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I have to be honest, I haven’t been practicing what I preach. I’m usually eager to talk about how to write through resistance, earnestly tackling creative goals, how to create in the face of fear, and trust the process of work coming through us.
However, recently I’ve been in a phase where I was in self-created paralysis with my writing.
Not creating but waiting.
- For things to be perfect
- To have everything figured out
- To have the time and space to batch a ton of content–and know exactly what that content is going to be
- To finish courses, and challenges
- To have a clear marketing plan in place so I know exactly how to proceed.
I’ve spent months consuming blog posts, books, podcasts, you name it, churning things over in my mind (and on endless post-it notes), in preparation for the actual writing.
But as I sit down at my computer, for what feels like the millionth time to get planning, I realize how much time and energy I have put into thinking about doing the work, rather than actually doing it.
In fact, as part of my planning, I opened up a 90-day plan from almost a year ago — with the intention of updating it. I realized that my goals were the same, which is exciting–wahoo alignment! And luckily I’d naturally made progress on a few things, but in reality, I didn’t move an inch towards the majority.
This was sobering. Especially since I’ve felt productive this entire time. Okay maybe not the entire time, but I haven’t been lazy. I’ve been doing stuff and a lot of it in relation to my work. But it was all behind the scenes, a distraction from the actual work itself.
However, before going there, I must say though, there are times when taking a step back is exactly what we need to do. I’ve had really productive days doing this. Planning, goal setting, learning, downward dogging through fear, imposter syndrome, whatever it is that’s coming up. It’s necessary and good stuff–up to a point.
Also, those times when we are not working are important. We might be traveling, working out stuff in therapy, nurturing our relationships, or taking time to do something silly and spontaneous. I believe these things are just as important, as they are investments in ourselves. So we have to be gentle with our process, while also taking an honest look at where we’re avoiding the work, and what’s underneath that avoidance.
With all that being said, I do know my tendency to distract myself with over planning and over thinking. The distractions keep me away from truly feeling what’s under the surface. The true feelings I’m trying to avoid.
- The unknown
- The excitement and OMG I want to hide! sides of visibility
- Not feeling worthy
- Feeling like an imposter
- Feeling just not sure about how to best proceed
- Confused and doubting my path when there’s so much out there pulling me in different directions.
The reality of how much time can pass, and of how many seemingly productive activities can fill that time, but don’t actually move the needle towards what I want for myself, is heavy.
Luckily, what has helped me is making the big smaller. Getting super clear on the tasks that link all the goals together and committing to working on those every day.
For me, my heart is in writing and building meaningful connections. Because these things are close to my heart and are intimately tied to moving the needle on my goals, I’m focusing on those and committing to doing these activities every day.
All the other stuff will fall away or find its place. I don’t need another 90-day
plan (okay, maybe I will at some point, but not now). Rather, I need a simple plan to get me started on doing the work.
So, for all of you who get stuck in the over planning, over thinking, doing all the things other than the one thing you should be doing, oh man I feel you. This is an upward battle I fight regularly. However, I have found progress and relief by paring down, getting to the core tasks and trusting these things will create momentum.
I encourage you to take a look at where you want to be in your life. What are those big creative goals? What are the activities truly at the core of them? Then make a daily commitment to do that thing, even if only for a few minutes.
Then, as resistance comes up, give yourself space to do the inner work of what’s underneath. This is a bigger conversation we’ll save for another post, but invite those uncomfortable parts of yourself to tea. Dance with them through your curiosity. They then lose their scariness and can transform into something beautiful and serving for you.
Finding your power to truly move forward comes from developing small and simple habits. As I’ve started this process, the resistance, fear, and all the gunk that comes up when trying to engage in the creative process, in public, continues to come up but it’s not as paralyzing. The small actions are small and simple enough that my brain can’t make the process bigger than it is. Rather I can trust they are creating forward movement, on the things that truly matter.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What’s been your experience with overthinking or over planning? What could you do today that is a core task that will take you where you truly want to be? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear what’s on your heart.
Thanks tons and huge digital hugs, I can’t want to hear from you.