I go to work. I open a new Word document.
And lose a stare-down contest with a blank page.
My stomach curls into knots.
Über famous marketing genius and all around smarty pants, Seth Godin, says he never gets writers block. He says no one ever talks about getting talkers block. He writes the way he talks. So he never gets blocked.
But I’m stuck. I get another Diet Dr Pepper.
Then I realize I have some laundry to do. Maybe if I physically move, I’ll come up with something to write.
Anxiety gnaws at me like an arthritic knee. I wring my hands. I click my favorite clicky pen.
Clickity click. Clickity click. Clickity.
Will it be good enough? What if no one cares what I have to say? Hasn’t it already been said before?
I shudder under piles of work. I must write articles, blog posts, newsletters, chapters, sentences, words, thoughts, ideas. Good ideas. Smart ideas. Ideas people feel inspired by. Ideas people want to share.
Are my ideas worth sharing? My frustration crushes me as I worry about my inadequacies.
And it’s not even 9am!
I need something.
More Dr Pepper?
A life coach?
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
One of my favorite tools is Dr. Gloria Willcox’s Feelings Wheel. She organizes 72 feelings into a pie chart of sorts and buckets them into these 6 groups: sad, mad, scared, joyful, powerful, and peaceful.
Looking at the Feelings Wheel here, you see how a feeling like embarrassed is really about feeling insecure, which is really about feeling scared.
I further deconstruct Dr. Willcox’s entire wheel into only 2 emotions: love and fear.
In other words, all of the sad, mad, and scared feelings are actually just fear.
All of the joyful, powerful, and peaceful feelings are actually love.
Think about that for a minute.
At the root of all of your feelings are two things: fear or love.
In other words, every single feeling comes from either fear or love.
Yep. Every. Single. Feeling.
Let’s say you’re jealous because your friend has a fancy-schmancy house/car/job/fill-in-the-blank. If you peel back the onion of jealously, you find what’s hiding underneath is selfishness. If you peel back selfishness, you find anger. And anger masks fear.
You’re not jealous of your friend, you’re afraid you’ll never have a fancy-schmancy house/car/job/fill-in-the-blank. And you’re afraid if you don’t have that thing, no one will like you.
In other words, you’re afraid you’re not good enough without that fancy-schmancy thing.
Don’t let that scare you.
Fear is nature’s way of alerting you to potential dangers.
Fear protected you during caveman days by detecting real dangers like lions, tigers, and bears.
Today, feelings still sense risk, but sometimes most of the time the risks aren’t all that real.
Like being afraid your writing is horrible, and no one will read it. Or feeling embarrassed about your dream job, so you don’t pursue it.
Next time you feel jealous, stupid, or embarrassed, ask yourself what are you afraid of?
Running with Love
Fear is a great motivator. It forces you to run away from something, like a hungry lion.
But only love moves you to run toward something.
And therein lies the beauty of the Feelings Wheel: The thin line separates love from fear. It is two sides of the same coin.
Do you buy a fancy-schmancy new house out of fear (afraid you won’t by admired by certain people) or love (the architecture and large backyard remind you of summers at Grandma’s)?
Do you choose a career because you’re afraid if you don’t, your parents/peers/society won’t approve? Or do you choose the career because it’s what you love to do and is an expression of your soul?
Any time you make choices based on fear, love gets pushed aside.
When love gets pushed aside, God gets pushed aside.
The more time you spend in fear-based feelings, the further you are from God.
Because emotions are energy. Energy vibrates. Fearful emotions vibrate at a lower frequency. Loving emotions vibrate at a higher frequency.
God and angels vibrate at the highest frequency – love.
If you want to connect with God and angels, you gotta get on their wavelength and vibrate at the highest frequency. The more time you spend in the higher emotions, the closer you will be to higher powers.
In her book My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor, says, “…when we feel intense negative emotions like anger, jealousy, or frustration, we are actively running complex circuitry in our brain that feels so familiar that we feel strong and powerful.”
She also says, “I learned that I had the power to choose to hook into a feeling and prolong its presence in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me.”
She describes that an emotion physiologically runs through our bodies in 90 seconds.
Next time you feel a negative emotion bubble up, pause and allow it to find its way out of your physical system. Then choose to replace it with kind, loving thoughts.
Or said another way: You choose your emotions; they don’t choose you. You own the power of decision. If you want to feel excited, then choose to feel that way. If you want to feel scared, then feel that way. It doesn’t matter which emotion you choose – as long as you realize it’s you who does the choosing.
The Devil Made Me Do It
There’s two voices in your head constantly battling for power – ego and spirit. Devil and angel. The historical battle of good vs evil lives in the daily minutia of your choices.
Fear is nothing more than the ego at work. Ego is the boss of the lower emotions.
When you feel fear, let it be a red flag that ego is driving your decisions.
Ego never once gave anyone good advice.
Ego loves to spend time on the fear side of the Feelings Wheel. For example, the more ego keeps you focused on depression, shame, and guilt, the less your spirit gets to come out and play.
Ego does not want your spirit to play.
Because when your spirit is in charge, life seems breezier. Easier. Less stressful. Emotions like content, trusting, hopeful, and energetic emerge. When you spend time on the love side of the Feelings Wheel, ego loses.
Ego hates to lose.
So it tells you things like your writing is terrible, and no one will read it. It tells you that your dreams of becoming a commercial airline pilot died with your youth. It tells you that you better keep that miserable job you hate so you can afford that European Rover you can’t afford.
It’s smart that way.
But you’re smarter.
You’re reading this.
Which tells me that my writing isn’t that crappy.
And fear is a big, fat liar.
So next time you feel fear, tell ego thanks, but no thanks.
Feel the fear, but run with love toward that thing you want.
It will be waiting with open arms.
And if you’re lucky, a Diet Dr Pepper.