At the beginning of the year I decided I needed to finish my 2nd book. So when i came across a challenge on Facebook from a best selling writer to write 500 words a day, I, with heart pounding , signed up. The first day or two were good because I was still on holiday and had free time on my hands, but then the resistance which I have been battling for almost two years started to creep up again.
I have spend the last two years being very haphazard with my writing. If I were to rattle off some excuses I would list that we immigrated from SA to NZ, started a new job, started a new business and lost my mom in that time, but hey, I am a life coach, I can do this right? No excuses gal, put on your big girl panties!
Anyway, the few days that I sat down to write my 500 words were amazing, I remembered why I enjoy writing so much. It enables me to let the words that are all clogged up on the inside and the ideas that bang around my head like a pinball machine to march across the page like beautiful little children, all different and seemingly chaotic and yet, and this is still why I love paper books, there is nothing more beautiful that thousands of letters put together in bunches of words and groups of paragraphs. As I write this I chuckle because I have a high value in Connection and letters, words and paragraphs look like communities. I know - I am weird. BUT THIS IS ME!!
Anyway, sorry about that little poetic meander. This year is a year that I have purposed to practice vulnerability, which is to, in the esteemed Prof. Brown’s words, “….not a weakness, vulnerability is when you show up and be seen when you have zero control of the outcome.” “Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.”
So because the group is also a place where other writers are probably having the same struggles, I posted a vulnerable message telling them that I was battling.
"So going to be totally vulnerable here. I am really battling with writing at the moment. I have a book I have to write. I also blog once a week. When I sit down to actually write, the words flow and I get good stuff. But I seem to be actively resisting writing and I can’t figure out why. This is crazy because my goal this year is to Show up and Be seen. Seem to be hiding when it comes to writing.”
There were some great words of encouragement, even some saying that they were feeling the same and it was awesome to get the support, but two comments were particularly helpful, because they nailed it on his head.
"….. If you keep showing up the "..be seen" will come but nothing will be seen if we don't show up."
"You’ve said you’ll be a lot more open with this book and also that your goal is to show up and be seen - maybe your conflict lies therein. ……Whatever your resistance is, it’s just a protective mechanism that no longer serves."
The thing about writing a book, taking that promotion, starting that business, saying "I love you", asking “will you marry me?” is that we step into our Arena. We step into the light or are stepping on to the platform. And even if you know you belong there and you want to be there, it is comes with incredible resistance. As I write this, a very powerful session I had with a client comes to mind, so you think because I walked someone through their breakthrough in this I wouldn’t be squinting my eyes and waiting in the shadows. It is easy when you are cheering from the sidelines….
Isn’t it interesting that the very stage you are destined to shine on, feels like the very stage you have no right to be on. My theory. I believe we are designed on purpose for a purpose. We have everything we need and what we don’t will be developed by the paths life takes us on. I believe that when we show up on that stage or in our arena, we will shine or fight for something that will change the lives of many others. I think this is where the resistance lies, I believe that Fear and Shame would us rather tremble on the side lines so that we never give the courage to others to arise and shine.
Another things that keeps us hiding in the shadows are the arrows of words, and opinions and just plain nastiness that are bound to come from the people in the cheap seats. They are especially mean on the on-line arena and platforms. We have to decide when we take our place in the centre of the stage or arena whose words we will allow to penetrate, because closing off our heart isn’t an option if we are doing vulnerability. And not having to have people disagree with us and fervently tell us isn’t going to happen, it is today’s reality.
It is time for us to take our place, and to draw the lines in the sand on what we will allow to affect us. A really great coach once told me “What other people think about you is none of your business!” So I invite you if you have an arena to take your stand in or a stage to shine on, to take heart, be courageous and Arise and Shine.
Brene Brown’s advice for those who shout insults from the cheap seats is that if they are not in the arena she will not take their advice or criticism. I think this is pretty good advice. I will leave you with the quote she uses to justify her stance, and I hope it will encourage you to step up, show up and shine.
THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
What is the arena you will dare greatly in?