Posts tagged Doubt
TSLS 0044 - How to find your strength in times of doubt and fear

Have you ever shared your dreams with friends and family, only for them to respond with objections that make you question your entire life? 

It's hard enough not to doubt your abilities/qualifications/potential as it is, and so, if you weren't thinking about their objections as issues before, the slightest critique or doubting comment probably means you're thinking about it now.

Here's the thing about objections: they suggest that we're not good enough right now, as we are. They suggest that the knowledge and experience we've gained throughout our lives so far is worth nothing, or isn't worth enough, and there has to be more, more, more. 

You are perfect exactly how you are right now, and you are absolutely enough. This blog post is about helping you realise and remember that for yourself, without having to be told. I'm going to teach you how to overcome these objections with five simple but powerful affirmations.

1. “This is my legacy.”

I don't want to wake up at 73 years old and realise that I never got around to doing what I truly wanted in life because I spent most of the time preparing instead of actually living.

Do you? Where does it end?

You've got to draw the line somewhere if you're ever going to get started.

Once you've dedicated your life to something you can learn along the way. It might not give you a qualification or title, but it gives you the best chance of becoming who you want to become.

2. "Life is short."

If you're feeling called to create, it's because you're meant to do it. The sooner you realise this, the better.

You don't get advanced notice when it's time for the final curtain call of your life, so don't waste time or make the show boring by dedicating the first half an hour with random umming and ahhing. So much of the creation process is asking yourself whether or not it'll be worth it before you actually do it! And I really think that needs to change.

3. "There are people out there who need me right now."

Your true fans are out there in the world, and they won't sit around waiting for you.

There will always be something you can do to make yourself appear more capable, experienced or qualified, but nothing will excite your true fans more than helping them with what you've got right now. This doesn't mean you screw people over who trust you to provide them with whatever quality you promise them, but it does mean that there is something you know right now that may be of value to others.

4. "I must share my knowledge."

Whether you have just one fan or one hundred thousand, you must share your knowledge.

I've never regretted creating a piece of work, no matter how terrible it was when it first came out. The act of creating something and putting it out there isn't just for your fans, but it is also for you. As you share, you grow.

5. "Nobody cares about all the things I DON'T have."

The value you provide is worth so much more than your writing qualifications.

Has anyone actually interrogated you on your writing qualifications? Told you that you weren't good enough, or not "allowed" to do what you do? It really doesn’t happen all that often, but despite that, it’s one of the main things writers worry about (see: impostor syndrome).

The fact of the matter is, unless you're a full-out scammer or plagiarist, most people are not dedicated to taking you down - if they don't like your stuff they'll generally just move on to someone better suited to them, so it's nothing you really need to worry about. No one is lurking in the shadows, waiting to "out" you. And if by some weird reason they are, they are in need of a qualification in being a better person. For every one person that might doubt you, there are hundreds that will actually really appreciate what you do.

A person's qualifications are almost never what make me like a person, personally. As long as they can tell me something I didn't know before, they have a place in my life - and I promise that your tribe have the same attitude towards you.

A final note: you are perfect exactly as you are right now.

You are enough, always have been.

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TSLS 0040 - Who am I to share my story? Avoiding impostor syndrome as a writer, teacher or speaker.

"Who am I to teach? I'm not perfect."

"Why would anyone want to listen to me?"

"Doesn't wanting to teach and help others make me a huge hypocrite?"

I used to think admitting struggles or setbacks in my creative life would somehow make me look less credible, but most of the time, I've found that it’s usually the complete opposite.

According to Carl Jung, all this means is that I’m a "wounded healer". We all are.

And that's not a bad thing.

Jung believed that the main reason people feel compelled to teach is when they've been through an experience themselves and want to help others through it too, because they don't want anyone else to suffer the way they did.

They try to heal others, because they themselves know what it's like to be wounded, and that's a beautiful thing. Wouldn't you agree?

Who wants to learn from someone who acts like they've always been perfect? Who would even trust a person who is teaching about something they've never been through?

Using your experiences to help other people shouldn't be something to be ashamed of - it's actually something to be proud of, and to embrace. Because no one can deny your credibility when you're speaking from personal experience, your own journey of overcoming.

So if you're ever worried that you're not ready, or you're thinking: "Who am I to write this?" You're a wounded healer, which makes you the perfect person.

You don't have to be flawless or have completely "defeated" something in order to share your life lessons on the topic. Even if you fall from grace sometimes or don't always practice what you preach, it doesn't make you any less of a teacher. 

Your wounds don't all have to be neatly healed before you can heal others.

So please stop doubting yourself, and think about all the people you will help with your stories.

Then get out there and heal some wounds.

