Category Archives: Motivation

Feeling the Fear

This post has taken me ages to write… I wrote it and deleted it twice before decided just to publish it as it is… I don’t know why I felt the need to start by saying this, but I did. So…

Why write this post?

Well, If you follow me on twitter, you’ll have seen these tweets this morning:

Tweets

I said I would explain more so here it is. I struggled with where to start at first, because I want to write a good blog post. Equally, I want to be totally honest about things. So, I’ve decided to start with the Fear. Hence the title.

The Fear

The Fear is the name I used to give to that terrible feeling of dread the morning after a heavy night when I’d wonder ‘did I do something wrong? Say something to upset someone? Reveal a secret I shouldn’t have?’ I’d call a friend in the morning who would usually reassure me that I’d been just fine and had nothing to worry about.  I don’t really drink these days – certainly not enough to wake up with such a heavy head – so I don’t have that hangover induced anxiety any more but lately, I’ve still been feeling the Fear.

It built up slowly over the past few months. I’m not sure what started it but it reached a peak last week and I really had to take a step back to try and deal with it. I’m feeling much better about things now but I thought perhaps if I shared my story, then I might find I’m not the only one.

Feeling like a fraud

Now, I know I’m not the only one to have this feeling… It comes from not being totally confident in something, or feeling that everyone else is better so why should anyone listen to me? Of course, this has impacted on my writing. I’ve stuck to writing things I am confident about and studiously avoided mentioning anything that might ‘expose’ me. For example, I have written more of my novel. I have also deleted a lot of what I’ve written because I wasn’t happy with it. This means my word count is not much more than it was even though I have written more. I haven’t shared my word count for a while because this would ‘expose’ me. It’s around 14,000 in case you’re wondering. No idea how many words I’ve deleted. I do feel slightly exposed now but it’s not as bad as I thought it would feel for putting it out there.

If you also follow me on twitter as @mushroomsmum, you may remember that a couple of months ago I mentioned that I would soon be launching an e-coaching package. I said to look out for more information in July. Then nothing. Well, this comes back to the whole feeling like a fraud thing. I am still working with existing clients and have been putting together a package for e-coaching but something was holding me back. The Fear, again. Despite feedback from mini trials and existing and previous clients, I was afraid that I would fail. I’ve not coached by email before, what if it doesn’t work? What if the package isn’t good enough? What if…? I hadn’t even stopped to think about the positive ‘what ifs?’ (What if it’s just what someone needs? What if it works really well?). I just wanted to run an hide from it and I felt that if I couldn’t get myself out of this funk, how could I say I was any good at helping anyone else?

Busy being busy

In the meantime, I’ve been busy. I do tend to spread myself a little thin I’m aware of this and it’s something I keep coming back to even though I am much more aware of this tendency now that I used to be. I start out with one project, then have an idea for another, and another. Then I try to start them all at once. I plan what needs to be done and organise my time but then… Well, life ‘gets in the way’ and suddenly I’ve got a few days work to catch up on in one evening.

As well as my work, my charity work, my blogs and other creative projects, I am also taking quite a big (and scary/stressful) step in my personal life at the moment, which is also taking up resources (time, financial and emotional). Then in the background I have been plugging away at the novel bit by bit, as and when I can (I’ve manged to let go of my expectation of writing it every day, it just wasn’t working for me). I do feel a little frustrated that I can’t just sit and write for hours once I get into it but I know that very few people are in a position to do that so I’m sure I’m not alone.

I know that when I am this busy I am rarely at my best. I’m watching the clock all the time and I panic when I don’t finish what I’m doing in the time I’ve allocated for it. This is not conducive to creativity and it feeds the Fear.

The signs

The biggest sign that I needed to do something to improve this situation is a feeling I had that started small and grew bigger. It started just as the feeling that something wasn’t ‘quite right,’ and grew into a heavy weight that kept me down.

The signs telling me what I needed to do were all over the place but I had blinkers on.

Over at Mothering Mushroom, brands were starting to contact me saying they liked what they saw and wanted to work with me. People I had spent a small amount of time working with (not necessarily coaching) told me that they had gone away feeling much better about things. I put a request out for feedback from coaching clients and got some lovely responses back. Still, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Then, something shifted. I mentioned my feelings to my sister, who said (something like, apologies if I am misquoting you!):

‘This is just a moment in time. Sure, you feel like this now but this time next year you’ll have forgotten all about it. In fact, why not just forget it now?’

And with that, it felt lighter. Perhaps I should have shared the feeling sooner instead of letting it eat me up. Although I had heard these words before, and have even said  similar to clients I work with, I guess hearing it from someone else helped me to see it from their perspective and therefore remove myself from it and understand that this too, would pass… And gradually, I have been putting it behind me.

