A lack of self-trust could be the precursor to fear that keep us from doing our good work in the world.
“I think you have to decide whether acceptance or uniqueness is a higher value
for you….I spent so much of my life wanting to be accepted. And in that acceptance,
I always felt I had to sacrifice my uniqueness. What set me free along the way
was this one day, I decided I’m no longer going to live a life of obligation. I’m going to live
a life of intention. And even if being uniquely me means I walk alone, I’d rather do that.”
~ Erwin Raphael McManus conversation with Lewis Howes on School of Greatness podcast
The deadline to select the subtitle of my book was upon me. The meter on pondering, mulling over, researching, and polling had run out. I had narrowed a once-wide field of contenders down to two options.
Option A was clear and managed expectations. Option B was clear and promised exuberant results. When I tested the options online by polling anonymous input, the results were divided nearly 50/50. Not much help.
But the comments from those who gave their opinion were telling: those who selected Option A said they did so because Option B seemed “too over the top.” Those who selected Option B did so because it was exciting, aspirational, high energy.
I remained torn. People I really respected said they preferred Option A. I kept leaning toward the fun and spirit and liveliness of Option B.
Tick tock. Tick tock. I had to decide.
It’s Not Just Fear
I selected several of my past and current clients and texted two options, asking them to vote. Immediately, the responses came in, signaled with rapid tones emanating from my phone. 100% of my ideal clients resoundingly voted for Option B.
I had my answer.
My ideal readers will be attracted to the vitality and promise of the more inspirational subtitle. It will spark a desire to jump on board with me, go on a delicious adventure, and importantly, do the work that is required to enjoy transformational results.
Work that requires a willingness to tolerate uncertainty and making mistakes. Not unlike what was required of me to choose the more lively, edgy subtitle.
I also realized this: I had clung to the more conservative subtitle because a part of me worried I would lose acceptance if I did not select it. I was almost ready to sacrifice uniqueness and the true me to stay in the zone of perceived safety.
Something I regularly coach others not to do. A topic I address over and over in my book!
Self-Trust: The Precursor to Fear
When we are stuck or in a holding pattern, we will often say to ourselves that we aren’t moving because of fear. It’s not just fear. It’s fear rooted in a lack of self-trust that stops us.
Take a moment and do a brief inventory of where you are not moving forward to pursue something that is calling your heart. A juicy dream or desire or goal that you crave. Write down all the reasons you are not taking action.
Now, take a long look at your fear-based rationalizations for marching in place. Can you spot where you are clinging to acceptance or acting out of obligation? Where do you not trust your own judgment or ability?
Self-trust is a muscle that must be warmed up, stretched, and strengthened in tiny increments. It’s not a zero to 150-pound dead lift done overnight. We start by leaning toward what it is we truly want and get clear on what would comprise some early and easy wins.
The Tiniest Step
What smallest possible dose of action would signal to your soul that you can manage this new action/decision/pursuit? Take that tiniest of steps.
Once on the other side of that first action, resist the urge to retreat back into the shrubbery of small living. Recognize and reward your courage and then get right back on the pony and take the next step.
We arrive at the sweet summit of uniqueness and feeling vibrant and alive from intentional decisions and almost imperceptible moves. One choice after another to uncurl our fingers and let slip the old baggage of obligation.