Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Righting the Resistance

Yesterday, I wrote about how having a business plan can create serenity. But anyone who's ever contemplated actually putting a business plan into action knows it's not that simple.

The first lesson in getting to serenity is that it doesn't feel serene at first. Far from it.

After creating my business plan--which includes amazingly abundant things like an income goal beyond what I've ever earned, treating myself to ergonomic office equipment and moving in with my beloved--my body pushed back. I felt fluish. My throat swelled. I was sleepy. I couldn't concentrate. Worst of all, my work suffered.

I fretted: Can I really do it? Can I pull this off long-term? What if I fail? What if I'm humiliated? What if this proves that I've been a fraud all along?

Now, if I simply reacted to this distress, I might think I was pushing too hard, too fast. I might think, "Let's not set such an ambitious income goal. Let's leave it up to the freelancing gods." I might take care of myself by not taking care of my true needs.

Luckily, I'm working on a story about how the impostor syndrome can cripple one's career. Thank you, freelance gods.

So I didn't take it too seriously, but I did take my anxiety seriously enough to ask:

* Where do these fears originate?
* Is there anything I can learn from them?
* Are they realistic?
* What will happen if I "fail" to reach my income and other goals?

The answer? My fears aren't realistic. Sure, I could fail, but I'd be no worse off than I am right now--and I'm doing pretty well right now. And most important, I relaxed into this knowledge:

Guess what? Whatever it is that you've been longing for? This is how you get it.

That pain? That feeling of coming out of your skin, that dramatic, "I couldn't possibly do that!" feeling?

Well, have your Norma Desmond moment, and then remember: This is what it feels like to stretch the serenity muscle, making it stronger and more flexible for the next time you want to grow your business.

How do you deal with resistance to growing your business?

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