I almost didn’t write this.
All sorts of seemingly valid bullshit reasons why I shouldn’t swam through my mind.
“You don’t really know what you’re saying. Who are you to write about this when you haven’t gotten your shit completely together?”
“Enough people have talked about this already. You’re just contributing to the noise.”
“Doing something else would be easier, give yourself a break and go see what’s on Facebook.”
This type of thinking illustrates how collapsed I am internally.
What do I mean by this? All of the energy is focused on me and my fears. I’m fixated on what the cost and consequences will be for me to show up, do the work and ship.
If you’re really clever you’ll see what’s underlying all of this resistance is a fear of putting myself in a authority position. The temptation to remain a spectator and passive consumer is very strong.
The reality is all of these rationalizes are valid. It really would be much easier to stay small and not show up.
So, the question is: If we don’t want to stay in a hole our entire lives, how do we counteract this impulse to contract? How do we step up and lead even when it’s hard?
The Antidote: introducing the One Person Rule
The challenge creatives and digital renegades often have is in tying in our efforts to the impact it makes in the real world. We might toil away for months on a book that doesn’t impact people until it actually reaches their neocortex a year later. Or we may publish a blog post and it really does positively affect someone instantly, but because we can’t actually witness their change in the real world we assume that nothing happened.
So, how do we reconcile this?
I’ve found that it’s incredibly valuable to think about one person that I might impact with my writing. That might be a reader that regularly comments, or it could be an imaginary person that I just made up in my own mind. It doesn’t really matter, just imagining helping this person and envisioning what they’re struggling with is enough.
Now, I want you to play a game with me for a second. Pretend that you were put here on this earth to help this one person, and that some cosmic connection was formed between you and them for a very specific reason.
Just play along with me…
Imagine that if you don’t help this person, it could cause them a lot of pain, perhaps so much that they may never realize their potential.
If you want to take it a step further, you can imagine how you not showing up might then impact the people around them. You can keep playing this ripple effect game in your mind until you feel like it hurts not to take action.
Another way of playing this game is imagining all of the positive ripples you showing up and leading will have on this person. Some of us are more motivated by loss, and others are more motivated by gain. So, feel free to play around with this and see what has the biggest motivational impact for you personally.
If you did the exercise (you did do it right?) you’ve seen how powerful it can be to pull yourself out of your own limited fears, and expand your awareness to how you showing up or not showing up impacts others.
I believe that if you can just impact one person for the better, it’s worth showing up.
The gamble is that you may or may not impact anyone. But your odds are 100% certain that you won’t help anyone if you don’t show up.
The truth is I don’t know if writing this and showing up was worth it. I could have just screwed around on Facebook.
But at least now I can end my day knowing I tried.