articles and videos to help you turn the dial all the way down on doubt and fear.
A colleague of mine was giving some talks at a local school. When he asked the seven year olds what they wanted to be when they grew up, they shouted out the whole range: I want to be a pilot. I want to be a doctor. I want to be a football player. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a scientist.
And when he asked them what might stop them from becoming or doing those things, a sea of blank faces stared back at him. Nothing to stop them. Nothing and no one.
Sooner or later, if you're lucky, life will help you see that the goal isn't for everything to go the way you'd planned or hoped. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won't. The goal is to know that both in succeeding and failing; in rising and falling; in gaining it all and losing everything; in making enough and not making ends meet - in everything and all of it you're still ok.
It’s 15 years since I passed my driving test. Fourth time lucky, isn’t that what they say? I was never a dangerous driver. I was a cautious driver. I remember failing at least one of those tests for hanging out too long at a junction.
And then I moved to London, a place where having a car is probably more inhibiting than it is liberating, and successfully avoided being behind a wheel for the last 13 years.
"It's only an ebook at the moment", she said.
I saw it. And I heard it. On her face. In her voice. In her nervous smile.
It's the look that says it needs to be more than what it is. The tone that says it's not quite enough.
But it's not only an ebook, is it? It's never only an ebook. Just like it's never only your first client, your first programme, the first piece of art you sold or the first poem you ever went public with. It's never only anything.
Doubt. Procrastination. Stuck in the thought cycle of wondering if you’re good enough. Not sure if your work is reaching anyone. Feeling like no one cares about the stuff you really want them to care about. Feeling like you’re never going to get where you want to go. When your new idea tanks. When the money isn’t coming. When you put out what you believed was your best piece of work yet and all you get back is...silence. When you’re lonely. When the motivation just isn't there.
The tears fell from my client's eyes yesterday as she spoke out to me what she knew she was here to do. The power of her words was such that my own eyes grew hot and wet, too.
When you get to that place, when you touch on something so deep and real inside, there's just no doubt, no question: this is a part of that person's calling. It speaks so loudly in these moments there's no way of hiding from or ignoring it.
Every single person I know who's started from nothing and who's now beginning to truly see success, is someone who just kept showing up, no matter what. They might have had their moment or two of whinging or feeling sorry for themselves or just needing a break, but eventually they always get back up and carry on.
It's real, dammit.
The whisper, the feeling, the sense, the knowing that:
I'm here to create...something.
I'm here to change...something.
Never in all the years gone by and never in all the years to come will Life Force express itself in the way it expresses itself through you.
Every time you think you're not good enough, it's a lie.
Every time you doubt whether you have anything worth contributing, it's a lie.
Every time you think there's something wrong with you, it's a lie.
Every time you compare yourself and come out bottom, it's a lie.
Every time you question your ability to make a difference, it's a lie.
Follow the crowd.
Keep the job you hate.
Satisfy yourself with mediocrity.
You know you’re not living your truth. You know you’re shying away, shrinking back, telling yourself it’s not possible, that you shouldn’t want everything you want and that you should settle for something more…normal.
Your words matter. Your words make a difference. They bring more love to the world. They help change the conversation. They help change perceptions and world views. They inspire people to action. They help people heal. They make people laugh. They motivate and inspire. They disrupt the status quo. They change the story. They bring people a moment's peace. They bring people together. They give someone a new idea. They give people permission. They make ripples of kindness. They get someone through a difficult day. They stop someone pulling the plug - on a project, on life. They move people. They touch people.
If fear had its way I wouldn't write today.
For the first time in four years of writing online, I'm afraid to put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. Afraid to share myself. Afraid to say what's actually there. Afraid of letting the world in.
A few days ago a reader wrote to me and asked if I'd write about a specific topic she was curious about. I thought it was a great question, so answer it I will. She asked:
"How do you manage to stay so creative, and constantly come up with new ideas to write about? How do you manage not to let your doubts and fears sabotage your creativity?"
Every now and again, I find myself having to take a deeper look at why I'm doing what I'm doing. Memories of my old life start to fade and I wonder whether it was really all that bad.
Sometimes, I have to tell you, I question the point of it all. I question the validity of what I’m doing. I question whether it really matters that people do work they love and that I encourage you to keep going after the life you dream of.
Perfect is the enemy of success. It's also the enemy of impact.
Give up waiting to get it just right. The website. The videos. The book. The idea. The workshop. The programme. The truth is, no matter where you start, you're going to look back in 6 months, a year, or two years from now and cringe at what you created. Start where you are with the resources you have. Publish your crappy website. Share your crappy videos. Put out your first book. Run with the semi-formed idea.
The excitement of a new idea floods in. Something you want to do, try or create. A flash of inspiration. Certainty at its brilliance. The story of its perfect unfolding plays out in your mind's eye. And then this:
It'll never work. You're not good enough. Now's not the right time. You need to learn more first. You've got nothing to offer. You're crazy. People'll laugh.
When I left my 9-5 office job in August 2012, courage became one of my core values. I committed to doing all the things that had previously scared me and prevented me from living a fuller, richer life. Living my value of courage is now so important that if I fall short, life can begin to feel pretty off-centre.