I have had, for the past several months, an incredible safety net.
In addition to my writing — which I have been doing full-time for more than a year — I picked up a steady freelance contract gig.
The gig itself primarily involved content writing for the company’s website, brochures, blogs, and various other materials. But between the pandemic and staff changes, it has evolved into marketing, general website maintenance, and more recently admin work.
The money is always appreciated. While I remain a contractor (despite an official title, business cards, and an office with my name on a plaque beside the door) this gig has offered a lot of stability.
Things are about to shift, however, because as a result of COVID-19 the business is about to make a drastic change. Without getting into details — I am not yet certain just what that change will mean for me.
The thing is — this is not what I desire to be doing with my life. This is not my path. It has honed my business writing skills, and it’s provided me with more experience in website maintenance and overall design. I’ve even gotten a hell of a lot better with WordPress — and applied these skills to improvements of my domains. It has been a step on my overall path.
Yet more than that — it’s been a safety net. But the net may be withdrawn soon.
Making more of my life plans
I have been extremely fortunate during these uncertain times to be employed. The gig may not have ever been full-time, but it helped to keep us afloat through the pandemic. I have learned many things — both practical towards my path and with the industry I’ve found myself contracted to.
But with the uncertainty now moving from everything surrounding the world during and after COVID-19 to my freelance gig, the time to shift my focus is at hand.
I believe that my path in life is to be a writer and teacher. While not a formal classroom-type of teacher, I believe that I teach people about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and overall self-help matters via my non-fiction work.
At the same time, it is my hope and intent that the fiction I write provides a distraction, entertainment, and an opening of the creative centers in your mind.
Shifting to give more focus to my path, this brings me to some questions.
Of the things I am doing, what is in my control?
How much time I spend on writing and editing my work every day is in my control. Whether it’s an article such as this, a novel, or a new project — I get to choose how much or how little time to devote to it.
When it comes to how I spend my time that’s mine to control. Sure, I might spend 6 hours on the contract gig — from home or at the office — but that means there are about twelve waking hours I can find time within for my writing works.
Thus, I have control of how I use my time for writing, goofing off, working, and so on. Practicing mindfulness lets me be conscious of my thoughts, feelings, and actions — and that awareness gives me influence and control over my headspace.
Ultimately, that lets me identify what is in my control and how I can work with that.
Of the things I am doing, what is NOT in my control?
Overall, I cannot control how many people see and buy my books. Additionally, I can’t control how many people open up my blog posts — and if they do, whether they take the time to read, merely skim, or decide to just move on without doing anything further.
There are ways to advertise, market, promote, and develop my “brand” so that I can gain more people to experience my work. The problem of identifying, choosing, employing, and otherwise using them is a whole other animal, Then, even if I do, it still depends on you or other people engaging with my work and reading through this post of buying my books.
All of that is not within my control.
A quote I saved on Pinterest by Socrates offers this useful insight:
“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”
Along this line — I can’t make anyone do anything — I can only show them options. I can share this blog, write my books, record my podcast — but I have no control over whether you will decide to read or listen.
What options do I have that I am not utilizing?
This is the one that tends to present the biggest challenge for me. In addition to the things I am and am not doing, there are some more things available.
For example, there are options available for publicity, marketing, coaching, and whatnot that I have not looked as closely at as I could. To some degree, this is due to not wanting to spend a lot of money on the process — but to another, it comes down to my old nemesis: Fear.
Fear is currently a planet-eating dragon roaring down on everyone. All you have to do is look at the present United States political situation. Both sides are telling you that if you don’t support them the other will ruin your way of life and destroy the country. Without getting into this further, that kind of ever-present fear will impact the least empathic among us.
These fears are intangible — as most fears nowadays are. Fear of the fear is likely much worse than the actual impact of the happening of the thing you fear.
In other words — my fear that I will ultimately be rejected and abandoned is more powerful than the probability of being rejected and subsequently abandoned. Because I am ultimately a good person striving to make my way in the world and impact it positively, I probably won’t be abandoned if rejected.
But fear is POWERFUL. It can and will stop you in your tracks if you let it.
Intangible fear is not so much irrational as it is illogical.
To overcome fear you need to apply logic and reason. Mindfulness, which makes you aware and conscious of your present headspace/mindset/psyche is the best way to do this.
Mindfulness is dependent on you being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions — but since those are the only things over which you have true control it’s highly empowering.
When you apply mindfulness to cut through the fear, you can employ more logic and reason overall. That will let you then overcome it.
As FDR famously said,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
The truth of this statement is powerful. Because fear in and of itself tends to be much scarier than what you are afraid of.
That’s been my experience. Even when the worst things have happened any fear of them happening tended to be much, much worse.
That’s not to say you should ignore intangible fear altogether. It can be a message to direct your attention to the collective consciousness and world happenings. But stop and apply logic rather than emotion to the fear and see how you can work with it instead of reacting to it.
I, like you, don’t know what’s coming. But in the meantime, there is lots of life to be lived. Every day you have choices and decisions before you. Because change is constant, today is not yesterday nor will it be tomorrow.
Rather than be afraid of that, I am choosing to look for potential, possibility, and ways and means to make the most of it. We all have one shot striding this planet in our meat-suits — shouldn’t that experience be worthwhile?
Know that you are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done our thoughts, feelings, and actions matter, as does your power to live well and overcome fear.