In the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, little Toto the dog discovers the all and powerful Oz behind the curtain.
Oz is freaked, tells them “Don’t mind the man behind the curtain!!!”
Well, I’m no Oz great and powerful, but here on this blog I pull the curtain back willingly with the intention of giving you a glimpse behind the make believe that is our social media appearances and perfect little lives, so that you catch perhaps something familiar in my vulnerability.
As the funny guy on stage, who then takes the audience to a place of authenticity and surprise with insights unexpected, here is my soul and greatest challenge, bare for your bravery to kick in where mine lacks.
On my Calendar lives a “To Do” that is so imposing, so terrifying, so Raptor, that it has crippled me for years.
Yes, I have had the same daily To Do on my calendar for years with no end in sight.
Daily I return to bed disappointed that I didn’t even try to tackle this To Do.
I feel pathetic every night I lay me down to sleep, no matter if I got a standing ovation for thousands of people in an arena, or if I landed the dream event I’d worked so hard to get.
Truth is, everything on planet earth can keep me from doing this one To Do, including easy tasks (such as scrolling social media, watching and critiquing friend’s videos to help them improve their speeches, mowing the lawn and doing the dishes) to the toughest and sometimes least interesting of tasks (like working out daily, setting up and fulfilling conference calls & podcast interviews, and even, once in a while, the challenge of writing this very blog!).
Yet none of it compares to the beast that is my daily To Do that never gets done. Even when I’ve set aside the time, blocked off weeks on end, I can still scare myself away from this one task…
Yes, you heard me.
Writing my Book.
I have a good 5 books in note form, ideas, recordings, strategies, launch programs, and have even sometimes counted the brilliance of it as a finished product before I’ve even written the outline.
You’ve probably seen me talk about writing it for years.
Truth is: It’s nowhere in sight.
And then I see what my friends are doing.
Killing it! They just published their own book! And I’m thrilled, of course.
But then, quickly, the pang of jealousy creeps in. Not that they have a book, but that I don’t have mine done yet.
And it hurts.
Every. Single. Day.
I have clients asking me at every event if I want to sell my book.
I have people asking me weekly online, in messages and emails, where can I buy your book.
There’s not a book.
It’s in my head.
If I die tomorrow it literally dies with me.
The Promise to Self is to face the deepest fears.
Why can’t I just write the book?
Stephen Pressfield calls it, in his masterpiece, “The War of Art”, the simple word: Resistance.
In other words, I’ll do anything BUT write my book.
That’s true, and that’s painful.
And I bet, as bummed as I am about this fact, and as embarrassing as it is to write this blog and post this truth to you, that you too have a To Do item on your calendar like I do.
Something that is so daunting, so crippling, so terrifying, you can’t face it.
Well, I have an answer for you.
This week I am facing the fear.
I actually need to get a few hours of work out of the way, in order to feel secure my business won’t go under, and then I go for a very long walk, and I listen to books written by my friends. On Audible, I listen with the intent of having enough courage to go sit down in my office and just write even for one hour.
Truth is, this process is working. It still makes me sick to my stomach, this attempt to write and the fear that it either won’t be a book anyone will read, or just simply that it will not be good.
That’s the whole fear.
It’s only when I get over the fear of how it will be received by some, and rejected by others, that I find the bravery to sit and write.
And once I begin writing something magical happens – I enjoy it.
And it is my favorite thing in the world to do.
Think of that! My greatest fear is actually my favorite thing to do, and yet I am terrified to begin each and every day.
You would think I would wake up so excited to write it that I can’t sleep.
Nope. Instead I suffer, and I sweat, and I shame myself all day into facing the fear of writing what I don’t want to die within me.
And then I have page after page and I’m happier than I’ve felt in years.
So there you have it. My greatest fear in my business. Not speaking to thousands of people, not wondering if and when the next gig might appear. Nothing compares to actually sitting down and writing my book.
And I promise you, this book is hatching. Is it great? I have no idea. I’m not self-editing or censoring it. I’m just writing as if I’m clawing at a cliff I’ve wanted to climb my whole life and I’ve finally begun. Am I slipping to my death or ascending?
Yes. Both. It’s bizarre. But it’s real and it’s incredible, terrifying and exactly what I need to teach The Promise to Self.
What’s lived on your To Do list that is crushing your soul? If you don’t have one I recommend putting it on the calendar, and doing all you can to begin to face that fear that will drive you to the next level.
I know I’ve just arrived at mine.