Do you have a dream or goal, but you just can’t get yourself to pursue it? Every time you think about working on it, you find tons of reasons to put it off, or tell yourself you just can’t do it.
In short, you sabotage your dream in spite of your passion for it. It’s a horrible feeling: you’re inspired to do something but too afraid to actually do it.
I’ve been there. In 2011, I suddenly had a desire to write a book to help people overcome negative thinking. As I wove together my personal stories, techniques, and exercises, I hit more than a few blocks. Fortunately, I was able to complete a first draft with support from other authors and an energy therapist.
After an editor and some other readers suggested major changes to my first draft, fear almost sabotaged my dream by whispering, What if the changes ruin it? How could I possibly do that much rewriting? Would it ever be “good enough?” What will happen when I share so many personal details about me and my family?
Recently, I ran across a journal entry from that time in 2015. My writing had come to a halt and I was seeking a way forward.
W.H. Murray wrote, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”
Providence moved when I found four questions that freed me up to pursue my dream (the questions may be from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield). Here are the answers I wrote to those questions.
What painful ideas are keeping me from finishing my book?
– I’ll miss out on lots of fun
– I hate the idea of marketing after I finish
– It might not be good enough
– I dread the publishing process
What pleasure can be gained from finishing it?
– Doing what I’m probably here for: teaching kindness and love
– Finding out that the ideas I’ve presented have helped others
– Holding it in my hands, beautiful and complete!
– Knowing that I accomplished this monumental task
What will it cost me if I do not do this?
– I’ll feel embarassed because a lot of people know about it
– I would let down the part of me that’s inspiring me to do this
– Ego would have a victory
– I would feel self-hatred and shame
– I would continue to be jealous of other successful authors
Why is completing my book so important?
– I want others to be able to use the many concepts, tools, and actions I’ve learned so they can be free of worry/fear, and be more loving, happy, and content
– It shares who I am with readers so they can see my difficult times and be inspired to grow past theirs
– It is a useful resource-book–a compendium of many helpful tools
– I want to show myself that I can do this really challenging thing
The answers to these questions proved to be very powerful motivators. Within a year, I had completed chapters 5-7, and by 2017 I had an advance copy ready for reviewers. Then in February 2018, I released the completed book,
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the great reviews and the national award “50 Ways to Worry Less Now” won. It just goes to show that fear can NOT sabotage our dreams when we have enough tools to break through it!
For specific tools to overcome negativity and worry, check out my book “50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection.”
Gigi Langer is the former “Queen of Worry” who holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a popular speaker who has helped thousands of people improve their lives at home and work. Gigi hasn’t had a drug or drink for over 30 years, and lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.