What Are You So Afraid Of?

People ask me: “Aren’t you afraid you’re never going to have any success? Aren’t you afraid the humiliation of rejection will kill you? Aren’t you afraid that you’re going to work your whole life at this craft and nothing’s ever going to come of it and you’re going to die on a scrap heap of broken dreams with your mouth filled with the bitter ash of failure?”

Yes, I’m afraid of all those things. I always have been. And I’m afraid of many, many more things besides that people can’t even guess at… like seaweed.

~Elizabeth Gilbert, Your Elusive Creative Genius, TED Talk

What are we so afraid of?

In reality, hardly anybody is watching us.

I write this weekly blog and I’m pretty much traumified (that’s my new favorite hybrid word) of what’s gonna fall out of my keyboard in front of a few hundred loyal followers. But what would be different if I failed in front of a bigger audience? Or in front of a smaller audience?

Either way I’d still fail, and I’d still be traumified (did I mention I really like this word?).

But it doesn’t matter. Because it’s not the last thing I’m ever gonna get to write.

It’s not like I’m going to trip on my gown at the Emmy’s, forget my wireless mic is on while I go to the bathroom, or bite the head off a chicken on stage. (Okay, maybe the microphone thing could happen.)

Next week could be better. Next week could be “the one.” And then the trolls will publicly relish my past literary sins. (Lucky them, they’ll be fed for eternity.)

Today I encourage you to write down what you’re afraid of. Scribble it down on a piece of paper. (Actual paper. Not a computer document.) Stick it all down there in bold script so you can’t ignore it.

And then I want you to torch that sucker.

Light that parchment in whatever way feels meaningful to you—candle flame or big ass bonfire.

CLICK HERE for an example of the burning letter ritual.

Then tell yourself you’re going to create, you’re going to celebrate, you’re going to free yourself from fear and just LIVE!

What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Write with joy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *