Speaking in public? Marketing your work? Cutting your incomes in half? Loss of status if you leave or downshift your current career? The risk of public failure? Investing time and money with no guarantees it will work? Discovering that you don’t have what it takes? Showing who you really are?
Is there some part of your dream that just feels too scary right now? Be honest and kind. (It’s the quickest route.)
If something feels scary to the point of paralysis, you’re not very likely to go through with it. It won’t be doable. And If it’s not doable it won’t get done.
If so, you need to simplify your dream a little. You need to zoom in until you can grasp it. Becoming a New York Times bestseller, (or the equivalent for your specific art form or line of business) is a tempting but not very doable goal, because:
- A lot of what goes into that is not even in your hands, which makes it frightening and difficult to act upon.
- It’s vague. It may sound specific but it’s not. What exactly do you want about it? The money, the recognition, the status, the title, the work behind it all? (Go deeper into that question here.)
Holding a copy of your first printed book, on the other hand, is very concrete and totally doable. (And need not be any less inspiring. Close your eyes and feel it: the weight of the book, the feel of the paper, the beauty of the cover, your name on the spine.)
There’s a sweet spot to look for in this process of zooming in. You want your dream to feel exciting; you want to be stoked to get going but also a little nervous.
If you feel completely comfortable and safe, you’re aiming too low. It has to be a stretch, but a manageable stretch. Remember: doable.
You will face fear in this process. It’s an inevitable part of any creative process. Whenever you stretch your boundaries, fear will come. In that sense it’s a good sign; you’re growing. Accept it and remember that it’s not a problem as long as you know how to keep it on a level you can handle.
Kindness is the key here, not pushing.
What helps you feel safe? Give that to yourself. What support do you need to dare move forward? Seek it out. What helps you remember why you’re doing this in the first place? Return to that motivation, that original impulse, over and over again. It will help keep focus off yourself and on your work instead (because the truth of it is that it’s really not about you at all. It’s about what you have to give.)
So, where is the sweet spot when it comes to your dream? What’s your specific fear and how much of it can you handle? And when it comes, because it will, what helps you feel safe and grounded?
P.S. Want to explore these questions further? Get your hands on a copy of my book The Creative Doer – A Brave Woman’s Guide From Dreaming to Doing.