For New Years, I decided instead of having one specific resolution, I’d take on 365 of my most limiting fears. This week instead of focusing on anything specific, I did a bit of a loose- ended random fear round up. Maybe because I’m starting small, or maybe because even letting go of the little fears liberating, my “Year of Fears” is already turning out to be unexpectedly fun.
Fear of Sharing Excerpts From The First Draft Of My Book With Others
So I wrote a book… or rather, a sketchy outline and pile of pages that wants to be a book when it grows up. The fairly normal response to me telling people that is, “Can I read it?”, to which my answer is, NOOOOOOOOO. But at some point, I’m fairly sure books are meant to be read… so…
Strategy– Read one of the roughest excerpts at writers’ salon. Result– I stumbled over about 8 paragraphs and didn’t even die… neither did my audience. Cool, that was easy. One fear down, 364 to go.
Day 2- Being a Writer Makes Me Self Absorbed/ Promoting My Work to Build a Writer’s Platform Will Turn Me into an Insufferable Narcissist
A mentor once told me that 50% of being successful as a writer is about building a writer’s platform. Whaaaaa? Noooooo…. Just writing! I thought, I’m not trying to produce blockbusters, I just want to do what I love and maybe have it resonate with a few people. And pay the bills.
Then I realized there’s probably a reason aspiring writers are launching Myname.com sites, and everyone from Chuck Paluhniuk (hero!) to Cheryl Strayed (Wild author) are self-promoting via social media.
Daaaamnit, I might have to make sure I write good things I’m confident enough to share and learn how to do that tweetering thing? Ugh.
Jenny Monet’ shared Jenny Monet’s post, at JennyMonet.com.
Then I took a whole heap of smug selfies, because I can think of nothing more uncomfortably self-absorbed. Basically, I spent the afternoon being as narcissistic as possible and again… no one died.
Result: Eckhart Tolle once said that worrying about our ego is just more ego, and my equally wise best friend once said, “Jenny, you’re a bit of a douche already” (thanks Meg). If I write things I believe in, and am already a bit egotistical, then building my writer’s platform will go just fine.
Day 3– Because I’m a traveler, don’t own a home, a car, or even a couch, people think I’m poor/unsuccessful.
Strategy: Took a Greyhound bus which I figured would make me feel poor. Result: Saved money, listened to this really lovely podcast about networking, enjoyed two hours of free time, and realized this was about the most absurd leftover from childhood fear ever. Left my inner-poor-kid at the mall, so she could go buy a new shirt and look cool at school, and I could get on with being awesome.
Fear that I’m not doing as well as I could be/should be/think I am (in other words, big time Imposter Syndrome)
Strategy: Hung out with a friend from college who has known me for long enough to be a good judge of whether I’m moving forward (13 years) Result: Reminisced and remembered how in my early 20’s I was a disfunctional alcoholic who spent my afternoons nursing my hangovers at my job at Verizon. Considering a decade ago my entire skill set consisted of a talent for bonging beers and yelling song lyrics while standing on furniture, I’m doing pretty damn well. Realized not only I accomplished about a million things I would never have dreamed of back when my goals were ‘find the party, drink the party, sort of remember the party’, but also… I’m happy. For someone who nearly died of depression in my early 20’s, being HAPPY… #1 success EVER.
Since this lovely photo (age 20) I have learned how chairs work and that cigarettes are gross.
Fear of telling people I have ADHD, because it will limit my professional opportunities if people doubt my ability. Fear that every time I get distracted, forget something, or waste even a minute of my workday, that my ADHD actually does limit me.
Strategy: Announced my label on Facebook with this photo..
a compilation of my yearly goal folder my giant bulletin board, and all the other office supplies that have been my key to grad-schooling, and business-running, travel planning, and general adulting for the last decade. also, the Buddha, because he makes a really good office assistant.
Result: Realized that as a result of acknowledging ADHD early on, I’ve actually damn good at time management. Also, found out that I know a bunch of really successful ADHD people hiding their label for the same reasons… ADHD is misunderstood and when channeled and managed makes us awesome at achieving and creating.
The only true downside? I might kill a forest with my exorbitant use of post-it notes (which I will make up for by saving gas on Grey Hound busses?).
Fear that finding consistent and enjoyable remote work to support my travels is a pipe dream, that the only way to have a good job is to be tied to a location/ ‘oh-dear-god-don’t-make-me-work-in-an-office-ever-again-phobia’.
Strategy: Set goals for the next day to push myself a little harder, be a bit more optimistic about freelance options that aren’t mind numbing. Result: Woke up in the morning to an email from an old online boss, offering me work. …I didn’t even email her, I just wrote a To Do list the night before and woke up with a job? Holy hell, my day planner must have been designed by wizards.
Realized that if I can get online work in my sleep from old bosses I hadn’t actually contacted, and that I’ve stumbled into some decent online gigs in the past, I’ll probably kick some serious ass if I actually apply for the good stuff. Mostly I doubt myself because other people don’t believe freelancing works. Cool, more jobs for MEEEEEEEEE.
Day 7….Fear of sharing my fears. This my friends, is what it’s all about.
I have been known to present myself as a ‘don’t give a shit what anyone says, I do what I want, I have it all figured out’ opportunity-landing-globe-hopping-smooth-sailing badass. But maybe I’m really a messy human, who doubts myself, feels uncertain, gets nervous when I dream the big dreams, and makes douche excuses so I don’t have to do things that scare me. Or maybe… I’m both.
Maybe we all are both- swirling stumbling bundles of courageous badass and risk avoiding wimp… bold heroes of our own lives in some moments and superstitious kiddos scared of the dark in others. And maybe…We can both love both parts of ourselves and still choose who we let run the show.
Strategy: This long winded blog. Result: TBD.