So right now I’m feeling the fear and just, well, feeling the fear. I’m a rabbit in the headlights. I have so much to do and don’t know where to start so I keep picking up different tasks, starting them, then panicking that it’s not the most important thing to do and I abandon it and go on to something else. Then I repeat that over the 12-plus hours a day I now seem to be spending on my laptop.
Each day ends with me feeling more in a hole than I was in the day before. And I’m annoyed with myself because after Monday’s big scary hospital appointment, I should have things in perspective. Why does my balanced perspective only last for an hour or two? Why is my default state of mind low-grade panic?
Maybe I’m just tired.
I’m not doing my ‘I can cope with everything’ affirmations because ‘I’m too busy!’ – which I’m pretty sure is a sign that I need to be doing them. I’m not thinking clearly or positively about anything. I haven’t washed my hair in almost a week.
This is the year I wanted to be bold, try new things, and get out of my comfort zone. I’m doing all those things but it’s quite overwhelming.
Last night I was up at 1am writing To Do lists. I got to six pages.
In between doing this blog (which I love), keeping some semblance of freelance writing going and starting a new project with a friend, I do have a lot on but the problem is not HOW MUCH I have to do but the FEAR about what I have to do. The fear that I won’t get it all done, the fear that I’ll mess it up, the fear that I’ll be a failure. All that fear is exhausting, debilitating and paralysing.
In Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, Susan Jeffers talks about living in a position of ‘Power’ OR ‘Pain.’
Power is when you take responsibility, make decisions, take action and move briskly through life knowing that even if things don’t work out ‘You’ll handle it.’
Pain, on the other hand, is when
- Focus on the No-Win Model (i.e. you imagine F*cking up)
- Listen to your mind drive you crazy
- Paralyse yourself with anxiety as you try to predict the future
Obviously, I’m in the pain state right now.
So what to do about it? Susan Jeffers reckons step one is to ‘Just begin.’
The problem is that I don’t know what to begin with – there’s too much and I keep worrying that I’m working on the wrong thing.
Which is where her idea that there’s no such thing as a mistake comes in.
Jeffers says that even the best baseball players miss 6 out of 10 shots, and that scientists fail hundreds of time before having a breakthrough. She says we have to stop fearing mistakes:
‘You are not going to succeed in everything you attempt in life. That’s guaranteed. In fact, the more you do in life, the more chance there is NOT to succeed in some things. Look at how rich your life can be, however, from your many adventures. Win or lose, you just keep winning!’
She also says to lighten up about it all.
‘We live in a world where most people take themselves and their decisions very seriously. I have news for you. Nothing is that important. Honestly! If as a result of a decision you make, you lose some money, no problem – you learn to deal with losing money. If you lose a lover, no problem – you find another one….’
She says to put (yet more) post-its around you saying ‘IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER’. They go next to the ‘SO WHAT! I’LL HANDLE IT!’ Post-its, which keep falling off my wall by my desk.
Well, I don’t think I’m handling it very well at the moment – and I certainly don’t feel like a winner – but like Susan says, life is definitely richer than it was a couple of months ago.
Opening my laptop this morning, these are the first four things on my To-Do List
– Tweet and Email Chris Evans?!
– Arrange Sky dive
– Horror movie?
– Arrange stand-up
Boring it ain’t. So I guess I’ll keep on Feeling the Fear, saying yes to the universe and trying to get my way through the most random to-do list on the planet…. Must add ‘wash my hair’ to it though…Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action
PS – I have yet to explain the fact that Lunch with Chris Evans is on my list of scary things. It is not because I find Chris Evans scary – I don’t. I think he’s brilliant. This summer I read both his autobiographies and I loved them. I thought he was clever and funny and his boundless optimism and can-do attitude was a tonic. The opposite to me in every single way. When I was reading I kept thinking I’d love to meet him. A friend told me I should just tweet or email him and ask but I said, don’t be silly, I’d never do that… but there you go, it’s now on my list and declared to the world. Will keep you posted.