For anyone who’s entertaining an impossible idea, lofty dream, or a nudge to try something you’ve never done before, beware of these dangerous thoughts. They are small, only a single sentence, but they are enough to discourage you from ever giving it a go and moving in the rhythm of risk.
I’ve never seen anybody do this before.
This thought tries to convince you that you are crazy, you can’t really do this. It’s silly. Nobody would understand.
Or perhaps you hear the other side of the spectrum…
I think too many people are doing that already.
This thought likes to remind you that what you are doing isn’t any different than her. In addition to making you feel like a copycat, it makes sure to point out all the people doing the same thing and probably even better than you would.
Or what about this one…
It’s not big enough.
The sole purpose of this thought is to let you know you aren’t wild enough. The risk you want to take, the idea you have…it’s too small, too tame. Your dreams need to be bigger, or they don’t really count. This won’t turn heads, no one will even know. Would it even be considered “world changing”? In the end, it pressures you to use your time and energy in a more profitable place.
It’s too big.
This thought wants to accuse you of being a overly confident expert, a gregarious dreamer, a hope-filled optimist. It will make sure to list out all the resources, time, and miracles you don’t have and will eventually need to accomplish anything. It convinces you to scale down, step back, and stay invisible.
And then we can’t forget these two…
I wonder what they will think of me.
This thought will put your dreams directly into the hands of other people’s opinions. What might start as an innocent curiosity of wanting to know a friend’s thoughts about what you’re doing, turns into full-fledged fear of moving before everyone gives you their stamp of approval.
I don’t know if this will work.
This thought’s mission is to keep you on the couch, in the chair, in your head dwelling in the land of worst case scenarios. It will plant ugly images of you failing, quitting half-way, the whole project flopping and you not strong enough to get back up again.
Do you resonate with any of these negative thoughts? Then, guess what? It’s a good sign you are on the right track. Keep following the scent of heaven down the corridors of your heart, my friend.
Might I encourage you to walk, maybe even start running, along the trail of what if and decide not to turn back even when your thoughts want to tell you otherwise.
Then, practice this:
- Become aware of these thoughts that make you feel yuck, heavy, ashamed, and stuck.
- Acknowledge them and their incompleteness. Whether that’s writing them down in a journal, telling a trusted friend, or saying it aloud in your kitchen. Recognize they are only partial; they are not a whole and complete thought. These thoughts are half-baked and will make us sick.
- Don’t give them space in your head.
- Reword and massage the thought around in your mind until it is life-giving, healthy, and serves you well. (example: “I don’t know if this will work,” becomes “I’m not afraid to fail, and I am curious to see what will happen!” Or “I think too many people are doing that already,” becomes “There will always be space for me to contribute my unique offering/gift/idea/words.” )
- Repeat as often as necessary.