Here's the question of the day: How do I tell if my activity is Distraction from Fear or Creating What I Care About?Going to have to back up a few steps and then come back to that question...hang in there with me....I think this is going to be good....
Here's the basic scoop - I have a day job, but it may be ending soon. I don't like my job that much anyway so I'm not so bummed about losing it (although losing $$ coming in the door…that’s a different story…see Kelly’s cool post about $$....). I've mentioned before that I have spent long years basically saying I wanted to do something "more creative" and then not really doing much of anything. Or, maybe I was doing things here and there but nothing felt connected and I actually felt like I was being Lazy. I know others would argue that I was not being lazy, but I felt like it - that's the point.
I don't feel lazy anymore at all. In fact, I feel kind of overwhelmed. I have what feels like about 10,000 ideas a day and then I also keep working hard to articulate stuff into reality. This rampant idea generation coupled with lots of other concrete activity is starting to feel like a frenzy - like a feeding frenzy...you've seen that - the wild, out of control thrashing that happens on nature shows. That is what it feels like a little bit IN MY HEAD !!
I'm realizing I need to slow down a bit... make a plan - have a strategy - set aside time - have priorities - make short term and long term goals - write things down - make lists - do this - do that - do - do something - aaaahhhh....! It's happening again, I can feel the thrashing! (ok, taking a breath...)
So here's the deal - what I think I really need to do is to tap into my own Internal Rhythm. What works for me? Here is what my rhythm is right now - lots of high energy, frenzied work for a few days then I allow myself time to crash. And when I say crash, I really mean "Do Nothing, sit and watch bad TV, stare into space, be a bowl of jello time" crashing. Right now, this High-to-Low Rhythm is actually kind of working. I keep getting things done and I'm not really feeling too run down or spent. So it is ok? Hold that question....
Here is this other little nugget that I've picked up along the way - Putting it Out There is Hard. I knew, or at least I had read, that Fear and Resistance were real. But just recently I'm starting to actually Experience how Real Fear Is. To put something out in the world that is you, a real representation of you, something you really care about, something you really want others to like, that is really really a big deal. I felt it in a palpable way the other day, I was thinking about doing something and realizing that others would read it and people I know would read it and questioning if I would want them to and what if they hated it and I would be embarrassed and ...and...and...I sort of went into a freak out mind loop...fear baby, raw fear....
So now let's come back to the question - is my activity actually just Distraction? Is my High-to-Low Rhythm supporting me in moving past my fears and doing stuff I care about? I think this is a great question...a really great question.
Am I hiding out from fear? Am I distracting myself? In this moment I have to answer no, but I think I want to keep the question in mind and keep asking myself how I would honestly answer in any given moment. I'm pretty sure the answer will change. The high-to-low rhythm - I have a feeling that is just sort of who I am. I run on inspiration and enthusiasm and sometimes the tank goes empty and I have to fill it up again. I think I'm ok with that.
After a feeding frenzy, the water calms and energy is spent and the crazed are satiated. Maybe the occasional frenzy isn't so bad, as long as it ends and there is time to rest and you get to reflect on the question “is what I ate what I wanted?”
Excuse the sort of strange metaphor there. I’m not sure if any of this really make sense, this strange circular thing, but it made some sense to me – helped me to clarify a bit what is going on. I really do think Internal Rhythm, figuring out how you work, is So Important. Otherwise you might keep thinking you are doing something wrong. And knowing your rhythm helps you watch out for fear that is starting to turn working into distraction. So that’s the point – watch your Internal Rhythm and make sure it is supporting you in work that you Really Care About.
Kim LeClair has been a shadow creative for the past 40 years but is finally deciding to come out into the light. Kim is In the Process of Creating her Dream Job....Creative Director of east willow studios. For now, you can visit her at one of her other adventures -- MoveJoyUs or fitness for mere mortals.