I also want to live the most vividly decorated temporary life that I can. I don’t just mean physically; I mean emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. I don’t want to be afraid of bright colours, or new sounds, or big love, or risky decisions, or strange experiences, or weird endeavours, or sudden changes, or even failure. – Elizabeth Gilbert
I was staring at the screen at a clearly non-professionally made – just like this one! – website, hesitating to click ‘publish’.
My own personal website. With my unpronounceable last name in it – dear Lord, I can only link to it, never to expect people to type it up… My portfolio was there, I had one blog article ready to publish, I’ve scrabbled for a photo of myself where I didn’t look like a complete child, and I was ready to go.
Oh, the adrenalin! Who could have known simply sitting in one’s fake office chair, at home, during a pandemic, can stimulate those glands so much!
One part of it was excitement.
The other one was fear.
There was clearly no real threat to my safety, but the fear itself was very real, let me tell you.
Seth Godin tells us that in order to do creative work – which sounds a lot like many things we do in life – we must detach ourselves from the desire to know the outcome. If I do A, it might not lead to B. However thoughtful I think my articles are, they might not interest anyone. That is a possibility. Because nothing is certain. And that can be really scary!
Sometimes, it’s not even fear of failure. What about fear of inadequacy? Have you heard of fear of irrelevance? (Emmmm I have)
I don’t think I would have been able to launch this challenge any earlier in this pandemic. Honestly, (above-mentioned and other) fears are still here, but I’m more relaxed now. Why?
You see, between my opening story and the launch of this challenge a wonderful thing has happened. That was me – suddenly and at least two decades later than what would have been ideal – becoming extra vigilant about what I poured into this head – and heart – of mine. If I agree that ideas can be powerful and life-changing, I want to feed myself with good ones, I thought. If I claim there’s a new mindset emerging, it needs daily nurturing. Books, interviews, podcasts, people. Boom!
A lot of my effort went into working on my sense of worthiness – or, as Day 2 would say, self-compassion. But most of it went into me, as a Buddhist metaphor goes, inviting my fears for a tea. What a big company that is!
Like that famous quote of Rumi goes,
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
Remove the barriers to let that creativity, curiosity – and, who knows, maybe even something you call passion – flow.
I’m not here to tell you what exactly that will be.
I am here, on my own bumpy fear-acceptance journey, to remind you that it is something we can all work on. And just like with kindness, self-compassion, and vulnerability, it’s the work of our lifetime.
This is, in fact, what today’s resource is all about. Elizabeth Gilbert is such a treat, and I myself am eternally grateful to her for her ideas.
Before we go into today’s exercise, one quick thing.
Instead of trying to control the outcome, Seth Godin tells us to trust the practice: to show up, to do the work, and to do it again. That is brave in itself.
Just like Elizabeth, Seth also gives us that permission to call ourselves creative people. He says,
We don’t ship the work because we’re creative. We’re creative because we ship the work.
Let’s work on removing those obstacles that don’t serve us and ship whatever has been waiting to be shipped.
If you truly let go of the fear of failure, irrelevance, being a beginner, being judged or misunderstood, is there anything that you think you would like to start, quit, create, share, or embark on? Is there a direction your curiosity has been pointing you to?
If you were to give yourself a bit more compassion, and if you decided to live a bit more wholeheartedly, choosing vulnerability over certainty, what kind of behaviours and what kind of life decisions would stem from this commitment?
Following this commitment, what small action could you take today?
Resource of the Day
Stop looking for passion. Replace ‘passion’ with ‘curiosity’ and choose curiosity over fear. Daily.
This is what Elizabeth Gilbert, a journalist, author, and an overall super cool lady tells us in this podcast episode. Good Life Project is one brilliant podcast, by the way.
How rich, beautiful, and wholehearted is this conversation. So much laughter and ideas that are not simple but come with a certain lightness.
You don’t need to punch your fear in the face, Elizabeth says. You can choose to befriend it. And then embark on a magical journey. Why? Because to want an interesting life is a reason good enough.
This conversation will make your day, I promise. I know this is a free challenge, but this is where I wish I could say “…or you’ll get your money back!”
“The Universe wants collaborators, baby!”