March 11, 2024

How I overcame doubt to achieve a dream (you can do the same!)

When I was in middle school, my reading teacher told me she was certain that one day she’d see something authored by me on a bookshelf. As an eighth-grader who loved to read, I thought that sounded pretty great … but I couldn’t begin to imagine what a book by me would look like … or how it would come to be.

Fast-forward from middle school to middle-age adulthood, and I’d figured out what I wanted to write, but the how was still elusive. It’s a challenge many people face when they stand on the precipice of possibility.

It feels like you’re ready to leap … but how do you know you won’t fall flat on your face?

The War of Art

Most of us have big dreams – perhaps for a meaningful career, a thriving personal life, a lasting legacy. These are all things my book is actually designed to help with (more on that another time).

But for most of us, dreams are not remotely enough to launch us on our way.

If you’ve ever read The War of Art, you know why. While there are all kinds of practical barriers to getting challenging things done (family and work obligations, health issues, a plumbing leak … the list goes on), some of the biggest barriers are invisible.

Fear, doubt, uncertainty – these and other feelings create a powerful form of resistance to the creative process. The War of Art is the battle we must wage to overcome our own resistance to creativity and forward progress.

It took years of people urging me to write a book for me to even realize I had something to say. It took several more years of seeing my coaching clients cast about for a resource that could help them build more meaningful careers before my ideas coalesced into something I could share with the world.

I was still a long way from a book.

Stuck at the starting line

For me, The War of Art really kicked into high gear when I was ready to write. A blank page is both exhilarating and overwhelming, and for me, that meant a year or two of spinning my wheels before I finally put pen to paper.

I was reminded of something I wrote a long time ago in this space – as I was recommitting to writing more, so I could help more people than I ever possibly could fit into my coaching schedule. I shared something called The Beginner’s Manifesto, which I’d found on a site that no longer exists. I’ll share it again here, in case it helps you get unstuck and start something you care about.

  1. The hardest step is the first one.
  2. It’s also the smallest, and often the simplest.
  3. Momentum is more powerful that we realize. But the snowball won’t roll unless you give the first push.
  4. It’s hard to start, but it’s even harder to stop once we’ve started.
  5. Start something small every day. Watch them pile up.
  6. Choosing not to start is choosing to fail.
  7. Find a reason that makes it worth it.
  8. What will happen if you don’t begin? What might you miss?
  9. Make the first step so small it’d be impossible not to take.
  10. The only thing standing between dreaming and beginning is you.
  11. Start first. Think later.
  12. If you don’t start, nothing else matters.
  13. Most of the fear comes from anticipating the start.
  14. Most of the fear disappears once you begin.
  15. Don’t leave the sight of an idea without doing one thing to get it closer to reality.
  16. Say no to something that doesn’t matter, so you can start one thing that does.
  17. Possibility cannot live until you begin.
  18. If you don’t start, you can’t finish.
  19. Starting is what builds a bridge, creates a business, loses 100 pounds, writes a best-seller. Starting does it all.
  20. Starting is what changes the world. It’s the only thing that ever has.
  21. Everything starts by starting. When is now a good time?

Whatever book is in your mind, song is in your heart, invention is swirling in your thoughts, I hope this helps you let it out. I can’t wait to share the results of my War of Art with you. The countdown to my publishing day (April 30, 2024) has begun. 

Unlock your potential and align with what matters most to you. 

It’s that simple.

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