This article will be filled with questions. I hope they will be questions that will make you think and reflect. The simple fact is life can be hard. Whether you are in the top one percent or living below the poverty line, life takes its pound of flesh from us all. A good example is Steve Job. We all think he had it made, and in many ways he did. But he could not escape his pound of flesh. Just before his billion dollar mansion on water was about to be finished he passed away. He ran out of time, as we all do, and left unfulfilled dreams upon departure.
I would make an assertion. I believe we all have the right how we will live out our time on this earth. We can either run scared or we can move forward with courage and determination and purpose. No matter what our circumstances or the trials we face, we choose how to face them. My question is this. How are you facing them? Are you running scared or standing your ground with fortitude and backbone? Once again I say the choice is yours.
Let’s take a look at the typical single mother. In most cases, she is on the other end of the financial spectrum from Steve Jobs, but she has all the responsibilities and more that he had. There are bills to pay, there are relational issues, child care issues, time constraint issues, emotional needs to be met, and the list goes on and on. This can become extremely overwhelming. All these demands are enough to cause anyone to run scared. And there are many who choose this path. They get up for work in the morning because they are scared. They pay one bill at a time, fearful of the consequences if they don’t. They raise their children, doing the best they can, with the constant fear that they are not doing enough. They fear the future and all their efforts and hard work stem from this fear. Fear can be a good motivator. But there is another way.
It is possible to stop running altogether. It starts within, with a personal decision. The first step is to look inside and take an inventory of what we care about and what we want for the future. The next step is to prioritize those things, swallowing the fear and eventually banishing it. This allows us to move forward one step at a time with purpose, one day at a time, with inner determination. Every task we do can be motivated by fear or a sense of calling. When we are with our children, we can love them to the best of our ability and choose to be present in that moment, banishing fears of the future that can rob us of the joy of those moments. When we go to work, we can do so out of fear or we can do so with a strong effort to live in that moment, performing our tasks, whatever they may be with excellence and a drive for upward mobility. It is a choice and one we may have to make every day.
There is one more thing we can do that will help with the fear. We can stop running scared and this one thing definitely helps. We can accept our limitations. We can accept that we are not perfect and that at the end of every day, there will be a number of unfinished tasks. Are you the type of person who things that if you don’t do it yourself, it won’t get done, or it won’t get done right? Letting go of this fallacy can banish fear altogether. Accepting help from others and relegating things that you can’t handle can alleviate great amounts of stress, but it means you will have to let go of your fear and perfectionism.
I faced this in my writing career. My books are like my babies, and anyone who has a baby knows how stressful it can be. We all want the best for our children. Dropping them off in the care of another individual can be downright terrifying, but when we realize that we are not actually in control of many outcomes, we can logically deduce the best people who we can trust, and then drop our children off with peace. We can carefully choose the caregiver, and then trust our decision and let it go.
That is what I had to do with my books. At some point, I became overwhelmed in my perfectionism and the attitude that only I could promote them the way they needed to be promoted. My assumption may have been accurate. No one can care about my work like I do, but this led to burn out in short order, and it was motivated by fear alone. Finally, I faced a choice, either I would give up writing altogether, or I would find the best caregiver for my books, and delegate the task of promotion to them.
Fortunately, I found that person. He isn’t perfect and he doesn’t care about my books as much as I do but he does a good job all the same. I was initially surprized at how well he performed. My book sales went up instead of down, like I was expecting. His name is Nik and he is a virtual assistant. He is well versed in all the forms of online promotion and he works hard to get my books out there. I pay him a hundred and fifty bucks a month which is a steal compared to the benefits I receive.
I found that the quality of my writing increased and I was able to stop running scared. By accepting my limitations, I accepted any possible outcome, and fear dissipated quickly. Slowly, I have learned to move forward with determination and renewed purpose, choosing to live in the moment and use those moments to the best of my ability. When I have finished with a moment, I take on the next one, and so no, and so on, and so on. Yes fear can be a good motivator but I also steal’s our creative potential and our joy and our peace. Having lived both ways, I am happy that I have learned to stop running scared. It was the best decision I ever made.