by Jessica Leigh Lyons
His whispers go something like this: You are not worthy to have your book be a wild success. Who are you to write and publish — you don’t have enough credentials. You get distracted too easily so you’ll never finish. You’re good with ideas but can’t execute worth shit.
You have a lot of things you want to do, but you have too much that you HAVE to do before you can sit down and write.
The good news is that everyone knows about this creep.
The problem: That creepy gremlin is you. And he or she is holding you back.
He also goes by other names, including fear or ego. But they’re all just labels for the negative self-talk that runs like a tape recording through your head.
Figuring out his tape is essential to turning him off.
Step 1: What tape does he play?
All our gremlins have tapes they play continuously. They could be about fear, worry, doubt, anxiety. Start tuning in to the exact words that run through your brain when the fear comes up. The more you know about the way your gremlin sounds, the more you can recognize and not be swayed by his tactics.
Step 2: Listen to the whole tape.
Once you start noticing how fear rears its head, you’ve got power. You’ve got to think of this as power because now you can listen to every thought and know which ones you need to turn down the volume on. If you only listen to a little bit, then you might not even notice when he sneaks in: And your mother-in-law doesn’t like your book either.
Notice what happens when he shows up. Do you suddenly get a stomach ache? Does a splitting headache come over you like cloth over your eyes? Our bodies are always sending us signals, so another way of recognizing that fear has hijacked you is being aware of what is going on with your body. That is a big step toward knowing that the creep has been whispering in your ear.
Only then can you take the powerful next step.
Step 3: Figure out what you’re doing with him.
Listen, you can’t argue with gremlins. They fight dirty, and every time you think you have them figured out, they change tactics. They might even start to speak sweetly while they sabotage your work:
You could work on that project now, but you’ll be tired in the morning and you’ve agreed to take care of yourself and get enough sleep.
You must have a plan in place to acknowledge the gremlin and keep going anyway.
In “Big Magic,” Liz Gilbert says you can’t have creativity without fear. You must have both. So she has a really deliberate discussion with fear. Fear always sits in the backseat — still in the car, but in the backseat, not allowed to drive, not allowed to point the direction, and DEFINITELY not allowed to touch the radio. No decisions, just there.
I encourage you to write a letter to fear, to your gremlin. Call off the creepy goblin that’s whispering in your ear, yelling at you, occasionally tripping you up. Tell him exactly where you’re putting him. You can decide what you’re going to do when you know that he’s gotten in the car.
Step 4: Choose a more empowering belief + reminder + mantra.
I love mantras because they’re simple things that can start to replace your belief system with something more positive.
I am worthy of finishing my book and seeking a publisher.
Everything is figure-outable (a favorite from Marie Forleo).
I’ve got this. I can do this.
Write down your favorite mantra. Hold that.
Recognizing the story you carry when fear is involved is essential to continuing to take creative, bold risks. It’s why I created StorybowlDC: A Gathering of Women to Speak Truth. The next StorybowlDC is happening on Sunday, November 8. You can join us by registering here.
Jessica Leigh Lyons is a life coach who works with women to help them create a life of joy. She is also a Desire Map facilitator helping women (and some awesome dudes) discover their Core Desired Feelings. Find out more at www.jessicaleighlyons.com.