I just started a blog post, and I hated it. So I deleted the whole thing. I could feel the tinge of forcing it. Sitting down to write again because I did so yesterday, and so I “should” again tonight.
Last night, after I hit publish on my first post in 14 months, I had a brief “maybe I should do something like 90 posts in 90 days” thought. I abandoned that quickly.
Not because I don’t think it’s a good idea in and of itself. But because I knew the thought behind the thought, the motivation for that idea, was the thought, “that could be a really good strategic move.”
And not that really good strategic moves aren’t a good idea (I heart me some strategy), but because the thought behind that thought was laced with trying to prove something, fear of not growing (my audience? influence? bottom line?) “fast enough,” and general ego-filled, bolster-up-the-self-worth-through-external-validation shit.
That feeling of it NEEDING to be something that “worked.”
That feeling screwed me over for years. I’m 4 million times faster at catching it now (probably, in part, because I catch it in my clients all day, every day), but it still rears its ugly head now and again. Especially when I get an intuitive nudge to do something……… and then really REALLY want it to be as optimized, efficient, effective, and overall badass as humanly possible.
Careful now. I’m not saying that efficient and effective and optimized and all those other left brain pieces are bad. But what’s the motivation behind it?
See when I indulged in the 3 minutes of should I? shouldn’t I? with my head, I knew right away that it felt like a “should.” You know, those artificial rules, self-imposed or self-maintained (in the case of the ones that were planted in your head by other people). I do NOT do well with shoulds. At all. I rebel HARD.
And so I was thinking about this today: does this mean I’m screwed? Does it mean that I’ll never be able to do something like 90 days of… well, pretty much anything… because I’ll perceive it to be an arbitrary cramping of my style? But that didn’t seem quite right either. I’ve done certain things for way more than 90 days. Being married to my
buffoon loving husband, for instance. Or giving up gluten for a while to heal my badly abused intestines when all I really wanted was a fucking croissant. But I did those things (and many others). No sweat.
Ok, lots of sweat.
And much cursing.
But still, there was this underlying knowing that I wasn’t going to go back on it or cave to momentary, or even prolonged, weakness. I was committed to making those things work. Ahh, there it is… commitment.
What’s the difference between a “should” and a commitment?
A should is a decision made out of fear for what happens if you don’t.
A commitment is a decision made out of hope for what happens if you do.
It was easy for me to see that the underlying motivation behind the 90-in-90 thought was negative. Not negative as in bad/undesirable/wrong. Negative as in “I’m running away from something I don’t want” (as opposed to running towards what I do want).
Artificially committing (should-ing myself) to 90 days of blogging would have been coming from a place of “I’m sick of being lazy. Why don’t I just do the work? Maybe THIS will be ‘the.thing.’ that gets me………. universal stardom?” vs. something like “I’d like to transparently share my growth with people so they feel a little less alone with the crazy thoughts swirling around in their heads.”
(By the way, people do this with all kinds of stuff… they don’t want to be alone anymore, so they get married. They don’t want to be fat anymore, so they eat rice cakes and kale while watching 7 minute HIIT workouts on YouTube. They don’t want to be stressed anymore, so they load up on yoga classes, meditation candles, and red wine. See what I’m getting at here? Marriage, kale, and yoga all look like good things on the surface, but the motivators aren’t “I want to share my life with someone/feel strong in my body/laugh more often.” The motivators are all NOT being anymore of the negative… and it almost always has an ugly ending.)
Everyone has a different tolerance level for that ^^ kind of fear-based motivation. Some people are so terrified of being mediocre that they push all the way to million dollar businesses. Other people are so convinced they can’t be alone that they stay in codependent relationships for decades. My tolerance is…. low.
I’m just not willing to let myself be chased into action that “looks right” by my fears anymore.
And so I’m just “dating” blogging right now. Finding my willingness to commit to it through shifting my motivation. Detaching from outcomes. Ditching my ego. [Insert some other nuggets that someone like Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle would say here].
No guilt. No shoulds.
So here I am.