Make A Move That Will Move You

As the year kicks off into full swing, my hope was to report that I had an awesome week where everything flowed perfect and effortless, but not only would I be lying to you, I would be lying to myself. This past week was rough and a bit unproductive to say the least. My idea of making moves that will move me involved spending time avoiding the things I needed to do and substituting important tasks with binge-watching Netflix and HBO GO day in and day out.

This time would have been better spent on setting things in motion to bring my online store to life but instead, I found it easier to avoid making moves that would move me. It was a harsh reminder that just because a new year rings in doesn’t mean old habits quickly fade. I’m caught in-between the push and pull between my goals and fears of the unknown and right now my fears are getting the best of me; leading me back to self-sabotaging behaviors I’ve found comfort in.
It dawned on me that this pattern of falling back on old behaviors stems from holding onto negative beliefs about myself. If I’m operating from a place of fear and an idea that I’m not good enough, it’s important to take actions to demystify these fears which have evolved into habits. Every time I have an idea of things that I want to create, I’m immediately gripped by my fears of not knowing where to begin, how to approach it, where to start, and how to decrease the level of stress and anxiety I already feel before anything has happened. In other words, my fear of being defeated keeps me from starting hence why it’s easier to stay in my comfortably crafted discomfort.
To combat this feeling of not being good enough, I needed to gain some perspective of what I was experiencing and tackle the problem head-on. Since fear is the common denominator, I want to share with you an exercise I read about in The Artist’s Way and pitched by Tim Ferris as the best way to overcome the fears that hold you back.

Here are the steps:

  1. Write down your fears.
  2. Define – List the worst possible outcomes of pursuing your fears.
  3. Prevent – What steps can you take in preventing the worst possible outcome?
  4. Repair – What steps can you take if unable to prevent one of those worst possible outcomes?
  5. Write down the benefits of succeeding (or trying) what you’re afraid of.
  6. Write down the cost of inaction (the outcome of not trying).

Tim Ferris refers to this exercise as Fear-Setting and the goal is to help you disarm your fear. By getting specific and clearly identifying your fears, you can then start building the courage to face them.

Facing your fears leads to controlling your fears.

To help put this practice into perspective, here’s a glimpse of my Fear-Setting list.

My Fears

  1. I fear I won’t be successful in my business ventures.
  2. I’m afraid of not being good enough and the negative opinions of others.
  3. I’m afraid of trying and failing.

Define – What are the worst Possible Outcomes?
1. I fear I won’t be successful in my business ventures

  • I will feel like a failure
  • No one will buy my product
  • I will lose money
  • I will have to stay at my job or pursue less creatively fulfilling career options

2. I’m afraid of not being good enough and the negative opinions of others

  • I will get criticized for my work
  • People will judge me, in the same manner, I judge others
  • My work will be referred to as shitty or mediocre

3. Afraid of trying and failing

  • My business won’t get to the point where it’s my full-time career
  • I will have to start over
  • I won’t get past the learning curve
  • I will put in the work and it won’t turn out how I envisioned

Prevent – Steps to prevent the worst possible outcome.

  • Research products consumers want to buy that aligns with my values
  • Draw daily to improve lettering and illustration skills
  • Look up information on running and building a successful business
  • Seek advice from other creatives in my position

Repair – Step to take if unable to prevent worst possible outcomes.

  • Ask for help
  • Lean on God for guidance
  • Look for work alternative that aligns with my creative interests
  • Continue doing the work
  • Use the skills I have acquired in new ways
  • Find a partner to work with

Benefits of succeeding (or just trying) what you’re afraid of.

  • I will feel like I’m capable of doing the things I say I will
  • I will have my own business
  • I will be the first business owner in my family
  • I will learn to push past my fears and have faith in God and myself

Cost of Inaction

  • Regret!
  • Staying stuck in an uncomfortable position in life
  • Spending the rest of my life working for other people
  • Never actualizing my goal of being a business owner due to fear and lack of courage

As a bonus, I took all my fears, resentments, hopes, dreams and worries and placed it in a “God Jar”. I got the idea for this from The Artist’s Way and it’s essentially a container (box, vase, or jar) to place all my thoughts and inhibitions, serving as a visual reminder that “God’s got it” and my role is to simply take action and move forward. After doing this exercise I feel more in control over my fears because I have clearly identified them and set clear, concise actions to move me.

I know change will not and does not happen overnight but I’m confident that consistently performing an action coupled with a consistent application, a renewed frame of mind awaits. The road ahead is not always a straight path but brace yourself for the ride and enjoy the process. As stated from my favorite yogi, “The journey is the reward, the process is the candy”. If you find yourself stuck like I have or unable to push yourself out of your funk, I encourage you this week to take a step back, give this exercise a try, identify your fears, and get specific and honest with yourself. It might just be the move you need to move you.

Till next week fellow curious creatives.

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