The Choices We Make
By Author Donna Jean McDunn
Recently I read a blog by Martina McGowan, a Gynecologist by profession. She says she’s “not a minister (yet), or a philosopher or even a teacher, but she likes reaching out to others and helping them. She’s mentored, supported and coached people for over 30 years. She’s been a lifelong learner, a student of the Bible, as well as a seeker of knowledge, wisdom, and truth.” If she sounds like someone who could inspire you, check out her name.
She inspired me to write this blog about her message and to share it and pass it on to others. How many of us have a little voice in our heads that ridicule us and tell us we should stop striving to reach our dreams because we aren’t going to make it. Why do we listen to that voice when it’s trying to sabotage us? It’s because most of us harbor some kind of fear. So what are we afraid of? Is it fear of failing to succeed or is it fear of succeeding or something else or a combination of several fears? To fight and win against any fear, we must first examine what it is and why we fear it?
If we’re afraid of failure, and we will fail sometimes, then people will shake their heads and laugh at us. We all know someone who likes to rub failure in. You meet them unexpectedly at the store. “Hey, Donna, I hear you’ve written a book. When’s it being published?” they ask with a smirk.
That’s when the little voice, my inner critic, begins to scream in my ear. “You know no one is going to publish that thing you wrote. You’re just not good enough. She knows it and so do you.”
But what if we succeed. Our lives will change forever…a lot. More pressure will be heaped on our shoulders and more will be expected of us. We’ll need to build a platform and brand our name on the Internet, if we haven’t done it already. There will be interviews, book signings, public speaking, and so much more. It can be scary stuff, especially if you’re like me and prefer to keep yourself and your life private.
I finally figured out, my fear is actually, a combination of both fear of failure and fear of success with a dose of feeling of being unworthy and undeserving of reaching my dreams.
“You’re a nobody,” my inner critic whispers. “Why would anyone want to read or publish anything you write?” And suppose I get that best seller, then what? I have to ask myself if I’m good enough to do it again and again? And my inner critic whispers, “No way, you’re a one hit wonder.”
If you’ve read my “about” page then you know I’m a third degree blackbelt in Songahm Taekwondo. When I first began martial art training, I was doing it for myself, I had no intention of becoming a leader. All I expected to get out of the classes was to be capable of protecting myself and get into great physical condition.
But early in my journey of becoming a blackbelt, I realized, the further I advanced in Taekwondo, the more was expected of me. It wasn’t just in the discipline and sparring, but also as a leader. The more I grew in knowledge and power, the more others expected from me. I soon found myself, out there on the floor with the other leaders, teaching kids and adults the things I had learned.
Did my inner critic leave me alone? No, every time I stepped into the dojo, I had to remind myself that I was worthy of teaching. I had earned it. The mantra that kept me going then is the same one that keeps me writing today. A very wise man, Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee, passed away in 2000, but he once said, “Today not possible. Tomorrow possible.”
I understood his words to mean; when first beginning to train as a white belt, you probably couldn’t kick as high or perform with the same speed and strength as a black belt. But with the proper training and hours of practice you soon find it is possible to break a board with a jump front kick or land that round kick to your sparring partners head.
Hours are spent training and learning a martial art. As a writer we also must spend hours learning about the written word and the life that goes with it. The more we write, the more we learn and the better our writing becomes and in time, if we keep striving for our dream, we’ll see the success we have worked for. We will have earned it.
It’s all in the choices we make. We can let that inner critic stop us or we can apply what we have learned. That same lesson can be applied to anyone’s dream whether it’s writing, training in the martial arts, or seeking your dream job in corporateAmerica.
Will our inner critic shut up once we’ve realized our dream? No, he’ll always be there, trying to get us to stop, to stay safe and hidden inside ourselves, trying to protect us from disappointment and rejection. That is a truth we can’t escape because that inner critic is part of us. We can silence him only temporarily.
So, what is your dream? Is it landing that dream-job promotion or becoming a best selling author, or maybe it’s something else entirely. If we let our “inner critic” rule us, as Martina McGowan so eloquently put it, “it can bring our bright futures to a screeching halt”.
As always, I appreciate your opinions or questions. Whether you are a writer or just enjoy the written word, please, leave a comment and allow me to find your words, so I can learn what has inspired you. It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.
Some of my work can be found online: Here’s a direct link to my children’s story “Pack Leader” at Knowonder Magazine. http://www.knowonder.com/2011/11/03/pack-leader-short-bedtime-stories/
I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at www.storiesthatlift.com. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories
In May, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” will be published at Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/
In June my first adult short story, “Saving Katie” will be published at www.thepinkchameleon.com.