This is my first official blog post. The first time I’m sitting down to write something specifically for my brand new blog. I’m terrified. I feel twitchy. My brain keeps telling me to take a bathroom break even though I took one ten minutes ago. Somehow, a bobby pin just ended up in my mouth and I’m chewing on it like a candy cigarette. There seems to be a red bump on my forearm, maybe I should pick at it for a second… NO! STOP IT. Just. Stop.
Just start writing.
I’ve always been a procrastinator. When I was a kid, we only had one computer in the house. My parents set it up in their bedroom to discourage us from putting off assignments until the night before they were due. And yet, I often ended up in that bedroom long after my father had gone to sleep, my mom patiently reading a book in bed. I had a pearl-covered princess crown (a costume piece from when I played Cinderella in a local youth theater production), and I used to wear it during those late-night homework sessions. I called it my “thinking cap” and thought it would somehow imbue me with superhuman paper writing abilities. I was in high school.
Really, I was just terrified that my finished work wouldn’t be perfect. And the idea of creating something perfect was so daunting that I often ignored the assignment all together for as long as I could. So I’d end up bleary eyed at 3 AM editing a satirical short documentary on Montesquieu when the assignment called for a simple power point presentation.
No one ever told me I needed to be perfect. Somewhere along the line, I just decided it was the only way to be. And it’s been tripping me up ever since.
FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY
I wanted to start this blog a year ago. Then this happened:
“But it needs to look professional.”
“I don’t know how to use WordPress.”
“I need to save some money so I can buy a custom template.”
“I should really study other Health & Wellness blogs for a while.”
“I don’t know anything. Who cares what I have to say?”
“People will think my blog is dumb and then they’ll hate me.”
All the usual suspects. All the usual bullshit. Only this time, Ms. Heimsoth wouldn’t be waiting for me to show up in her classroom with screenshots of my perfect blog. No one expects me to do this. And no one will miss it if I don’t.
A few months ago, I met with my mentor to discuss my emerging health coaching practice. “I haven’t taken on any clients because I feel like I don’t know enough yet,” I said. “I’m afraid I’m not going to get it right.” She leaned over her cup of Rooibos and replied, “You’re not going to get it right. You’ve got to begin somewhere.”
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is the title of a best-selling book by the late psychologist Susan Jeffers. I came across the phrase while reading Overcoming Underearning by the fabulous Barbara Stanny, and it really resonated with me. Logically, I know that nobody’s perfect. I’ve known this for some time, yet no amount of reminding myself ever alleviated my perfectionist anxieties. You see, some small part of me still struggles with the erroneous belief that my worth as a human being depends on my ability to perform well, to get things right. But I’m not always going to get it right. And that feels scary.
The message behind Jeffers’ now famous phrase is that it’s okay to feel scared. It’s absolutely human. It’s scary to know that you might fall flat on your face, but you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t try. So I’m going to readjust my criteria for self-worth to include what I do after I feel the fear. Do I let it paralyze me, or do I take the leap? After all, I’ve got to begin somewhere.