Overcoming Fear and Disrupting the Status Quo

disrupting the status quo

The Creative Process

Some days, I know exactly what to write, what to build, and what to develop.

Every so often, I'm hit with a rush of ideas as I'm driving home, reading a book, or going for a long run.  The ideas are clear and I know exactly what I need to say, build, or write.

When I get home to my office, it's on.

These days are good.

Blank Days

Other days, the ideas don't come so easily.

On these days, I'm blank.

I know I have to write, but when I sit down, nothing comes to me.  I stare at a blank screen and every attempt to fill it with an idea comes up short.  It's infuriating.

These are the tough days.

And they happen the majority of the time.  

The Worst Part

Having no clear idea what I intend to write on a daily basis isn't the worst part.

The worst part is knowing beforehand that I have nothing to write.

That's when the fear hits:

"I shouldn't be doing this - I'm not good enough."

"What am I doing?"

"People will see I'm a phony...my stuff's not worth reading...this is a waste of time..."

These thoughts come to me on those blank days (every time without fail).

The Importance of Process

When the fear hits on those blank days, it's important - I would hazard to say mandatory - to slow down.

Identifying and understanding this fear as just that - fear - helps to quiet the negative self-talk propaganda.

This leads to an important realization: this fear inducing pressure is fabricated; it's a direct result of the importance we attribute to the results of our work.

And the results are important - but they're not more important than the process itself.

The process: that is why we do what we do (the artist, the creative entrepreneur, the unconventional leader).

We do it because the process is art, it's a gift, and, by giving and creating daily, we inexorably create our life's work.

Disrupting the Status Quo

It's easy to let the pressure of writing keep us from writing.

It's understandable to let the fear of shame keep us from creating.

It's almost forgivable to let the fear of failure keep us from starting, finishing and shipping...

But then we become exactly we set out to change: the status quo.

No, creating, building a business and leading aren't for everyone.

But if they are for you, then go to work every day (the disruption of the status quo depends on it).


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2 comments on “Overcoming Fear and Disrupting the Status Quo”

  1. Hey Tom,

    Nice concise, direct post today. What resonated with me was the "become exactly what we set out to change" line.

    People come to me looking for help in changing their lives. A trend that I am finding fascinating is the amount of people who's "Change", is wanting to - "Break the Cycle", or "not be like their Mothers or Fathers". This FEAR or NARRATIVE is debilitating and it prevents them from being the creative genius that they want to be. What people have to remember is that each day is a new day and a new narrative can be written. You have only blank pages in front of you - it's up to you to write the narrative of your life. No one else has the power to do that for you.

    1. Alan, couldn't agree more regarding the 'narrative' concept.

      It's interesting, though, that something so simple is so hard. It's even hard for me sometimes.

      But, you're entirely right. It's under our control to direct / shape / design that narrative. If we don't, we'll continue to see the results we've always seen.

      Awesome insight Alan!

      - Tom