Yearly Archives: 2020

The Other Side of Fear

The things we fear in business and life are usually illusory.

“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.” – Celestine Chua (Image: source unknown.)

The fear is real, regardless. Accept that your brain and body are responding this way. (Radical self-compassion.) Just don’t give into it without questioning it.

You really should be afraid of the lion. You needn’t be afraid of putting your work out into the world. Take a reflective pause to work out which kind of fear this is.

If there is a genuine reason to fear, think: How might you cage that lion?

(How might you speak more skillfully, or test your business idea with low stakes?)

The safest option is usually this: Push against the fear.

Or even smash through it. See what’s on the other side.

I’m at home all day, so why is it so hard to meditate?

You’d think being forced to stay home is the ideal time to develop a deep, consistent mindfulness practice. It’s good for well-being, and it’s good for focus at work, with clients and while working from home.

So why do I *not* meditate? Why do I keep putting it off?

When I stop and pay attention to the resistance, I find the reason. I am a bit on edge, and it feels difficult to go from something stressful (the news) or demanding (a rewarding but intense conversation with a client) or exciting (watching my favourite show) directly to meditation – the sudden shift is uncomfortable for reasons I don’t understand. But if I don’t understand it, I can still accept it.

Mindfully enjoying a hot drink (Image: me.)

And as I’ve accepted it, I can respond to it, choosing a way to transition into meditation. Such as:

  • Find a much less stressful activity to do first, e.g. 15 minutes of tidying. (Tidying papers is fine. Actually doing paperwork, we can talk about another time!)
  • Mindfully savour a hot drink (here’s the one I made just now). This can be a prelude to the meditation, or it can be the meditation itself.
  • Listen to some very chill music. (My go-to is the “Robot Heart” yoga playlist from Burning Man – you can find it on Spotify or Soundcloud.) And you can combine this with one of the other strategies.

Consider what works for you.

🧘‍♂️ 🧘‍♀️ 🧘

Do bad work so you can do great work

If you know what you want to do, but you feel stuck and are not getting started, this post is for you.

Perfectionism is the action killer. Do something badly a first time, then do it the second time, and a third, and you’ll be far ahead of where you are now. So far ahead of the person waiting vainly to be “ready”.

You’re not good yet, and that’s okay. If it matters to you, keep going.

When you fall, the sand will catch you.

It’s okay to be afraid to start. Just don’t let fear stop you.

Words of wisdom from someone who started badly, and from there gone on to very big things:

You don’t run into people who say, “I’ve written 7,000 blog posts and none of them are any good. Can you help make me make my writing better?” What they say is, “I’m blocked.” Well, actually you’re not. Because you can talk. You can speak. You’re just not writing down what you’re saying because you’re afraid.

And improving your work is a hundred times easier than getting a guarantee that your work will be fine.

So, do bad work. Do it often, do it generously, and then work to improve it. That’s how you learned how to walk. It’s how you learned how to talk.

It’s how you learn how to do everything that matters to you. But now suddenly you’re waiting for a guarantee. It doesn’t work that way.

It’s so easy now to blog every day. So easy now to put up a video. So easy now to put your work into the world. And if you’re willing to do it poorly, then you could probably learn how to do it better. – Seth Godin (emphasis added)