Day 19: Facing (and Fearing)

Challenge: Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. If you are facing (and fearing) a difficult life decision, ask yourself these three questions:

1) “What are the costs of inaction?” I find it can be helpful to fight fear with fear. Fears of acting are easily and immediately articulated by our “lizard brains” (thanks Seth) e.g. what if I fail? what if I look stupid? If you systematically and clearly list the main costs of inaction, they will generally overshadow your immediate fears.

2) “What kind of person do I want to be?” I’ve found this question to be extremely useful. I admire people who act bravely and decisively. I know the only way to join their ranks is to face decisions that scare me. By seeing my actions as a path to becoming something I admire, I am more likely to act and make the tough calls.

3) “In the event of failure, could I generate an alterative positive outcome?” Imagine yourself failing to an extreme. What could you learn or do in that situation to make it a positive experience? We are generally so committed to the results we seek at the outset of a task or project that we forget about all the incredible value and experience that comes from engaging the world proactively, learning, and improving our circumstances as we go along.

The cost of inaction? I'm not going to be happy unless I'm moving forward artistically, or at least trying to move forward. My id is not going to leave me alone on this one.

What kind of person do i want to be? One that lives every day passionately and creatively.

What happens in the event of failure? I think as long as I'm learning, there is no failure. I assume that if I keep working at it, I'll get better. I don't know that I need to be great -- it would be nice, obviously, but I'm not going to be broken-hearted if it doesn't happen. If 20 years from now I can look back on a rich journey of creative progression, I don't see how I could ever feel that I've wasted my time.

I think that's been my big realization from this Trust30 exercise. I was so uptight about admitting my dreams. It felt like I was aiming for some sort of greatness that I'd probably never achieve and that meant miserable, public failure. But I'm perfectly fine with progress and action. Maybe it will change, but right now as long as I'm doing I'm okay. That's a really good thing to know.