I knew I wanted to do a blog post but nothing was jumping out at me. (I also stubbornly refused to look at the list of possible topics I had written months ago- go figure!) Instead I sent out a tweet about staring at a blank page. I very quickly got a reply from @systematizeme. “Blank page… many fear a blank mind when preparing to speak… I think you are off to a great post” and of course that got me thinking. (Thank You Latosha!) What is it that stops us from speaking, writing, and sometimes even thinking what’s in our hearts or on our minds? Are we really blocked or are we just too scared to express ourselves?
Yesterday, I did a presentation for a group of women financial advisors. I briefly mentioned how shy I was as a child and after the presentation; someone asked me how I went through that transformation. I told her the facts which I’ve described in previous posts, but there’s another part to the story. There was a reason that I didn’t speak up or out for so many years of my life. What was it? I think I felt that what I had to say would not be accepted, appreciated or even heard. Most of the other members of my family are very outgoing and talk A LOT! I often used to joke that I was shy because there was never a chance for me to get a word in edgewise. But I think it was more than that. I love my family but a lot of what they like to do is criticize and/ or judge other people. As a child, I learned early on to fear how my words or actions might be received so I chose to become as invisible as possible and not to use many words.
Many of us still choose not to speak, think or act because we fear what other people will say or think about us. (My dear friend Amy Ferris and I have had countless discussions about this.) I know that as I stared at my blank page my very active lizard brain was telling me that nobody wants to read what I have to say. I’m sure I felt added pressure because my presentation yesterday was extremely well received and therefore I felt that I had to be BRILLIANT just in case the folks who heard me speak read my blog. (Can't have them thinking that that 90 minute presentation I gave was a fluke!) I’m also feeling pressure because I received the contract for my book yesterday. Once I sign that puppy, I’ll have 150 days to write. What if I can’t do it? Aaaggh! But I did manage to write this post.
What got me unstuck? I acted on the advice I give my clients around fear. When we focus only on what people are going to think of us, of course we become wracked with fear.
Here’s what worked for me.
- The tweet response I got through reaching out for help reminded me that the temporary setback (writer’s block) that I was facing is something many people face on a daily basis in more serious situations
- That got me in touch with my heart and my passion which is to help and give to those who struggle with being heard which made my fear subside.
- Once I got in touch with my passion and my fear subsided, I was able to OWN my authentic self; release myself from the need to be perfect and write what was sitting on my chest.
Try this formula the next time you feel stuck.
- Reach out for help or support. – it doesn’t have to be through twitter but sometimes just the act of reaching out gets you off that self-flagellation hamster wheel.
- Focus on what you have to give people, how you want to help people and the fear will subside.
- Let the knowledge of your passion for giving teach you to OWN and love yourself and accept that you are not perfect and that there may be people who do not think the same way as you; agree with you or even like you. But that doesn’t mean those people get to stop you from expressing yourself.
Now… I hope this works as I tackle writing my book! Would love to hear your thoughts and successes!