Adam is currently set to start an intense 4-week course called the altMBA from Seth Godin. We are both big fans of Seth Godin and his view of the world. We are also both in a place of trying to discover how we can use our gifts to offer something unique and different to the world. Although I am not formally taking the altMBA, I have the added benefit of learning alongside him through the process. The easiest way to learn alongside is to read alongside. Adam recently received all of his books for the upcoming month, and we both started with The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The book is a quick, easy read, but eye-opening from the start. I have been out of teaching for almost a year now. The intent of the time was to stretch myself to start something new, learn more about myself, and give us space to travel. The hardest part in that list is definitely the STARTING something new. It is terrifying to go out on a limb, put myself out there, and start something completely new. I have felt that and I have known that from the beginning, but it is hard to pinpoint the why. Steven Pressfield defines the why and gives language to how to deal with it all.
Pressfield talks a lot about Resistance. The dreaded laundry list of things that keeps us from creating, working, building, engaging, etc. Resistance can come in a lot of forms, but ultimately, it is anything blocking us from doing the hard work and sitting down to our blank screen, page, canvas, or whatever and starting. I have all the time in the world to build and create, yet I often waste away the day doing anything but those things. I write blogs when I have fun trips to talk about, but when it becomes a bit more challenging and less straight forward, I freeze. I stop. I don't engage and find every excuse to do anything but that. Coffee with a friend, baking a new treat, social media scrolling, errands, Gilmore Girls. Anything, but sitting down and allowing myself space to brainstorm and write. Resistance often stems from fear of the unknown. The unknown for me is what the result is going to be. What are people going to think? Are they even going to read, view, like, care? I am a people pleaser down to my core and always have been. When I am performing in the classroom as a student or teacher or in the pool as a swimmer, it works. When I am facing a new, unknown pursuit, it doesn't work so well. I get so caught up in wanting to know everything before starting, I never start. So that is problem number one.
The second problem comes in my hierarchical view of my art and audience. I care so much about what other people think or how they are going to respond, I don't create from what I think is important or necessary. I often "superficially" create to fit what I "think" everyone wants to read or see or hear. Yes, listening to an audience or customer is important, but I am never going to get anywhere changing who I am or what I want to create based off what I think people want from me because THAT ISN'T ME. I play the comparison game and see how others post, start, write, engage and I think I should replicate that. I watch videos and seminars and read books about it, but in the end, I need to be me. I may fail over and over, but I need to stop caring about other people and comparing myself to them because I am uniquely me. I have a mind and a perspective that no one else has. We may have similarities in taste, opinions, and writing style, but there is no other Lana. So until I stop looking to everyone else to show me what to be and what to do, I will only be a hack. Someone trying to be something I am not in a world that needs something new, not a knock-off version of something already there.
So, it will be a struggle. I will continue to leave my screen blank on some days and fail to fight Resistance, but I will keep pushing. I will push to be bold and shut down the comparison game so that I can be uniquely me.
**Picture taken St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy.