I’ve been feeling blocked in my side hustle. As y’all know, I’m a writer and in addition to my day job, I freelance on the side. I love words, and the writing I craft in my spare time is much different from the writing I deliver (if any) for my 9-to-5 projects.
I thought enrolling in an online business course would help me get over the hump of inaction. I’ve been stuck at the second module that gives strategies to build an audience of loyal readers and future clients. Part of the ‘homework’ for that module was blogger outreach. I was supposed to get in touch with bloggers to ask them their advice and to pitch them to guest post.
I couldn’t pitch.
I had no ideas! Which, is odd, because I ALWAYS have some sort of hair-brained idea about pretty much any topic. But for this ‘homework assignment,’ nothing.
I sabotaged myself.
What was the source of this inner resistance? It was coming from within me, obviously, but it was the result of a limitation—an old way of doing things—that I didn’t realize affected me to the point that it was my identity. Until now.
As a kid, I idolized Nadia Comăneci*, and loved gymnastics. I turned flips everyday at recess. I checked out books from the library about gymnastics. I begged my mom to put me in tumbling. Each month, I called my local gymnastics facility to inquire about prices for lessons. I pretended concrete parking lot dividers were balance beams and turned cartwheels on them without falling off. On summer days, I wore my swimsuit and turned flips in the backyard, pretending I was doing a floor exercise at the ’92 Olympics. I admired Shannon Miller, though she wasn’t Nadia. (She was from Edmond, Oklahoma.) I attended free, morning tumbling classes at elementary school that happened before school started at 9 a.m.
No matter what I did, I was never going to be able to take a ‘real’ tumbling class because there were other things–like the electric bill, the rent and dinner–that were more important than gymnastics. I was never going to be Nadia. Nor was I ever going to be Shannon Miller.
So I did what I was able to do with what I had. And that meant all I could do was dream about gymnastics and pretend.
I’m grown now, 32 almost, and I’ve finagled myself into realizing a one of my dreams: living and working in New York City. Last summer, life was amazing. I had an awesome birthday party. I was social and feeling pretty. I had a writing partner and a monthly writing group. I met a guy who was a McDreamy. I felt like I [kinda] deserved my day job.
It was the perfect mix for an Upper Limit block to show up in the form of self sabotage. I said mean things to my friend and writing buddy. I canceled the writing group. I popped off at the guy. I let obsessing over work take over my life. I quit writing. I stopped attending events. I fell into depression and hid from my friends, and I even hid from my Mama.
The root of those blocks lived within the little gymnast that didn’t happen. I had the resources to learn and pretend and dream, but I didn’t have the resources to DO. I couldn’t take action. Going from dreaming do doing is a huge mindset shift, and an even bigger identity shift. I’m no longer Krishia as a kid anymore, who checked out 30 books from the library and read them all because it was the only way she could get close to her dreams. I’m now Krishia who is an adult and a DOER of those big ideas.
Whoa. Whet? Wayment!
That’s a big commitment. I now have the resources in the form of energy and money (i.e. POWER) to do the DO (i.e. the work) toward making those dreams a tangible thing. I can be that gymnast.
The only thing holding me back is myself. I was dreaming vs. doing.
I’m the one choosing to hold on to that old those old limitations. It takes consistency, intent and gentle reminders to take the first step. It’s about being willing to turn that first cartwheel, even if my legs are crooked and I sink into the grass instead of sticking a perfect landing.
Krishia is a now the DOER of her dreams.
*I met Nadia later in life, but that’s an essay for another day.