So here I am sitting staring at the screen trying to figure out what to write. I know I want to write about fear, as it’s the topic that I am focussing on right now, but all my ideas about what to say simply flew out the window the minute I sat down to write. It flew out because right now I am feeling pressurised because I ‘have to do it’. I have taken on a 30 day blog writing challenge, meaning I have to write a blog every single day for the next 30 days and today is day 2! (if you want to read what I wrote on day 1, click here).
I am an ideas person, Lord alone knows I have so many ideas that I can run an entire business just by giving you ideas, but what I do find hard is to grab onto just a few ideas and commit to them and keep going with them. My sense of excitement, my adrenaline rushes comes from looking at the idea, researching it, seeing how it can work, finding the solution and making it work. But…..the minute I feel like I have accomplished that goal, the ‘rush’ is over and I lose interest in it or I just let it go. I have done this on so many occasions and you know what happens? The minute I let it go, it’s as if the universe says, right you did something with that idea, but I need it to continue and as you not up for that job, I am going to give it to someone else.’ Then when I see ‘my idea’ been put into action and people loving it or getting rich from it, I am left feeling very pissed-off with myself at letting it go. I have comforted myself with the thought that maybe its just a personality trait. Some people are starters and some people are finishers, right? Just like some athletes are sprinters and others are marathon runners. I have always thought of myself more like a sprinter. After all, if I had a team of people working for me like Richard Branson does, I would probably also have a gazillion businesses like he does as I would delegate it all to other people and make sure it happens. (Hmmmmmm we really can justify our actions with almost any reason).
Anyway, so what does this have to do with fear, I hear you asking. I think that quite frankly, I am a little bit of a commitment phobe (OMG, did I just say that out loud?) I think it’s because I don’t want to be held accountable for my actions? But…what does it mean to be held accountable and why on earth would I need to be held accountable, or for someone else to do so. Does that mean someone else gets to tell me what to do, because after all how does me being held accountable to my own goals and actions affect anyone other than me? Hmmmmmm, I suddenly just realised that the word accountable also means being responsible.
A few days ago I went for a walk on the beach and I was walking very briskly, talking to myself, asking myself why I still have so many fears, why was I feeling so utterly stressed out. I launched my new business ‘Confident Women’s Academy’ at the end of last year. Before, it has mostly just been me in my business and at times I have employed a few admin people and freelance trainers but me being the only ‘fully employed’ person meant I was only ever ‘accountable’ to myself. But with my new business I have 7 other people involved and the more we start advertising and promoting our workshops the more stressed out and fearful I have become. So here I was walking on the beach talking to myself loudly which included crying and gesticulating wildly (thankfully no one else was around), I was feeling really frustrated with myself and feeling irritated that I was feeling so damn stressed out. I also felt slightly angry with myself for feeling this fear. I just wanted it to be gone, I wanted to enjoy what I was doing, I did not want to repeat past actions of simply walking away from it all. I have some massive and important goals for my life and I knew that if I was to achieve those goals that I needed to persevere and follow through, but not if it meant feeling this uncomfortable. As I continued to interrogate myself, a little voice in my head said ‘I don’t want to be responsible’ and there it was, just hearing that phrase with the big ‘being responsible’ thrown in left me with the most incredible knot in my stomach, it made me want to throw up on the spot! But…I protested, what is the big deal about being responsible, I have always been a responsible person, so why was it stressing me out that much now?
It all came down to this, when I was 17 years old I fell pregnant with my son, my parents were amazing and offered to raise him so that I could continue to ‘grow up’ myself, but I was having none of that, besides the fact that I love babies and children and had already instantly fallen in love with the one that was growing inside of me, I believed that it was my responsibility, I was the one who had chosen to have unprotected sex and therefore it was up to me to carry the consequences of my actions. I would take care of my child myself. Little did I know that what I was in for, would be incredibly difficult,how frightening it was, how stressful it would be being ‘responsible’ i.e. taking care of another human being. I had no idea that I would ultimately give up my own life, my freedom, my dreams, my priorities for another person. Don’t get me wrong, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, I would not change it for anything as my children are my world, but what I am saying is that I never knew how much it would take out of me.
In South Africa, there is no such thing as child benefits, or the dole, or council houses, or the NHS, or free schooling, the government does not take ‘responsibility’ for you, your children or your family. You are on your own. If you don’t work, you don’t eat, it’s as simple (and as scary) as that. There is no fall back system, it’s flipping frightening! If you don’t have a family to fall back on when you can’t find a job or are battling financially, what do you do? Basically you do whatever it takes to feed your family. (Hence the reason countries like South Africa without a fall back system have such a high crime rate.) Anyway, so this is what I associated with responsibility and the reason I was so stressed out with putting my business and myself out there was that I was flipping scared to death of the responsibility I associated with it. And, what comes with responsibility? commitment! The two go hand in hand, when you commit to something, you are responsible for it and when there are other people involved, the responsibility feels so much bigger. OMG, I was about to have a panic attack right there just thinking about it. I did not want to go back to feeling the way I did when I was raising my two children on my own, it was the scariest most stressed out flipping time of my life, yet……..I had resorted to that ‘state of mind’ again. The minute our advert and tickets went live for our ‘Face Your Fears’ Bootcamp, I suddenly had to face mine and I was headed for yet another melt down.
So, being the sensible little weirdo that I am, I realised that it was time for me to take myself to task and reframe my perception of responsibility. I started by breaking the word ‘responsibility’ down, ‘response and ability’. Meaning I was able to respond. I believe that we all have a purpose; we all have unique skills and talents to use on this earth and to help others and humanity evolve. I also believe that often that purpose is a ‘calling’ which is revealed to you in various ways, as a strong desire or simply with a deep sense of knowing. I have always been a bit of a maverick and have had no hesitation in answering my call. I was able to respond, I had chosen to respond and accept my purpose and I actually love what I do, I really really do! Having this realisation made me think, what then was I scared of? Was it because the word responsibility was attached to the word commitment which meant that I would have to follow through, to keep going? This brought me to asking what was so frightening about commitment? When I had my children, I committed to them that I would do whatever it took to feed them, to raise them, to educate them, to prioritise them, to be the best possible mother I could be for them them, I made them my purpose and even though there are times I wish I had known better and done more and done better, I am exceptionally proud of my children and the extraordinary people that they have become. So what did I have to lose by committing to my life’s purpose, a purpose that gets me jumping out of bed in the morning, that fills me with excitement and interest, that leaves me feeling fulfilled and joyful. By giving into my fear I was saying hello to stress and frustration and feelings of failure and saying goodbye to a lifetime of joy, fulfilment and fun. My choice was a no-brainer really. The time had come to ‘let it go and let it flow’. Right here, right now, I made a new commitment, to myself, to become the fun fearless female I was born to be! Damn…. it feels good!