Resistance is the enemy of our dreams.
It’s the voice of fear, doubt, and shame that stops us from ever getting started.
It’s the perceived obstacle that we meet midway that keeps us from ever following through.
It’s the list of reasons looping in our mind to be “sensible" and just pack it in.
But fear isn’t an indication that your dream is impossible or not worth striving for. In fact, quite the opposite. Like Steven Pressfield says, the strength of our resistance points to its importance to our soul’s work.
Every creative person is engaged in a lifelong war with resistance. And the only way to win your daily battle is to sit down and do the work. Take the next step forward. Write the next word. Make the first brush stroke. Take another picture. Put $5 in your savings account.
But resistance is tricky and so this is obviously easier said than done. These three questions are tools that I use to overcome different flavours of resistance on days when I need a little bit of help overcoming the obstacles I’m facing.
Fear of negative feedback.
If you’re afraid of what other people will say, ask yourself:
Would I rather live a mediocre life never creating anything and not ruffling any feathers or would I rather stand out for doing what my heart is calling me to do, which will perhaps upset a few people along the way?
When you think about all of the people you admire most, I’m certain that none of them got to where they did by dulling their shine and trying to please everyone. You don’t have to either!
Not knowing where to start or trouble with procrastination.
If you find yourself struggling with the motivation or know-how to get started or keep going, ask yourself:
How can I show up?
It’s not about having all of the answers or perfect execution it’s about showing up for your life and your dreams. We don’t need all of the answers to get started nor do we need to get things exactly right the first time. This question helps take the pressure off and shift the focus onto fully engaging with your own life.
Not having enough time or money.
If these excuses have convinced you that your dream is impossible, ask yourself:
Is this really important to me?
I get it: that sounds harsh or like I’m not considering the constraints of your particular situation but I’d like you to consider whether that’s really true. We make time for the things that are truly important to us. We find creative solutions to make the things we really want possible.
I have a friend who launched the charity he’d dreamed of starting by spending a year as a “professional guest.” He’d stay with someone for a couple of weeks at a time rent-free in exchange for performing some task for them, whether it was cooking, cleaning, or coding their website. He saved money on rent so he was able to work less and pursue his passion. And another friend of mine successfully set up a crowdfunding page to fund the start of her writing career.
All across the world there are stories of people going on epic adventures, launching businesses, filming movies, and funding other enormous dreams without any startup capital. There are people writing books on their commute to work or launching Hollywood careers while bussing tables. It's not necessary to have massive savings accounts or empty calendars to make big things happen. So get honest with yourself about whether you really want this. If you do, I'm confident that you have the tenacity, hustle, and ingenuity to make it happen. And if you need a bit of help, read on because I can help.
I use these simple questions a little bit like affirmations. They’re abort buttons that let me pull the plug on the same old stories and excuses I tell myself about why my dreams aren’t possible. Instead they let me reframe the situation and write a new story.
I’d love to know how they work for you and if you have your own strategies for overcoming resistance!