The thoughts come to you slowly at first. But soon enough the ideas are bouncing around like tiny white pellets in a pinball machine. The excitement brews, bubbling with anticipation and eagerness. You stare ahead, eyes wide, transfixed by your own novel thoughts and the sheer potential of what might be.
You ardently jump into the task at hand, allowing the words to stumble forth with all their messiness and zealous enthusiasm. You write. You think. You dream. You fantasize. You imagine.
And then you pause, to catch your breath, and in that moment of repose, fear creeps in. Slowly and quietly at first, easily dismissed. But then you face a setback – rejection, criticism, embarrassment, disapproval – and the fear builds. Fear evolves into self-doubt. Self-doubt morphs into anxiety. Anxiety brings frustration, disappointment, weariness, and tedium.
Soon you are frozen. You are immobilized. You are restrained. You are petrified into inaction. The once innovative thoughts slow from a rapid boil to a weak simmer. The once bouncing ideas deflate and fall.
You still sit wide-eyed, but now you stare ahead in terror and apprehension, hands drawn to your head in a last ditch attempt to hold onto your might-be brilliant ideas and the hope of your could-be-achieved triumph.
You complete your manuscript, but can’t bring yourself to click “send” and submit it for fear of rejection. You try to manage the fears by quieting your dreams. But the worries and insecurities linger, and now regret is even starting to show its face.
And then you realize that all you need is a daring and brief moment of courage – “twenty seconds of brave,” as Matt Damon’s character says in the movie “We Bought a Zoo”. Twenty seconds of brave to push the “send” button and submit the manuscript proposal. Twenty seconds of brave to chase your dream. Twenty seconds of brave to take a risk. Twenty seconds of brave to stare the fear of rejection, denial, and embarrassment in the face and say “you don’t own me.”
And, miraculously, just like that, you are unfrozen. You are mobilized. You are freed. You are reassured into action. And just like that thoughts are bubbling and the ideas are bouncing once again.
I write this post as much as a pep talk to myself as anything, but what fears, doubts, insecurities immobilize you? How do you overcome them so that you can recapture the excitement and momentum of chasing a dream?