Seth Godin is one of my inspirational authors. He pulls no punches when he writes.
In his book, Linchpin, he addresses one of the biggest problems with moving forward. You have to not only finish whatever it is you are doing, but you have to ship.
You can practice that instrument in the privacy of your house every day, but until you sit down with the orchestra and play it – you aren’t adding anything to the world.
You can write poems and stories, but until you publish them for others to read, they add nothing to the world.
The world needs what you create!
He knows how difficult it is to ship. I know how difficult it is to ship. I’ve written about his description of the Lizard Brain – the amygdala – the fear center of your brain. This is the part of me that tells me nobody cares about what I write, that I’m not very good at it, that believes the worst of the reviews or unflattering comments that come my way.
Shipping – moving off center – releasing your baby to the world – performing in front of real live people – putting your heart and soul out there … it’s absolutely impossible for many people, frightening as hell for others, and stomach lurching for most of us.
The first time I pressed that *publish now* button, I wanted to go throw up. I no longer lived in my own safe little world where I was the only author that existed.
The thing is, I still live in the panic of the amygdala a lot of the time.
Oh, you can tell me how wonderful I am, how much you love my books, how I shouldn’t worry, how I should do it anyway … you know, all that really good stuff. The thing is – we all need to hear that, but we (and by we, I mean anyone who puts themselves out there) also need to hear that you get it. That you’ve experienced the fear that comes from doing things others won’t try.
I have a friend who gets on her horse regularly to ride in competitions. Sometimes she does just fine and then there are the times when she absolutely rocks the world. I’m so danged proud. But I know the fear that hits her heart when she climbs up and rides into the ring. She does it anyway.
Another friend stands in front of a large group of singers. They’ve trained and trained, but we all know that every single thing can go wrong in a performance, especially when there are hundreds of people in the audience and he’s dealing with the terrified amygdalas of fifty individuals on the risers. He lifts his arms to direct them anyway.
A friend of mine is an incredibly talented jazz organist. He practices for hours and hours. He hears and cringes at every single missed note. When the time comes, he hauls those keyboards all over the Midwest and plays with the best musicians in the country. Every week.
My sister teaches fifth grade. She’s always under pressure to lead those little horrors into their best lives ever. She has to manage absentee parents, a district whose focus on numbers and metrics eclipses their focus on individual students, failures every day from unexpected places, kids whose terrible living circumstances follow them to class; all while making a salary most corporate types would laugh at. She goes every day anyway.
I’ve been fighting off my own fears these last couple of weeks. There have been days I simply fail and go to bed overwhelmed because there is still so much yet to do and I was unable to get over the hump of feelings of inadequacy.
But Godin’s words come back at me … telling me that I can’t sit still very long. Getting lost in the mire of my own fears is a ridiculous place to spend time.
And the other thing … the minute I wrote about just a few of my friends who inspire me, my spirits picked up. Get up and outside of your own head, Diane. The world is too delicious not to experience to its fullest.
Godin writes: “You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.”
Go. Do. Create. Ship.