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Monday, January 16, 2012

Overcoming the fear of fixing our problems



Rolling along happily, it always hits from out of nowhere. It may be an email, it may be those recent book reviews I have for book #2 or it could just be the offhand comment of a well meaning person:

Is fear holding you back on your life journey?

"You don't need to have a book signing because I'm not sure if anyone normal wants your book."
"You are wasting your time releasing a book that Barnes and Noble or Books a Million won't stock on their shelves. Why would you waste your life like that?"
 "You write to much about ...

"You need to...  you... you... you... you...."

I think the problem here is "you" or in my case "me." When we focus on ourselves and all of the things we may or may not do right or when we focus on trying to anticipate how we will be perceived by others it is easy to become paralyzed.

Paralyzed with Irrational Fear

I've had some laptop RAM sitting on my desk for two weeks out of a defunct computer that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt would speed up my Lenovo laptop. I watched the video on the Lenovo site about how to take off the part of the cover where the RAM was housed. I knew I could do it and yet, I didn't. (Don't try this at home, I have taken apart many computers and knew I could do it, it was fear, not lack of expertise holding me back.)

But this morning, I took the laptop. turned it over, loosened the screws and did it. I am now kicking along with 4GB of fully functioning RAM instead of the 1GB it was seeing earlier (I actually had 2GB but one of the sticks had an issue.)

That is like life. We're afraid to fix what is broken EVEN when we know how because we are holding ourselves back. We are afraid of the fix.

We never get over it we just work through fear

Now, I sit with the initial reviews of Common Core Collaborative Writing in the Cloud and I have this same fear of incompetence welling up in my throat like the sickening feeling of when I've really overeaten past the point of comfort.

But really, this feeling is a result of over --
over-thinking
over-anticipating and in some ways
over-fearing.

Such overs will send me (and you) "over the top" and we'll do nothing.

What is your fear?

Every one of us on this planet, I am convinced, is plagued by an insecurity of some sort. You might be telling yourself that you're not able to write, or act, or follow that dream of yours. If you want till you think you're ready, you'll never start.

None of us are perfect. The more perfect you think you are, the more wrong you are.

As I get older and get to know many amazing very successful people, I'm finding that they are people just like me, trying to make their way and do their best.

Some of you today are thinking about trying something new: blogging, tweeting, speaking etc. and you're thinking you should wait until you have something more interesting to say or know more.

I started blogging when I knew nothing. I knew nothing about blogging and nothing about wikis but my very first post still is one of my most popular. I think that beginners have great value. (see the Power of a Newbie)

Who you are
So, let me tell you about you.

  • You are made for a purpose. 
  • You are very very good at some things.
  • You stink at doing some things.

Kip was talking last night on our date night about his worst job experience and put it like this:

"I spent seven years of my life trying to make my job have a 'Kip sized hole' in it and that job wasn't made for me. It wasn't a good environment, the people didn't like me, and it wasn't bringing out the best of my skillset. I love my job now and am succeeding because this job has a 'Kip sized hole' in it - it lets me use my strengths and mitigates my weaknesses and I'm very happy. It is a perfect fit."

  • Are you trying to make your job have a _______ (Insert your name) sized hole when it never will?

Just because that job doesn't suit you doesn't mean you are a bad person or a failure at life. You have just found a job that is perfectly NOT for you. You know what you don't want to do.

  • It isn't whether we know how to fix something it is whether we are willing to take the steps we know we need to take to fix it.

Often it isn't that mysterious fix, it is a willingness to do what we know needs to be done. At the risk of being Nike-corny - just "do it" and get over yourself. No one is waiting around wishing you'd do that one thing (unless it is your spouse) but there are many people who wish you'd fix that problem that you are capable of fixing. A bad fit for you will make those you influence miserable too.

  • You can only control yourself. 
  • You cannot control others. 
  • You can't do everything but you can do something. 
  • Doing nothing is a decision to do something... nothing.

OK, so I'm going to write and work on my 2011 taxes. I admit that I am afraid. This is the same feeling I got every time I sat down to write Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds (out in a few weeks.) I'm scared witless about the release of that book. It is important to me and my very life, heart, and soul is in that book. Will anyone care?

Realize that people who have done great things have all felt such feelings of insecurity and don't let insecurity stop you from moving forward. Put habits into your life that help you move in the direction you'd like your life to go.

Work hard at work worth doing and never mistake busy-ness for taking care of business. Taking care of business means you're focusing on the most important things, busy-ness just means you're full of busy work.

Focus. Move ahead. Move past your fear. You are far greater a person than you think you are. And if you think you're great, maybe you should take a minute to go walk through the graveyard among the great leaders of the past. You have work to do, keep perspective and maybe you can achieve the purpose for which you were put upon the earth.

Remember your noble calling, whatever it may be. But it certainly isn't to wallow in self pity whining about why you can't fix that problem that you know how to fix. Get busy. It may just be the best thing you've ever done.


Photo Credit: Big Stock, Conquer Your Fear
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