And then, today, I read some tweets – all were about living your dreams, doing what matters and asking yourself what’s important to help achieve a more balanced life… These sorts of messages often appear in my timeline as it’s a reflection of the people I follow but today I paid closer attention. These were all new followers, and their messages seemed to ‘jump out’ at me. This evening, after my son went to sleep, I sat down and thought about my dreams, what matters to me and what I am good at. I am a good coach. I am also a good writer. I still continue to doubt myself because I know I can always be better. But that’s ok, I feel that’s a good awareness to have so long as I don’t let it consume me. It ensures that I will make an effort to keep learning, and keep getting better. In the meantime, I’m just going to get on with it and hope that I can continue to make a positive difference with my words, which I am reminded, is the whole point of it – the writing,  the coaching… Life: Writing. People. Poetry. For me, this sums up what matters.

So what’s next?

Well, I’ve decided to ‘ feel the Fear and do it anyway’! I am just sorting out the details now and I will be launching my Moving Forwards e-coaching package next month. If you think you’d like to work with me, do get in touch for more information.

If you have done anything that’s big and scary recently, I’d love to hear how your overcame your fear to get on and do it. If you’re thinking of doing something scary, I’d love to hear about that too!

I am not… Am I…?

(conclusion of the I am not… series)

“So what was that short ‘I am not’ series all about?” I hear you ask.

“So you’re not a photographer, you’re not a chef and you’re not an artist – so what? What’s the point you’re making here?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. The point was that, although I am not any of these things, that doesn’t mean I can’t give it a go if the fancy takes me. Also, having ‘given something a go,’ I might find I really enjoy it, and want to get better at it. For example, if I decided I wanted to be a professional photographer, I could go and take a course and study and practice until my photos were not just ‘alright,’ but outstanding, award-winning…  You get the picture (no pun intended). In order to get there though, I would need to want it enough.

Sometimes, a skill like photography, or cooking, is a natural talent. Those lucky enough to have been blessed can nuture this talent, or not, depending on their desire.

A while ago, I would not have called myself a writer. My main income did not come from writing (I have since made some progress here), and I have never had any formal training. However, writing for me is not a choice, it’s a calling. I always have, and always will write, and read about writing and write about writing and hopefully continue to improve over time.

So my point is… All the things we are not, are because we choose not to be. We can all do whatever it is we want if we want it enough.

I am a writer. What about you…?

‘When a door closes…

‘When a door closes, a window opens.’ So the saying goes. And I agree. It’s fair to say that, in my life at least, as one opportunity is missed another will present itself. I’m down with that and, these days, I waste less time staring at the door that just slammed in my face and more time checking what direction the breeze is coming from to see if I can locate the open window.

Today, as I consider one of these windows, I am starting to realise what a great analogy this saying is…  Think about it, have you ever tried to climb in through an open window? I have. It’s hard work. It takes much longer to get in through the window that it does through an open door. You need to consider the size and shape of the window, your own size and shape, judge whether you will actually fit, hope the neighbours recognise you and know that you forgot your keys and are not trying to break in… take a deep breath, and be prepared to get a few bruises on the way.  Doesn’t sound much like fun, does it?

Well, you'd need a ladder (or at least a leg up) for this one...

But you know what? It kind of is. Negotiating the challenges and overcoming them, to find yourself still in one piece, on the inside, instead of standing outside in the cold, is kind of rewarding. Although walking through the door is preferable (let’s face it, I’ll take the easy option if it’s available), when I’ve climbed in through the window, It’s given me a real sense of achievement and made me really appreciate the kind of things I might otherwise take for granted (like being warm and dry).

When I just walk through the door, it barely registers.

Running

I’m getting back into running again.  It’s been a while; I barely did any exercise over the Christmas break… Actually, I may as well be honest and say I barely did anything resembling exercise for all of December.  I’m sure I’m not the only one… 

So, early (well, early-ish) on the first Sunday of this year, I ran around Victoria Park for the first time in over a month.  I started off at a fairly reasonable pace and to begin with, it was fun.  Then, after a relatively short time (ok, about five minutes), I got tired, I started to think about how slow I was going, how unfit I had become, and how long it was going to take me to get all the way around the park.  That unhelpful voice in my head was loud and clear – I wouldn’t be able to do it.  So I gave up.

No, I’m joking.  I don’t give up that easily.  I just kept going.  I didn’t have any music to focus on, so I just told myself, over and over, ‘just a little further, just a little further, just a little further…’  I got into a rhythm and started to enjoy it.  The frost on the ground, the cold wind on my face, as I started to run faster, feeling my muscles tightening as I ran, all of that.  By the time I got back to where I’d started, I didn’t want to stop! 

Sometimes I run in the gym, but I always prefer to be outside when I can, and since that first run, I have been going at least twice a week.  I still can’t run that much further, or that much faster… yet… But for me, that’s not the point.  It’s not about how fast I can run, or how quickly I can get to my destination.  The most important thing is just that I keep moving, and enjoy the moment while I’m in it. 

Obviously, this is not me. Just thought it would be nice to have a pic here...