I’d say everybody who is being honest with themselves would admit that they have felt The Fear at least once in their life (most likely way more often than that). I occasionally have spurts of The Fear – and as expected – it scares the crap out of me.
You know what I’m talking about… The Fear – of failure, of messing up, of letting people down, of embarrassing yourself, and possibly most of all – of letting yourself down. The Fear is all encompassing and completely crippling. The Fear is not productive. The Fear pushes you further into the things you are afraid of, rather than helping you out of them.
On Friday I had a few hours where The Fear took over my body.
It started with an email from my accountant telling me what we owed for our 2011 taxes. (Let’s just say that as much as I saved and saved, and as prepared as I was for a big number, I was not quite truly prepared for the real number.) I realized that all my budgeting and all my number crunching had been off by a hair (but multiply that hair by 12 months and it becomes much more than a hair). I realized that my projections for the entire year ahead were off, and I immediately started to shake uncontrollably. The Fear had set in and I was having a full-on anxiety attack.
And then I started to think… Maybe I can’t do this. Maybe I can’t make this work. Maybe I’m not made to run a small business. Who cares how successful my first few months were – if I can’t manage to make this work in the long run – then what’s the point?
Then it snowballed into something more… I thought… I can’t do this. It’s not going to work. I’m not made to run a small business.
James came in and saw that I was freaking out (he’s used to this). He told me to calm down. He told me “We got this.” He told me, as he has a million times before, that we’ll make this work… look how far we’ve come… just relax.
Then I did what I know how to do. I crunched numbers. I re-evaluated 2012. I figured out what I need to book to make this work. I wrote down goals and made lists. The Fear was still in me, and my hands were still shaking – but I couldn’t sit around. I had a charity event to shoot that night and I needed to run to the dry cleaners to pick up the dress I was going to wear… I had to keep moving.
I walked to the car with The Fear still sprinting around my brain. I sat down. I put the key in the ignition. I turned it.
… Then it happened …
This song came blasting out – loud & clear – meant just for me to hear in that moment.
I started to drive as I listened to the lyrics … I turned the volume up even louder… I started to sing along… I hit the steering wheel to the beat… and as the chorus rolled in – I got louder and louder – I danced in my seat – I shook my head – (I got crazy stares from other drivers) – as I practically screamed the lyrics…
AND IT’S HARD TO DANCE WITH THE DEVIL ON YOUR BACK – SO SHAKE HIM OFF!!! OH WHOOOOAAAA… AND IT’S HARD TO DANCE WITH THE DEVIL ON YOUR BACK – SO SHAKE HIM OFF!!!
And as I danced and sang to myself in the car… with each lyric, with each beat, with each block I drove – I shook it off. And by the time I had picked up my dry cleaning and arrived back home – The Fear was gone. I knew what I had to do.
Because if I want to dance – I certainly can’t do it with the devil on my back.
… So shake him off… (Oh whoooaaa!!!)
. . . . .
**Edited to add: I had James proofread this before I posted it, and half way through he started to laugh out loud and shake his head in disbelief. I asked him why he was reacting like that and he said that he had listened to that CD on the way to the gym that morning and was nearly to the end of the album when he arrived home. He parked the car and realized that he would want to hear “Shake It Off” first the next time he got in the car – so he hit the back button 8 or 9 times to get to the song, listened for a moment, and then turned the car off. Little did he know – I would be the next one in the car and that I would need to hear that song so badly at that moment in my life. Funny how life works sometimes… huh? 🙂