About that fear and guilt

So it turns out a lot of you also feel fear and guilt around being in transition and constantly finding your way.

(We talked about this last week; if you missed it, catch up here before you continue.)

I spent some time thinking about why that is and what we can do about it, and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

When we are afraid others will judge us for being or doing something, often we act as though it’s true.

Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say we fear others will think things like, What? In transition? Didn’t you just talk about another change you made? You really need to stick with where you are for a while. Those imaginary voices can get pretty loud.

(Note: We're talking about healthy change and transition here, not the times we all have when we're chasing something new out of procrastination or avoidance.)

If we listen to those voices, we’ll act like what they say is true. Even though it’s natural to evolve and change—even though it’s actually a skill we have as creatives, to be able to keep on working in the present, honoring what we’ve already built and committed to, even as we dream, plan, and create for the future—we’ll start to act as though it’s not.

And if we keep letting those voices in, eventually we’ll start suppressing the kinds of ideas that could move our businesses forward, that could really make a difference in the lives of the people we know we could help.

Plus we’ll start to suppress our own growth—because for most of us, self and business are intertwined. As we grow and learn, our businesses reflect the new things we’ve discovered, and as we grow our businesses, we learn new things and create new strength within ourselves.

So if we’re pushing away new ideas and ignoring our own need for growth, eventually (even if it takes a while), we’ll end up pretty unhappy. Our confidence and enthusiasm will fade as we lose trust in ourselves and in our businesses.

I know this might feel like an extreme example, but if not dealt with, I believe this kind of fear (and our response to it) can do some pretty big damage.

So what do we do about it?

This will look different for each of us based on many different factors. But one of the biggest things I think we can do is face this head on rather than letting it carry on unchecked.

 

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It's time to take action.


If when we're afraid something is true then we act as though it's true, let's spend some time thinking about how to act as though it isn’t true.

I’m going to recommend that you do this through intentional writing, but if you’d like to talk these ideas over with a friend (or just close your eyes for a few moments and think about the questions I’m going to share with you), do what you know will work for you. But I’m going to present instructions as though you're going to do some intentional writing, to keep things simple.

Open up a new document on your computer, turn to a new page in your journal, or get out a new piece of paper. Set a timer if you like, and feel free to close your eyes and do a few deep breaths before you dive in.

Then start writing, using one of the prompts below and the guiding questions to get your mind moving.

Keep in mind that there are two sides of this situation—how you act within yourself and how you act when speaking to others and putting yourself out there. The two are intertwined but separate, so make sure you consider both.


The Prompts:
If I weren’t afraid that others would judge me for continued evolving and transitioning, I would…

or

I’m not afraid of what others think. I am always evolving and transitioning. So I…
 

The Guiding Questions:
How would you speak differently to yourself?
How would you allow yourself to dream differently?
What would you spend more time on?
What would you spend less time on?
How would you you introduce yourself?
What kind of content would you share?

When you’re done, read back over what you wrote. Look for ideas that surprise you as well as statements that feel just right. See if there are repeated thoughts or connections you hadn’t considered before.

And then choose (at least) one action to begin taking.

Maybe that means you reach out to a few new people on Instagram, ones who are active in the area you want to move toward.

Maybe that means you give yourself permission to dedicate an entire day to what you have planned next, with no guilt about working on things based on where you are now.

Maybe that means you write out a script about how you’ll introduce yourself that celebrates the fact that you’re always in transition (like I’m currently doing ___, and I’m excited to also work on ___) or that only touches on what you need to share with that one person (like I’m working with my current clients on ___ or I’m working to create ___).

Maybe that means that every day for a month, you'll take five minutes at the end of the day to evaluate how you talked to yourself and to others about where you are where you're going. (You can get some tools to help you carry this out, plus some free accountability, right here!)

Whatever the action, taking it will help remind you that you don’t have to give in to fear about what others think. That’s a choice you get to make, and what you decide can make a pretty big difference.

 

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So what do you think?


I know that when we read things like this, we often just think about what we read for a moment and then move on. We have a lot going on, and stopping to do something beyond skimming isn't our first instinct.

But if you truly take fifteen or twenty minutes out of your day to absorb this idea and take (or plan out) an action step, I think what you’ve just read will make a much bigger difference for you. (And that's true for more than just this email! If something strikes you, make a plan to use the information you just learned before it flies out of your head.)

If you want a little accountability, share your vision, your action, or whatever else you’d like to talk about! You can comment below or weigh in on this Instagram post. I’d love to hear what's on your mind!

With much love,
Erica


P.S. This idea of stopping to pay attention to your feelings so you can keep moving forward, instead of letting damaging emotions or actions continue unchecked, features heavily in Stay Unstuck. It’ll be ready for you next week, and I’m so excited to share it! Stay tuned for more.