“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” Steven Pressfield
Two weeks and two days ago I handed in my notice at work and began to draw a close on the career I have known for the last eight years. What made me do this? Pure and utter frustration. Frustration knowing that there’s a wealth of things out there that I’d love to be spending my time and energy on but for around 40 hours every week, I choose to spend that time and energy on something that leaves me feeling completely unfulfilled. What else made me do it? Fear. Fear of where the hell is my life going to end up if I continue this for the next eight years and another eight after that and after that and…well you get the picture.
Fear is a crafty one though! Not only has it had me questioning what will happen if I keep doing what I’m doing idling along in a life of means to an end, work to live mentality but it had no problem with keeping me in this very existence too! How does it do it?! The fear of the unknown some how seemed to far outweigh the fear of being unfulfilled.
- What if I’m not good enough at anything else to make a living out of it?
- I’m 31, what if that’s too old to make a fresh start?
- What if I’m not actually good enough at the things I’m passionate about to make something out of them? They’re just hobbies after all.
- What if I lose my home?!
- What will my life look like a year, five years, ten years from now?!
- What if the economy collapses?
- What if I fail?!
Quite honestly, this list could go on forever. And I’m pretty sure quite a few of these unknowns apply were I to stay in my current career. So how has the fear of the unknown always won hands down over the fear of being unfulfilled? I guess I can wholly conclude that I’m an uncertainty avoidant personality type then and completely risk averse? That doesn’t sound like me though. I think it’s more like this…there’s a large percentage of the worlds population living the ‘safe’ life. The life that has been drummed into them from their mid to late teens. The messages from your childhood of “follow your dreams”, “anything is possible”, “believe in magic” and so on soon became messages of security, practicality and certainty. People stopped chasing the things that lit them up and started chasing those that just kept them ‘safe’ and ticking along. And that’s where I’ve lived for the last decade and a half. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not ungrateful for the life I have, quite the opposite. I am truly blessed with my family and friends, my experiences, my home and much, much more. My career has afforded me the ability to spend the hours that I am not at work on things and with the people I truly love and that do light me up, for which I am eternally grateful. But the imbalance of time spent on what I love versus something I feel a bit ‘blah’ about just doesn’t sit right with me anymore. I know I am capable of more and deserve to find out exactly what that more is. The unlived life goes unlived no longer and I’m going to kick fear and resitance’s ass to figure out what the hell it is!
As soon as I took the decision to make a big change, I felt unfathomable amounts of fear. More than I have done in a very long time. That gut-wrenching, sickly type! But I made the decision that there is no going back, this just has to be done. Whilst watching my fantastic coach Rebecca Campbell’s vlog on fears being the gatekeepers to our gifts, she mentioned a quote from Steven Pressfield around the relationship between the fear we feel and resistance. This really piqued my interest and I just had to look this quote up:
“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.”
This quote so deeply resonated with me! And less than a week later in my coaching session with Rebecca, as I was explaining the decision I had taken and the adventure I was about to embark on, she told me to start reading Pressfield’s book ‘The War of Art‘ immediately. And that I did. I can not recommend it enough to anyone who is dealing with the anguish of fear standing in the way of their greatest opportunities for growth and self-discovery. With almost every sentence in the book I found myself saying “yes, that’s me”, “oh I have that problem”, “oh my god other people feel like that too?!” and so on.
So here it begins, my new chapter, another dive that much deeper into my soul, a step towards living my unlived life and my own mini-revolution into what is possible when you step into your fear.
Beginning this blog and actually making it publicly available is a small “f*** you” to some of the fear and resistance I have been experiencing around writing and putting myself out there. I was asked to begin this as part of Scott Dinsmore’s ‘Live off Your Passion‘ course that I began a few weeks ago. I was not best pleased when I saw this was one of the tasks I had to complete. I’ve never seen myself as a writer and the thought of putting my personal musings out there made me very uncomfortable as I’d be making whoever chooses to read this a part of my journey. Sink or swim, it’ll all be laid out here for people to see. That’s scary! But as I am on my one woman mission to beat resistance I have accepted Scott’s challenge and here it is!
So who knows what lies ahead of me now? For all the fear I am feeling, there’s a fair amount of excitement too! I feel liberated in so many ways and already feel like that spark that had gone missing for a chunk of my life is already returning. Right now, anything really is possible, I am going to follow my dreams and I really do believe in magic! Here’s to our deepest fears, shining our light and living our unlived lives!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson
P.S. if you are interested, tomorrow I begin the 100 day challenge on Instagram to capture my taking at least one step everyday towards making sure I make the most of this journey towards living my unlived life #ArtiDesignsHerLife. Any tips and suggestions greatly appreciated!