“I can’t do that.” “I’m (fill in the blank)____________- too young, too old, too inexperienced, too experienced, too thin, too fat, too shy, too, too, too.”
The too’s hold us back in such a convenient way. They keep us from finding out what we are really made of.
They give us the easiest, most convenient excuse for not doing something when the real reason may be the fear that we don’t know how to do it.
It’s easier to call fear by another name since no one likes to think of themselves as cowards.
I realized this when I started examining the things that ignited fear in me – the kind that makes you turn back from something. I realized not knowing how to do something drives me crazy.
It doesn’t matter whether you know you are competent, smart, gregarious, talented. Fear is always lurking around the edges of the things we haven’t tried.
I realized that I have avoided many things because I not only didn’t know how to handle them but wasn’t even willing to give myself a chance to try.
I realized that I was making possible failure a terminal event that I would avoid at all costs. The resistance to moving forward felt insurmountable.
What did I avoid? Hard conversations, possible opportunities that were clothed as a challenge, possible judgment from others, chances to create a class, a piece of artwork- anything that required me to be a bit uncomfortable because I had never tried it before.
This is the place that I visit way too often. It’s the place where I need to use encouragement that shows up as a swift kick rather than gentle words. It’s when we put on the voice of an old coach, a loved teacher, even a hero you admire. We can conjure up our encourages at will. Did you know that?
David Bowie developed an alter ego called Ziggy Stardust to help him step into the extraordinary self he knew was there. Ziggy helped him do the things that felt uncomfortable doing but as Ziggy, he could. Later, he developed many others who had the characteristics that he knew he needed to borrow when he was afraid. When he needed them, he stepped inside their personas and his fear evaporated. He used this technique to become the best version of himself. He used a variety to explore all the different aspects of what that meant.
It’s an idea that has been used by many but perhaps not in terms of as a tool of encouragement.
Beyonce created a character she named Sasha Fierce. Sasha helped her mover from singing in a gospel choir to the big stages she has graced.
What they were willing to do was unlock their own resistance traps that appear as statements in our heads like: not good enough, not talented enough, not experienced enough which are the same versions as too young, too old, too experienced, too little experience.
Encouragement comes in all kinds of forms.
Creating your own Ziggy Stardust might open up some opportunities of which you never dreamed!