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TSLS 0022 - Your creative work has value.

When I started writing my spoken word poetry collection earlier this year, I had this constant nagging feeling that due to everything going on it wasn’t the right time to finish it, because it didn’t seem important enough.

It was about heartbreak which, compared to everything else that was going on in the world then and now...like, doesn’t even seem like it should be in the top #10 of things we should be worrying about in our society and lives right now. Poverty. War. Modern slavery. Racism. Ridiculous laws being brought into our world by greed every single day. How would a spoken word album about heartbreak help anyone?

Why create a spoken word album when all of this was happening and was so much more important?

Why create a spoken word album when speaking on political subjects instead might help someone more?

I tried to Google my pain to see if anyone else could relate, or to see if Google would have some kind of magical measuring stick or perfect timeline for when I would finally feel okay about creating fictional works again without feeling guilty about it. 

I typed in, “Is my work important enough?” which, as smart as Google is, it had no answer for.

I guess what I was looking for was permission to complete it.

As a black, female, and member of the LGBT community there’s almost always something that seems more important than fictional works. Something to protest, something I can be angry about if I want to be. There are countless injustices happening; and so many people, voiceless, dis-empowered and suffering. But there comes a time where you realise that you can’t always carry all of this pain on our shoulders all the time, because frankly it is exhausting. 

Creating art that is serious and political all the time would put me and my art into a box that I don’t particularly want to be in; contributing to a stereotype of an “angry black woman” in a way that most people tune out unless it’s presented to them differently these days. 

So what I realised was that yes, there were more important things I could be protest about or champion or fight for in that moment - but to even have the energy to take on those battles, you sometimes have to create for yourself first; create things that light your soul up, that make you happy, or you’ll burn out from all the stress (and that helps no one).

It’s okay to create something even if the only reason you have to do it is because your heart tells you to. This is how you will open up your greatest revelations. 

You don’t know how “important” your work might become until you do it. 

Heartbreak might not seem all that important to write about in relation to other issues that were going on at the time in the world. Not even in the top #10. But to someone who is going through it right now - it is #1 the most important issue in the world. And that’s okay. I would never go up to someone and minimise their pain, or compare it to other issues I believed were more important...so I have vowed not to do that to myself, or my art. 

I recognise now that importance is a subjective concept, and there is room for it all. I also recognised that:

“Not important enough” is simply another translation of the fear of actually creating something - the fear of wasting time and failing. 

Who knows where it could take you though if just this one time you ignored the fears that prevent you from trying and actually completed it?

Your work only has the potential to be worth anything if you actually make it

Everything you love today was once nothing but a doubtful idea in the mind of a neurotic creator. And it is often the things artists throw together in passion or frustration that turn out to become their most popular pieces, treasured and loved by their fans. 

It’s not your duty to analyse the thing you’re being told to create by the Universe. Ridiculous or serious, fiction or non, art is a bold statement in the world about your personal freedom, about the way you are choosing to express yourself, and your power to speak out.

So, this is me, giving you permission to create the art you want.

Your latest work might be the single piece of work that changes your life.

You literally, simply don’t know...but this is your permission to try.

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TSLS 0002 - To the person who still hasn't started their creative legacy yet

Hey you,

You who has always wanted to start a creative life, and just haven’t gotten around to it yet. You who is feeling time and life slip away because they haven’t done the things that would really make their soul sing. You who is thinking it’ll be too hard or you don’t have time or you’re too old, or too young.

To the person who knows a full life is lived through self-expression and leaving a legacy behind to inspire, educate or entertain future generations.

I know that little voice has been working overtime on you every day, making you feel worse than you should. I bet that at some point or other in your life you’ve told yourself that you’ve done “nothing” with your life. Or worse, telling yourself that you’re nothing.

Well, this may seem a little out there, but stick with me on this: being nothing right now isn’t such a bad thing.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Everyone who has any modicum of success has had to walk that line of fire and fear not knowing whether they’d even make it to the other side. But they do. And they’re stronger and braver and more ready than ever for the journey.

You have nothing because you are doing nothing. And if you continue as you are you’ll always consider yourself to BE nothing... but now is not the time to feel hopeless. Your hopelessness is the only thing preventing you from putting a dent in the universe.

So what if you’ve done anything yet? So what if you’re nothing right now?

With the right guidance, you are about to be really SOMETHING.

All you need that push that I hope I’m providing for you right now, and who knows where this life and this opportunity will take you.

Since you think you’re nothing right now, nothing you do can make you anymore insignificant than you already think you are. Nothing is at risk, except that insignificance. There’s no reason not to try.

You’re already experiencing the worst it will ever get. 

You might as well do something.

You might as well try something.

I promise you - it can only get better from here.

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