The universe that exists in such a powerful little word, "no".  Often the first word little people learn to say where I come from.

Oh I know how to say this word, and I know when I want to say it. Still, I find this word takes effort and involves a bit of fear on my end. Why? What for?

To that end here is a list of fears that are coming to the surface as I walk this 30 day challenge out. Fears that I want to say "no" to, and find an alternate story to live:

  1. Blogging. I fear blogging. Probably because I've started, stopped, tried to find momentum and repeatedly hit archive on posts that made little or no sense to have out in the wild and longer. Likely because I dislike the idea of starting something that is never finished.
  2. Speaking. Publicly. Here too I do this somewhat regularly both formally and informally. Nonetheless, it's something that I believe is useful, powerful and which pushes me to a limit of discomfort. Why fear this? Lack of preparedness, clarity, or belief that what I bring is worth it.
  3. Rejection. On the one hand I am more comfortable with this reality than previous times. And I am pleased with that. As a recovering people pleaser there is healing in rejection. The knowledge that I am not required to make everyone in my life happy: what a relief. On the other hand... it sure is nice when an individual or group I want to work with says YES to me, my proposals for action or thanks me for my contribution to their goals. And it still hurts when people say no to continuing or starting to work with me when I was hoping for a yes.
  4. Poverty. I dislike not being able to give of my time, talents and resources. The idea of not having enough, scarcity and hunger frighten me. Rarely have I ever experienced this to the point of going hungry, yet there have been times when I did not know where or how I was going to meet obligations. When just trying to survive, it is challenging to live out vision and reach for goals beyond just making it through the day.
  5. A dirty house, an inhospitable home. For some reason this is an area of fear and freak out internally. It's not that I don't enjoy getting my hands dirty, sweating, plowing, planting, digging or a good ol' mud fight. Bring it on!
    Just please, let me live in a house I am not ashamed to have guests in, a home where I can walk barefoot without last nights dinner sticking to my toes, a home where yesterday's dinner and dirty dishes don't smack my brain first thing in the morning. Ughh... just a little mental and emotional energy on this topic. What is the fear? Disfunction, discord, inability to care for oneself or others.
  6. Calendars, schedules and commitment. Oh my. Let's not get carried away. Why do calendars scare me? What is it about routine and schedules that make my brain/heart/soul want to jump ship? Commitment? Isn't that the glue that holds everything in life together - the opposite of sheer chaos? What's to fear???

Oh sure, there's more. But it's time to turn a page and acknowledge the power that is mine to change the story. As I was reminded, often our fears are based on a single possible outcome. We tend to focus on the negative outcome.

So here's my attempt to reframe the story regarding these fears:

  1. What's there to lose if I start blogging on topics I think can help a specific audience? What if it actually connects, becomes a habit and a resource that people get real support and help with issues that I take time to research, reiterate and simplify for their application?
  2. What if I get intentional about doing more speaking/presenting? Perhaps a 1 year challenge to speak publicly 30 times? Where would I speak, to whom and what topics do I want to address? What if I bomb, what do I have to lose? What if I connect a percentage of the time? What do I want to get out of these experiences?
  3. What if I embrace rejection and go on a sprint to introduce myself as a person who can serve them as individuals and business owners? What do I need to offer to be understood as legitimately willing to help?
  4. I think the fear of need/lack has a lot to do with a subset of fears: planning, scheduling, commitment, feeling indebted to people I'll never be able to fully repay.
    So, the new story?
    a) What if I was more transparent about what I need and people felt empowered to give?
    b) What if I reduce unnecessary obligations by graciously saying no, bowing out when such obligations are outside my area of commitment/vision/strength.
    c) Stay positive and practical in putting vision ahead of scarcity mindset. This might require some exploration to encourage the generosity mindset that I want to have.
  5. What if I embraced my home which needs so much work as an opportunity to practice hospitality in spite of so much expensive work needing to be done? What if I saw repairs as an opportunity to demonstrate to myself and my kids that vision can be fulfilled incrementally. What if I learn to love what I have, how would that improve my life.
  6. Ok, I think this last fear - getting organized is a demonstration of fearing what I do not know. That's not something irreparable. I can learn how to manage my energy, time and commitments. What if I was the organized person with plans that can flex and systems that can adapt to the constant change factor of life? Is there not a framework I can bend to my will and own my days instead of letting them own me?

What if?
I think that's my new phrase for this week. Imagine the possibilities IF I rewrite the stories I tell myself today.