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:
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 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 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!