Everyone has good days and bad days. That’s just a part of human nature.
When you are striving to create a singular life experience there can be some unique struggles along the way. That’s because going against the grain and doing things that are not part of the societal norm tend to evoke fear.
The fear is just part of the overall fear-based society you and I occupy. Yes, I write about this a lot because it is my personal belief that the more we acknowledge the fear-based nature of society the more it can be combatted and replaced.
Because of this nature, though, when someone takes steps that are outside of the expected norm people tend to react viscerally.
Are you sure this is a good idea? Do you know how many new-business ventures fail? You recognize that very few artists make living salaries, right? Shouldn’t you stop kidding yourself and get a real job?
This can be very disheartening when it comes from friends and loved ones. But it can be almost paralyzing when it comes from within yourself.
I have been very fortunate. My wife fully supports my efforts to make my living as a writer. Many of my friends have been supportive, or at the very least never thrown any of the above warnings or good-natured cautions my way.
Honestly, only some of my family is fully aware of my current actions and overall employment status.
The biggest naysayer, the largest doubter in my life, unfortunately, is ME. So I need to address this because paralyzing myself with my own doubt doesn’t serve me or anyone.
Acknowledging the doubt
First, I need to acknowledge that I am having these doubts. It’s all too easy to be doubtful but actually disguise it. How? By not being fully aware of it and shunting it into the background noise of my subconscious.
Second, after I am done acknowledging it, I think I need to figure out why. Why am I feeling these doubts? Where is this coming from, and what can I do with it?
Well, I know that part of why I am feeling this doubt is because I am standing against the standard way of living. I am not working a 9–5 job, and I am taking a chance to write full time and see how that can earn me a living. Because this is not “the norm” I am afraid of letting people down.
Letting who down? My wife, my family, my friends. The people I most care about. What if in taking this chance to write full time I completely screw it up and get nowhere? What if I cannot make my living this way?
Ok, what this boils down to is fear. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of success. When all is said and done, though, I KNOW that the real fear is abandonment and isolation. The fear that I screw this up so badly that nobody wants anything more to do with me, and I am cast out and left adrift in the world.
Could that happen? Hey, anything is possible — but realistically, no. I am very, very fortunate that my support system will provide me with a place to land. They may be displeased with me, and help me begrudgingly, but I am reasonably certain I won’t be left utterly on my own, no matter what.
Addressing the doubt
Second, I need to address these doubts. Now that I have acknowledged them and know what they are, I need to take them on.
Part of the problem is that when the doubt comes up, it tends to be sneaky as all get-out. Like a thief in Dungeons and Dragons, the sneak-attack is one of doubt’s attributes. So doubt works its way into your subconscious, where it whispers in your ear so softly that you don’t hear it, but feel it, and still know it’s there — like your heartbeat in your eardrums.
Mindfulness helps you to be aware of what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling. It’s far too easy to get caught up in a day-to-day pattern and lose sight of the now. When that happens you may find that doubt has crept into your subconscious and is telling you lies and half-truths.
Doubt is a product of fear. With doubt, lack and scarcity are brought to the forefront and emphasized. However, if you are working to be mindful you will be better able to put yourself in the now and see that the lack and scarcity are largely artificial and superficial, and can be overcome.
How do I address the doubt? Confront it. Really look that doubt right in the face and confront it.
I am a writer…but my doubt says I am just kidding myself. Why? Because if I really were I writer I would be more successful, making a real living off of my work already. Doubt says this is taking too long, I am a fool, and I should give up already and accept my inability to earn my living as a writer.
That’s pretty to the point. So what do I do with it?
Confronting the doubt
The time has come to choose my weapons, and face this doubt head-on. Running from it will not make it go away, and cowering from it will only allow it to grow stronger.
Am I just kidding myself? This is a question asked by my skeptical, doubtful side. Why? Because when I get close to realizing this or any other dream in any way, I tend to sabotage myself. A way gets found by me to not complete the goal.
Most of my best examples of this come from rather abstract situations. Like after college I never gave total energy to choosing to pursue a career as a radio DJ or to work in theatre professionally. Perhaps my current situation really IS my best example of this, though.
I currently am not working a regular job either full-time or part-time. I thought I was really good at my last job, but in the last couple of months errors began to increasingly crop up, and nothing I did to fix it worked. So they let me go.
I could have seen this as a sign of failure. Instead, I saw it as a different sign. What if I was making those mistakes because this was not the thing I most desire to do with my life? I had discovered Medium.com, and the potential to make more money writing, which is my desired profession. So since I had the opportunity to do so, I am.
I am deeply fortunate that I have an encouraging and understanding wife, and that I have the means to work on this. I desire to keep at this because I really believe that this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life. Yes, I have doubts, but I am working daily to overcome them.
Being proactive in action
I am about to take my annual vacation. Every summer I go away to participate in a massive medieval reenactment war. This is my chance to refresh myself and re-energize.
Over the years, while maintaining my own blog, I have been able to pre-write and pre-post for the days I would be offline. This is a tad more difficult when you post twice a day, every weekday — but doable.
I have been working extra hard over the past week-and-a-half to make sure I have at least 1 blog per day to post, even while on vacation. Why? Because I am building momentum, and to really prove myself I am not going to let that fall away while I am mostly offline.
Am I kidding myself that I can be a full-time, professional writer? No. Because I AM doing it. What I need to do is be more patient, consider what success I have achieved thus far, and stop fretting about potential failure or success when it comes to making money.
I know this can be done, I know that I can do it. Maybe I have a lot of doubt — but I have even more hope and am working on faith to keep at it. No stopping, no going back, this is happening now. This time I will not sabotage myself.
Thanks for taking this crazy trip with me, and reading my words. I hope that if you have similar struggles you take some comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Even when I have my doubts, I know that you and I can totally make this happen.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and like me, whatever you choose for yourself you’re not kidding yourself, either.