Expressing your unique heartfelt message to the world is not easy stuff.
We find so many reasons to stop ourselves from sharing our work and message. Letting our voices be heard isn’t always simple.
At first, it can look like a business or marketing problem. And it is for sure when your work and livelihood depend on it.
But when you dig down deeper, the truth of the matter is that it’s a soul problem.
In her book Light is the New Black, Rebecca Campbell describes our call to express ourselves:
“We came into this life with it, if it’s not tended to it will be right there when we die. It drives our deepest desires (our best decisions and our worst). It’s lying beside us when we wake up in the night and when we make a cup of tea. It’s there through the highs and all of the lows. The ache is your soul calling, and no matter what you do to ignore it, numb it out, or die it down, it will never go away.
Until we take the time to invite it to sit down and share with us, we will always feel a little uncomfortable. A touch off-kilter. Like something isn’t quite right. Answer the ache.”
If you feel called to do something – to make your own mark – it’s going to go away.
Allowing your beauty and light to shine is imperative to your soul. When we shut ourselves down, it denies a deep part if ourselves.
Here are some common ways we do this:
1. Letting fear run the show.
Fear of what people think. Fear of being seen. Fear of success. Fear of failure. The list of fears is infinite.
The thing about fear is that despite what we may think, it’s never going away. It is part of our primitive brains. So we have to learn to work with fear, acknowledge it, but then do the brave step of acting anyway.
Because the truth is that the only way to really build confidence is to do the thing you are afraid of doing. As Steven Pressfield says, fear is actually a beacon showing us exactly what we need to do.
2. Being unclear on what you want to say and why.
It’s hard to focus on creating meaningful content when you aren’t clear on your message. You’re all over the place jumping from thing to thing. I know first hand that staying in a space of uncertainty is a great way to waste all sorts of time.
But when you have a specific focus, things change. I’ve found that I have to remind myself of my focus on a daily basis. My hunch is that this is because my brain is so used to ruminating in the space of fog for so many years. But when I finally actually wrote out the basics — my message, my mission and vision, my manifesto — I got so much more clear. And I now use these foundational pieces to anchor me each day.
3. Feeling overwhelmed with options.
These days there are so many awesome tools out there to communicate and connect. We have blogs, podcasts, videos, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Periscope, LinkedIn, and on and on. But it can be overwhelming.
But the reality is this: we’re not meant to do them all. And trying to is a bad idea because instead of doing a few things well, we splatter ourselves across them all. The key here is to choose what resonates for you. Commit to it and let go of the rest. You can always reassess down the line.
4. Creating a plan you dread.
This is the worst. Have you ever done this? You spend your precious time and brainstorm blog topics for the next several months. You feel so satisfied that you have it all laid out in a neat little plan.
But then it comes time to actually write the posts and you have exactly zero enthusiasm. No inspiration what so ever.
Feeling shackled to something is no way to live or work. If you’ve created a plan you dread, it’s to time ditch it and start over. Get centered. Get clear on what you are doing and why. Create a content strategy that makes sense and feels right on a deeper level.
5. Letting resistance run the show.
When we don’t feel inspired we drag our feet and procrastinate. We resist the heck out of doing our work.
I love this quote from Cheryl Strayed…”Your business is to make good on your intentions.” What I love about this is that it’s so simple. What have you promised yourself that you’ll do? Keeping promises with yourself is a soul matter. It’s a contract you’ve made with your deepest self and your only charge is making good on it.
Because you can’t wait until you’re inspired to create. The best thing to do to is to give yourself more time and space to create than you normally would, knowing that resistance will creep in over and over. You’ll have less productive days. But when all else fails, you can hold up the fact that you showed up and kept to your commitment.
6. Not having habits in place.
Which brings me to this last one that can really be the antidote to all the rest. When we don’t have habits in place things go awry before we even start.
Setting aside a specific time each day to create is key. I struggle with this BIG time. But I’ve realized that the only way out of it is through. Committing to the habit and sitting down and doing the work is key. Sometimes the work is good and others not so much. But the point is to develop the practice and create a habit.
So when you find yourself resisting your work, remember your promise to yourself — that greater soul calling.
And think about this: all the people whose work has impacted your life because they shared their message and work with the world. It may have been a book you read, a line in a song, a piece of advice that hit you just when you were down and out. If those people never sat down and created that magical thing, you would have missed out.
Do your work even when it’s hard and it sucks. Know that fear, resistance, and overwhelm will undoubtedly show up. Find ways to anchor yourself to your message.
Create a plan that feels good and work to put habits in place. Keep your commitments. Because it’s time to get your message out.