“I don’t have time”
“I don’t have things to say”
“I don’t speak, write or edit well”
“The work is just not flowing”
“Did I mention I don’t have time?”
If these messages sound familiar chances are, like me, they often swirl so darn fast in your head that you almost don’t even take the time to notice them..let alone question them. What you do end up noticing though is that your talk is not getting written, your social media posts aren’t going out, the newsletters sit in draft form, and that creative thing that you say is your most important work is sitting there unfinished. And then you end up feeling bad and not good enough and like you don’t even want to try…and the cycle continues. Anyone relate?
The thing that you and I already know is that underneath the excuses are the fears …and underneath the fears are the old stories. Stories usually rooted in childhood or earlier experiences that limit your sense of self and what you’re capable of. Stories that are 100% not true.
In other words:
Artwork by @bymariandrew
So here’s what to do when the excuses come:
Call them what they are: Stop worrying about time or your skills or whatever other excuses seem to be in the way of putting yourself out in the world. Own that there is part of you that wants to be visible. And part of you that wants to hide. And if you don’t name that part that wants to hide as fear..it will always win. Fears that remain unconscious always do. Here are the top three fears that come up for my clients (and me too): fear of being seen (aka I don’t want people to know all of me), fear of rejection (aka I want people to like me or at least not dislike me), fear of not being good enough (aka I don’t think I have what it takes). The small practice of regularly naming these fears underneath the excuses can loosen their grip.
Give the fear a story: Was it that thing that happened to you at age 2,10 or 22? No matter how big or small many of us spend our whole lives building structures around these old hurts:
“These stories we tell about ourselves – they’re almost like our infrastructure, like railroads or highways. We can build them almost any way we want to. But once they’re in place, this whole inner landscape grows up around them. So the point is to be careful about how you tell your story, or at least conscious of it. Because once you’ve told it, once you’ve built the highway, its just very hard to move it.” – Michael Lewis
So name the story… and discover the often very old and no longer relevant foundations your current fear is built on. These stories, just like the fears born out of them, have less power when you bring them back into your awareness.
Welcome, welcome, welcome it all: ‘If you experience fear when you pursue something you want it doesn’t mean that you’re not meant to have it. Fear is just a part of upleveling and expansion.’ (-Joanna Lindenbalm) What if instead of a sign you’re doing something wrong or will never have what you want … you welcomed fear as a sign that you are doing something very right?
Oh and remember the baby steps! Your usual way of being is not going to be down with big changes after a lifetime of hiding. Send one email. Make one post. Write the first paragraph. Take baby steps. And if you’re not taking them …take baby steps to the baby steps. Life long fears take time and small consistent effort to undo.