Do you feel your best ideas are cooped up inside your brain? As if they could escape and do some good—if only you could feel more confident, more courageous, less timid, less freaked out, and less unsure?
I’m reading Brene Brown‘s new book, DARING GREATLY, and from the sound of it, you’re not the only one feeling this way. In fact, according to Brene‘s research, everyone is feeling this way: the feeling of scarcity. The worry that you will never be enough.
For me, the key feeling is that I have so much to do and not enough time, like I’m trying to catch up. This is an absurd notion from the not so great times of my past when I felt the world was going by and leaving me behind. It’s not exactly mentioned in Brene‘s book as one of the scarcities, but I imagine a lot of people feel this way. There’s some trauma from their past that has really hampered them from being all that they can be (no, I’m not thinking about the army here, trust me) and some of the very resilient types (read: me!) come out of that trauma determined to catch up, to work harder, fight harder, last longer, dig deeper than anyone else, just so we can feel that we are making up the time we lost.
Or maybe I’m alone in this scarcity. Either way, it’s harmful. It blocks me. Instead of trying something daring, I study for months first. Instead of just launching out (and I used to do this a lot before I picked up this brain dysfunction), I overplan, I overthink. I go out and look at everyone else and then measure myself to them. And as we all know, that is the kiss of death.
So, to be completely courageous this fall, to DARE GREATLY as Brene calls it, I’m doing the opposite of what I have been doing in my coping mechanism, trying to fight back against a brain dysfunctioning in such a blocked way: I’m trying something daring and I’m not going to study first. I’m going to launch out and not plan, not sit and think and compare myself at all.
Isn’t that amazing? That something that can be so simple can also be so scary? All because we’ve let our emotions, our feelings block us for so very long. A very wise man just told me that experience doesn’t create your beliefs. As young infants, we have beliefs and no experience, so basically, we’ve been doing it all backward. But that’s okay. Now we can do it courageously. He told me that beliefs create your experience. Just because I think I’m launching out there into the unknown doesn’t mean it’s necessarily unknown. Just because I want to try something daring doesn’t mean it won’t become my most prized habit and most joyful activity.
About a year and a half ago, I was taken into the fold of a top kids books literary agency. I had minimal experience with the decision makers in this industry, but I had worked in the industry since 1995. I had no idea how a literary agent did their job, but I knew everything around it: how to write a book proposal, how to pitch an idea, how to write a query, how to copyedit, typeset, write, even how to market a book.
Wouldn’t you think that my beliefs about my ability to do the job would come from my experience?
Nope. Not at all.
In fact, it’s been exactly what that wise man told me. My beliefs—that I could do it and excel at it (guided a great deal by the faith my mentors had in me)—created my experience. It has changed the way I approach so many things and is now the impetus for this post.
I BECAME a kids book literary agent because I wanted it, and I went out and did it (and my mentors agreed with me and shared everything they know to help me do it better). I had no idea how to do it before I started, no idea if I would be able to do it, no idea if the industry would accept me as legit (a big reason I joined EMLA is because of their reputation), but I couldn’t have controlled those things anyway.
You either do it or you don’t do it.
So my beliefs created my experience, which has been wonderful because I believed that I could do it (and I had people who believed I could do it). And now I’m rolling those beliefs about my other more personal goals into action. Why the heck not? Let’s keep this going, yesirree. Why stop now? Time to roll back the tide of blocked emotions, yes?
At the core it’s about finding my joy, grabbing what I really want, and trusting that the how will show up when it’s time. Because I really think that if I had known at the beginning all that I know about my job now, I would have talked myself out of it. (Sound familiar?)
There’s a reason we don’t know all at the beginning. There’s a reason that there’s a time to find out more information. It’s a powerful lesson for me as I decrease my reliance on this one blocking scarcity: I am no longer catching up; I’m living right here, right now.
And it feels great.