Truth+Panic=Purpose. How Feedback That Terrorizes You Can Lead You to Your One Big Thing That Puts the Bird in Your Chest
JC threw another Minionism at me.
That’s what I’m calling the periodic spurts of ridiculously smart shit that my buddy JC Spears fires at me with white-hot speed. They fly by me so fast that it’s like trying to capture a dive-bombing kingfisher.
This one really, really stung, with all the truth of a gotcha.
I love this guy.
We were discussing what happens when we bring in what I call the Circle, what JC calls his Justice League, when we are going through massive change.
He said that in the middle of all this idea gathering, this consulting, this ideating (you can always tell a recovering Disney Cast Member, my hand is up), he said:
Someone can hit you with a really good idea. Then you panic.
Savor that for a sec, folks.
There is such intense truth in this.
Here’s an example from my life.
In 1989, I was living with the guy whom I would later marry (and divorce, so what). We were walking through our apartment in Arvada, Colorado. Arguing. My then-BF said that I should write a book.
The fury rose in me so swiftly that I tore the watch off my left arm and buried it in the living room drywall. I screamed at him at the top of my lungs.
That’s panic. I was fucking terrified.
Fast forward to 2019. I am a quadruple prize-winning author. So far on Medium I’ve produced some 2100 articles. Five hundred on Linked In. Two books, working on a third. I am a really good writer, I love it, and if I’m fortunate I will continue to be very good at it. My writing work gets me clients all over the world.
He was dead right.
And I wasn’t ready to hear it. All I could hear was what I can’t do, I’m fucking terrified, YOU HAVE NO IDEA, I can’t do that. You don’t understand.
Yeah, actually, he did.
Tell me you don’t know precisely how this feels.
Buddy of mine a while back was in an intense relationship with a woman up in Connecticut. She told him that they should go to a writer’s workshop that was being offered as a week-long retreat during the fall of that year, right about the time the maples would be their reddest. Massachusetts. I’ve been there in fall to write. Breathtaking. My buddy demurred.
Me? A writer? He mulled. Not me, man.
He panicked. They never went.
My buddy at that time had already finished three books in a series on branding that went on to be national bestsellers.
Him? A writer? Hell no.
He later went on to write many more best-selling books. Has coached others to write prize winning books.
She was dead right.
JC is also dead right. He often is, with that annoying habit of his to hurl really smart shit at me too fast, leaving me to scramble to keep up.
So today I received a book that I ordered as part of the research that we need to do if we’re going to write a book that sells . We have to either peruse the bookstore to see what might sit next to our book (how is ours different, how can we offer something new and different, etc).
The book I ordered was UnF*ck Yourself, by Gary John Bishop.
Opened it at random, as I am wont to do.
First words I read: You’re an addict.
Fuck you. You don’t understand.
Yeah. He does. He’s dead right.
Which is why I can’t wait to read the rest of this book. I felt like the SOB just rummaged through my underwear drawer and found my stash.
Because he did. We are all addicted to something. The trick is to know it, harness it, use it and get on with it. To be able do what you’re here to do. To give your gifts to the world.
What I have learned, and what JC’s comment helped raise like a massive neon sign in my face, is that the greatest truths about what make me (and you and you and you) extraordinary often do the best job of scaring the holy shit out of us.
That truth- and the panic that ensues- is precisely the proof you and I need that this idea, this suggestion speaks to something so deep, so powerful, it could be our One Big Thing.
The one thing that puts the bird in your chest.
We all have one. It varies wildly. Yet most of us run from the panic and live out our lives safely in the shade of the protective umbrella of “I couldn’t do that.”
Yah. You could.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
When someone shows your Light, you may panic.
I have. We all likely have. Some of us try to punish the Light-Bearer. Good thing my watch hit the drywall instead of the BF’s brain pan.
But make no mistake. If you panic, you may well just have been exposed to your Brilliance. Your true gift.
It may not yet be time for that bird to land back in your chest. But it is waiting for you to allow him to sing.