Over lunch my friend Rebecca was telling me about completing her first 50k. The experience was so fresh for her, everything about the prep and the day tumbled out in an energetic rush. How she tried and pretty much failed to fit in training runs while attending her sister’s East Coast wedding the week before the race. How she thought she was coming down with something, how she didn’t register until Thursday for the Sunday event.
Me: Thursday! Did you worry about getting a spot?
Her: Not that many people are insane enough to want to run a 50k, I wasn’t worried.
She kept on talking while that sunk in for me. 50. Kilometers. That is 31 miles, people.
Rebecca’s a little bit nuts. She knows I think she’s an insanely talented athlete so me gaping in awe over her accomplishment was really more me being polite to her because she’s always doing something extreme.
But then she shared a little more. The longest run she’d taken prior to the actual race was 20 miles. When she said that, I was stunned. In the race, she ran 11 miles farther than she’d ever run. She just did it. She just pushed past her fears and her imperfect training and her cold coming on and she did it. She even almost missed the start due to a last minute attack of nerves on her belly. And here she was eating lunch with slightly sore feet. What separated her from the normal person in this situation? Effort.
Recently I finished reading ‘The Fear Cure’ by Lissa Rankin. Dr. Lissa is uber successful. Surely she completes everything on time; work just flows out of her like a fountain, projects blossom perfectly to completion. Except in the acknowledgments she shared that she wrote Part 1 of the book and then felt frightened by her cognitive mind’s discoveries and got stalled for two years. With three months to go before the book was due she was still stuck. She got support from her friend Rachel Naomi Remen and spent the next two months writing every day at Rachel’s famous kitchen table. So a book on fear almost did not come into being because the author of the book got scared and stuck.
Your soul is waiting for you on the other side of unhealthy compromise, says Danielle LaPorte. And when I read that I think that is about macro decisions—career path, creative callings, do I leave the relationship. But unhealthy compromise happens on the micro level too. Making a plan for today’s business activities over coffee, then spending an hour on Facebook. Putting off assembling a budget because I don’t want to know exactly what the numbers are. Skipping a workout then feeling surprised that anxiety creeps back in. Holding back from brave offerings in my business because I don’t know how things will land or sell. Saying Yes when I mean No.
I’ve been studying fear and creativity this summer and the messages to heal fear are similar to the messages to nourish creativity. Just do it. Find a way to support yourself or be supported and knock back the demons and clear the decks and create the space and just do it. Get out of your head’s way and let your heart guide you. Surrender to the power that is you. Because if you don’t do it, the sun will surely rise tomorrow and you won't have done it.
We put our teachers, our leaders up on pedestals. They can achieve great heights because of their gifts or their spectacular support systems. If they have a problem, they simply shore up by contacting another genius on their teams. That is true. But how they got those support systems, how they grew their gifts…that process is the same for them as it is for you and me. They just took on their tasks one simple step at a time. They ignored their oncoming colds, they shut off Facebook, they got on their mats, they knew the deadline was coming, they didn’t want to say yes so they said no, they just Got. It. Done.