Over the last few weeks, I realized that I’d been motivated by an unreasoning fear that whispered in my ear, “You’re not doing enough.” It came to a head last week for me when someone said to me, “How do you remember everything and get it all done?” Of course, my immediate reaction was, “Huh? Would you like to see my list of mistakes?”

When I blog, I don’t look at my list of blank blog entries. Rather, I look at the list of ones I’ve written. The former is uninspiring because it doesn’t exist. Like vague, unreasonable fears that spur one on, they lack the specificity of success. When I fear the idea of not succeeding, it is vagueness that stifles me like a wave of bitterness and frustration. When I succeed, it is the specifics of the work, the creations and juxtapositions that inspire me. The lesson appear simple–be specific in your work to achieve success, and welcome the fear insomuch as it helps you dis-spell the vague cloud of terror.

In the spirit of acknowledging my fears, thanks to Dan Rockwell on Tapping the Fear-side of Motivation, here’s my list:

  1. I am afraid that my ideas will be discounted.
  2. I am afraid that when I share my ideas aloud, rather than in writing, they will be judged inadequate and discarded without the opportunity to explore them.
  3. I am afraid that in spite of my best efforts so far, I am not bringing about changes to the status quo that need to take place, that everyone needs to have happen.
  4. I am afraid that even though I am successful in one way, I have failed utterly in another.
  5. I am afraid that my work is already a failure, that I am a has-been, and I have been unable to achieve some goal that I should have attained.
As I review my list, I see how wrong my fears are. Let me be specific:
  1. I know that my ideas are seen by thousands each day, and some of those actually take root in fertile soil (The Parable of the Sower comes to mind).
  2. I know that if I take as much time to listen, and share my ideas aloud, that they may help all arrive to a better idea than the one suggested by my single perspective. My goal is less to my idea succeed than to see OUR idea advance the organization’s goals.
  3. I know that I’ve had significant impact on the status quo, but to achieve real change, I must enlist others and help them recognize the value of reaching mutual purpose.
  4. No person is perfect, and I must learn to focus on my strengths and “staff my weaknesses,” as John Maxwell points out.
  5. So what? I can’t achieve everything in all. I need to focus on doing what i can, where I am, blooming where I’m planted.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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