Clients often come to me with a writing goal in mind, but they have so much anxiety about meeting the goal that they can’t really see it clearly.
We can learn to start working even when we feel anxiety, but we can’t work well unless we have a sense of clarity – right here, right now, in the present moment – about what we’re doing.
This exercise will bring about that necessary clarity.
Think about the feelings you’re having about your current writing goal or dream. Then get out your journal and write your responses to these questions:
What do they feel like in your body?
What phrases do you hear in your head?
What are some fears you have about what could happen?
What setbacks do you worry about?
Who are you concerned about disappointing?
What is your worst case scenario?
Answering these questions helps you get clear about your worries and fears. It is like turning on the light in a dark closet. See? No monsters there. Just everyday, human feelings.
Now we can move on to the sunlight.
Time yourself, and for two minutes, describe the higher goal and purpose for your work.
Follow up by responding to these questions:
How will doing this work change you?
What concrete benefits will you get from it?
How will this work serve the world?
When I have done this exercise with clients, they begin to get clarity on their anxieties, and this allows them to make room for the wider vision of what they are doing. And this leads to what I call “Co-Creating Wisdom,” the insights that come from using journaling as a tool to be honest and dig deep into the truth of who you are and what you are doing:
The work you do is not an end in itself.
Work is also a road that leads you to greater growth.
Work is a doorway for others who come after you.
Work is a way of being that helps co-create the world.
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a writing coach with 20 years of experience teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels in universities, as well as in diverse community settings. She specializes in working with women in academe.