The point is, you thought it was a dragon

August 2, 2012

Experience

You’re scared to do something. You’re scared because you don’t know how to do it or because the outcome is uncertain or because you feel unprepared. You procrastinate and make excuses and worry and scold yourself. The longer you wait, the more the fear builds. And this thing starts to become something bigger and darker than it really is.

And in your scolding you think: If only I could push past my fear and do that thing, I would feel invincible.

You imagine yourself on the other side. Where it’s sunny and warm as you dance in a lavender meadow so happy, strong, proud and self-confident. You slayed the dragon. You’re a person who is tough and does hard things.

Then the thought-bubble pops and you continue to push off the lurking beast.

Finally, a day comes when you feel a little different, a smidgen more confident and less fearful and you say: Fuck it, I’m doing it.

And you do it.

You figure it out. It wasn’t so hard after all. It wasn’t that scaly, dark thing you imagined. You were already better prepared than you thought. The outcome is good.

Congratulations! Time to head for the meadow, right? Time to bask in the sunshine of your bravery and perseverance, right?

WRONG.

Nope, it’s time to beat yourself up in a new way. Instead of giving yourself credit and celebrating your success, you say: Why were you so worried about that? It was no big deal. Why did you put it off so long? What is wrong with you? It wasn’t even hard. You don’t deserve any dancing for that. You’re not tough. That was no dragon. A gecko maybe.

This is not a good way to be.

Here are some recent examples from my life where I experienced this awesome phenomenon:

  • Going to the gynecologist.
  • Every day after day 2 of Cold Shower Therapy. (I’m on day 20.)
  • Writing a follow-up post about WDS.
  • Going to a weight-training class at the gym.
  • Writing an email to inquire about a freelance job.
  • Getting a skin cancer screening.
  • Making my own business cards.
  • Learning how to purchase, download and install a font.

I procrastinated all these things because I was afraid. But they all turned out to be no big deal. I only get credit for doing something scary when it actually turns out to be scary.

The thing is, when you open the door to something unknown, you don’t know what’s on the other side. A big chunk of the bravery lies in the opening and that should be acknowledged regardless of what turns out to be staring at you from the other side.

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Image: Zanthia

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3 Comments on “The point is, you thought it was a dragon”

  1. Jill Says:

    So true! Every step is the next step to getting to your goal. Loved this post!

    Reply

  2. Rob Young (@therobyoung) Says:

    This is very true. It isn’t ever as scary as it seems is it? I’m really finding that now, and also finding that the benefits usually turn out to be better than that meadow you anticipated. I’m still not sure I’m up for a cold shower though!

    Reply

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