On this day 250 Saturdays ago I wrote my first blog.
There was a reason for writing the blog. It was part of a plan.
The plan was to write 10 blogs in the hope that by the time Blog #10 was posted I would have overcome a lifelong fear of writing.
I have no idea, or theory, as to how this fear came about, I just know that it had plagued me for many years and at its worst, the feelings of dread had been almost paralyzing.
I’m not sure where fear ends and phobia begins but I do know that the definition of phobia includes the words ‘irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it’ and I had mastered the “avoid” part of the definition, often at great cost.
I used to joke that if I say something stupid – and those who know me will recognize the regularity of that occurrence – I could always deny it, but words, once written, form a permanent indelible record from which there is no retreat.
They say that fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real and that the delusion of fear is simply a false illusion masquerading as reality.
My fear of writing was so great that on more than one occasion it cost me substantial business opportunities.
Whenever I made a presentation to a potential client regarding the services of my company I did so in the full belief that a) our services would be of enormous value and great benefit to the client organization and b) my presentation would be so complete and compelling as to require no additional need for information by the prospective client.
Occasionally that was the case, but many times I would hear those fateful words that would send me straight into panic – “I like what you are saying, would you please put that in writing and send me a proposal.”
Those words unfailingly caused my pulse to rise and my stomach to churn and I would leave the meeting telling myself that that potential client was just not worthy of my time and services.
Sometimes I was able to put a few words on paper and send them to the client under the title “Proposal.” More often than not I simply walked away from the potential business.
And finally I had had enough. I told myself that this was stupid, irrational, and immature and it was time to get over it.
Thus I hatched my brilliant master plan of ten blogs.
That was in March of 2009. It took me until August of that year to actually execute on my plan and post the first blog.
Naturally, I didn’t tell anyone.
I spent most of the following week nervously staring at my phone each time it rang, hoping that the caller wasn’t someone I knew who had stumbled across my blog and was calling to order me to stop taking up valuable space on the Internet.
And the following Saturday I did it again.
And then again the next week.
At some point during those first few weeks it dawned on me that no one had called and I began to feel a little more confident in my writing although this confidence was tempered by a voice in my head telling me that the only reason I had received no calls was because not one single person had read any of my blogs.
And then it happened. Somewhere between the third and fourth blog or I did receive a call complimenting me.
My writing career was born.
Once I completed my 10 blogs, I simply decided to continue.
Along the way, in the spring of 2010, my book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice Is Yours came out and to my surprise (and delight) has sold more than 15,000 copies.
I have not missed one Saturday in posting a blog. In January 2013, I began a second blog on the topic of Habits and have posted 71 blogs over 71 consecutive Wednesdays.
I have also completed a second book which I hope to have available by the early fall.
Friday evenings have become the worst night of the week for my long-suffering wife,
Gimalle, as invariably I begin our weekend with the question “What should I write about tomorrow?”
Gimalle has mastered the skill of selective deafness and just ignores me.
What I have learned over these past few years is that fear truly is irrational, and that the above acronym, False Evidence Appearing Real is really a voice imploring us to do the very things we fear and thereby discover for ourselves that when we face our fear head-on, it will turn and skulk away, exposed for what it truly is – a toothless, gutless bully.
I harbor no illusions as to my writing skills. I am, at best, average. As you know Average simply means being “the best of the worst, or the worst of the best.”
It is no great honour to be average but it is an enormous feeling of accomplishment to have beaten fear into submission.
I have come to enjoy writing. I write for me and hope that, for some, there is meaning in my words. I am no longer stressed by what others may think.
Ram Dass, the legendary Harvard prof, turned guru, is quoted as saying, “It is my karma to do this. What you make of it, that’s your karma.”
Now that is true wisdom.
Till we read again.
P.S. My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
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