Is it true that we rarely rise higher than our self-doubt? This week I’ve been pondering a statement I found in the manuscript I’m currently editing. The actual wording is: “Few people rise higher than their self-doubt”. When I first read that I thought: That’s so true! That’s deep, man. How often do our fears, our lack of confidence, our doubt, hold us back from achieving our heart’s desire?
I can remember, back in ye olde school days, desperately wanting to sing in the school concert but I was too afraid of not being good enough, so I didn’t audition and missed out. Now don’t feel too sad; in later years I participated in numerous musicals and theatre productions. I even sang in a “folk club” in a hotel for a short while! But I confess, any situation in which I’m being “assessed” (I translate as: judged) I break out into a cold sweat, get an attack of the runny-bums and will go out of my way to avoid it. I truly admire those brave souls who try out for televised talent shows and face possible public humiliation.
One of the reasons I’m such a late-starter as a writer is that when (back in my early twenties) I screwed up the nerve, hoiked up my loins and finally sent off a submission to a magazine, it was returned with a page-long rejection letter. I took that as the universe telling me: You really aren’t good enough. So I retreated into my cave and merely wrote for my own pleasure. I lived in a country town and had no real contact with any other writer, so I had no idea that a page-long rejection letter was not only unusual, it was downright fabulous. Talk about the “if-only-what-if-why-didn’t-what-could-have-been” blues!
However, I did finally take the plunge, signed up for a workshop or two and put myself out there once more. Many of my friends, especially the creative types, have done the same thing. They’ve decided that their passion for what they do is stronger than their fear of failure and the pain of rejection, and they keep on keeping on. And well done, everyone!
Back to the statement: Few people rise higher than their self-doubt. I understand the sentiment but I think it’s not correct. Many people do rise higher…etc. Perhaps it would be better to say: If you want to achieve your heart’s desire/your life’s purpose/your raison d’etre, you must overcome your self-doubt. You must choose to ignore that nasty, nagging, negative little voice in your head until it becomes no more than a nuisance, and a whispering one at that.
Hearty congratulations to all of you who choose to face your fears and soldier on. Good on, ya! Well done. Give yourself a big pat on the back (if you can reach – you lucky ducks) and say: I think – no – I know I can!
(Okay Wendy, preaching to yourself here so, bum down, head down and get on with it.)