Carol Collett

Life as I know it

Archive for the tag “Fear”

Neil Gaiman and a Year of Mistakes

So, I’m participating in a life coaching program called Creative Alchemy Passion Plan by Kathy Kawalec, who is, oddly enough, a dog trainer. She participates in open level sheepdog trials with her border collies.

Today, one of the members of the group posted a quote attributed to Neil Gaiman. I found his original post here.

The part of this post that my fellow creative alchemy student mentioned is this:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
This works in so perfectly with my current daily devotional subject of fear. The specific devotional is a 14 day plan on Bible.com called Fear is a lie. In today’s reading the writer argues that fear is a learned response in some cases, therefore can be unlearned. The writer says the first step in unlearning fear is to identify individual fears.
Failure, you could say mistakes, topped my list. But Mr. Gaiman’s reading gives another way to think of failure. As, well, not failure. But a mistake. A learning tool. Something useful. Another way to approach the task at hand. Or not approach it. Maybe the mistake will lead to a wonderful discovery.
My favorite line in Mr. Gaiman’s quote above is this: “Whatever it is you’re scare of doing, Do it.” 
Does fear inhibit you in pursuit of your dreams? What techniques do you use to just do it afraid? How do you break the hold when you feel fear has you in its grip?
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Confessions of a Wannabe

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer. For some periods of my life I actively pursued that dream. But, man oh man, fear is a dream killer of the highest order.

But finally, FINALLY, at this point in my life, I’m learning to pursue the dream afraid. You’ve heard the saying: Do it afraid. Yeah, here I am doing it afraid.

No shame in fear. But there is some shame in allowing fear to steal your entire life.

So I’m on a mission to develop as a professional writer. I’m writing something most days of the week. I’ve been blogging consistently twice a week for a couple of months. I returned to my first literary love-children’s fiction. I’m actively working on craft.

It’s scary just writing this and posting it in a public arena.

I’m determined to live without regrets from here on out.

So this is me.

I’m a writer.

If I Knew I Could Not Fail

What if I fly?

In working through a creative business planner and productivity workbook to try to get me on track for 2016, this question was in the first chapter: If I knew I could not fail, I would…

The exercise is to then answer that question honestly. It’s a great exercise. I can see how it could free many people to realize what they want to inspire them to go for it.

But to someone who has pushed down her dreams for years in order to tolerate the grind of the soul-eating day job, that question incites panic, maybe terror. In fact, I waited several days after I read the question to answer it. For so many years I’ve run in fear from my dreams. Nothing has worked to make them seem reachable or reasonable to me. I have always come back to the day to day grind of making a living.

For several days I grappled with the desire to work through the exercise versus the demons of practicality telling me to just let it go, that my dreams have passed me by. The voice telling me that at fifty one years of age I’m too old to dream is strong. Very, very strong.

Finally, after several days of prayer, I overcame that voice. What did I have to lose? More self esteem? Whatever. And just maybe, I have something to gain.

So here’s my list:

If I knew I could not fail, I would…
Write and publish stories
Weave beautiful chainmaille and sell it in a successful online store
Train and handle cadaver dogs

I feel nervous just typing out that list. But there it is.

You know what? None of those are out of the realm of possibility. I can attain any or all of them. Will I pursue all of them? I don’t know yet.

How do you answer that question? If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

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