art" of you to write ... thanks for the inspiration. I think about all of those frigging years I had to write my novel while single (and wishing I weren't) and childless (and wishing I weren't) and what a waste of time I abused. Motherhood sure does change all that, now doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

You cannot believe how much I needed this. Thank you.

-S

HipWriterMama said...

S-
Glad this helped you.


Shawn-
Motherhood does change everything. And it makes you realize you can accomplish much more in a shorter period of time than you ever thought.

I just looked up "The War of Art." At first I thought it was "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, which I read many years ago for work, but then I read your comment again and realized you wrote "The War of Art." I just looked it up on Amazon.com.

In case anyone is interested, the book is called, "The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles" by Steven Pressfield.

MyUtopia said...

I love the quotes!

Erin said...

Vivian - I love you for these posts. Thank you.

PJ Hoover said...

Are you trying to convince me to quit my day job?

Great post! I read a book called "Feel the Fear and do it anyway" and it's amazing how just keeping that thought in my head can change my actions. It tells us to ask "What's the worst thing that will happen if what you fear comes true". Once you think about it, it doesn't seem so bad.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

This is good to remember. I quit my day-job to write full-time, and it was only after that when I realized that I didn't have the drive I once had to write as a career. Looking back, I'm glad I did what I did, but I didn't have a fairy-tale ending. The story is still in process.

Callipygia said...

Hipwritermama- Thanks for being so inspiring to everyone reading this. Somethings you can just never hear enough of. By the way Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott is supposed to be an excellent encouragement to writers, but probably just about anyone embarking on their life project.

LiteracyTeacher said...

I feel like we're on the same wavelength today:
http://mentortexts.blogspot.com/2007/07/quote-every-teacher-should-read.html
L.T.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Thanks for the reminder. It brought me back to "what would I do if I could not fail." I will say that I'm not sure that fear is my problem. I think it's entropy. Or laziness.

Becky Levine said...

I love your inspiration Mondays.

I find the only "cure" for the fear is the work. I was panicking about getting my latest draft done before taking off on vacation, and--of course, out of the panic, I wasn't getting anything written. So I sat down and counted days & chapers and, it's do-able.

The fear is still there--but pushing, slogging through the rewrites shoves it into a tiny corner of my brain & stomach instead of letting it take over!

Becky

Little Willow said...

I dislike fear. I don't think I'm scared often - more aware, more wary, than scared. Just like I'm never nervous. I don't want to be in scary situations. I hope to be prepared if ever.