“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
I have always adored Marianne Williamson’s poem, to this day, reading it or hearing it gives me goosebumps. Why does it have this effect on me? It is because this poem so precisely identifies my own fears. My fears of doing great things. When I was younger I played a sport and I was always told how much potential I had, all the way through university where I had an athletic scholarship. For years, I could not even think about that time in my left because it left me so disillusioned with the talent and opportunities that I squandered. In the past year I have confronted that past and made peace with it, but to push myself to dream bigger, to layout, on display, all of my vulnerabilities for the world to pass judgement on brings these old fears back to the surface.
This is my most difficult constraint, the ego, actually the fear that drives the ego is my greatest constraint. I now know what it is, I have said its name out loud and have I have started to diminish its power over me. However, it is a persistent fucker and every night while I sleep it creeps ever do quietly back into my mind. How do I overcome this? This is what I tried this morning. I named my fear Frankie. I do not personally know any Frankies so it has no emotional connection to it, but by naming Frankie, I can now talk to her each morning. This morning said hello, I acknowledged her presence and then told her that she doesn’t get to run around and play all day sowing fear in my head. Instead she will sit quietly playing in the corner. I know she is there, but she doesn’t get to run the show any more. And when she feels like acting out, I can just as easily politely, but firmly tell her to get back to playing elsewhere. I have decided to integrate Frankie into my day, remembering to acknowledge her presence, but do so without allowing her to run things.
Frankie is also the culprit for my focus constraint. She is the one saying “Let’s go look at Instagram or let’s check emails instead of doing the hard work that I know is just around the corner.” It is always just when I start to see the formation of a mental well, whether it be with writing or reflection or an interesting task, that Frankie starts suggesting other stuff to do. One great suggestion about time use that I have been exposed to, but have never actually utilized is working in sprints with breaks. Breaks that allow Frankie and I a little bit of playtime/relaxation before she gets back to quietly playing and I get back to making a ruckus.
The bigger take away
Frankie was telling me that this idea better be good! Because if not, I have wasted my altMBA experience and I will be wasting my time going forward. That is when Frankie did her job and helped me realize that I do not have to build a fortune 500 company today. Nor does this next idea have to be my lasting legacy. Instead it is a step in my exploration. It is a conscience step that I am taking with a stronger understanding of why I am pursuing it and with a structure that is solid and sound. However, I can do this without needing to think this will be the sum of all my parts. I am striving to create something great, but at the same time giving myself the compassion that says, I do not have to create the next Apple tomorrow. Instead I will take what I have learned, apply to this goal, ship this project and then apply to the next goal, and continue one foot in front of the other.