June Converse

Thriving After Trauma - Author and Writing Coach

“Doubt is the motor for failure.” ~ Professor T available on Amazon Prime

I’ve heard many cutesy quotes about doubt and about failure. But for some reason, this particular quote struck a chord and it keeps rolling in my mind. I decided to look at the ways I doubt and evaluate if these doubts are causing me to be unsuccessful. How are these doubts a motor to failure?

But I don’t want my blogs (or me) to focus only on the negative and the struggle. So, after I look at the struggles, I’m going to look at the successes. And – dammit – I’m going to have more successes than doubts.

Doubt and Failure

  • I doubt I’ll ever be satisfied with my body.
    • Motor:  I haven’t opened the Body Kindness book that more than one therapist has suggested.
  • I doubt I’ll ever be a great, bestselling writer.
    • Motor: I haven’t bothered to research, with any seriousness, publishers or self-published marketing techniques. If I don’t try, I might fail.  Yikes! That’s wrong. I need to think:  If I don’t try, I will definitely fail.
  • I doubt I’ll ever stop compulsive behavior (spending or taking on too much responsibility).
    • Motor: I often tell myself – “Go ahead and do it. You know you’re going to. So quit trying to talk yourself out of it.” – That is a LOUD motor.
  • I doubt people like me for me.
    • Motor: I have a tendency to buy things for people. Kind of a ‘buying their love’ attitude.

Courage and Success

There are many antonyms for doubt. But I think the opposite of doubt is courage. The courage to risk failure and find success. I may have areas where doubt drives failure but I have more where courage drives success.

  • I am courageous when I write and share these blogs.
  • I am courageous when I work on my novel and listen to my writing coach (tammyletherer.com) and work hard to get better.
  • I am courageous when I go the gym and let a trainer push me farther than I could ever push myself.
  • I am courageous when I let @EmilyAborn (emilyaborn.com) manage my social media and allow her to post pictures and problems that make me vulnerable.
  • I am courageous when I keep teaching classes and force myself out of my bubble.
  • I am courageous when I host a party every quarter so that I maintain the new friendships I’ve developed.
  • I am courageous when I don’t pretend to have faith or pretend to have it all together or pretend to be anyone other than who I am.
  • I am courageous when I clean my house but don’t make that more important than my family and friends.  (My mother was more concerned about having a clean house than anything or anyone else and I don’t want to repeat that pattern.)
  • I am courageous when I maintain my boundaries and self-respect even if that means I have to walk away from friends.

I did it! I found more courage than doubt. But that doesn’t change the truth:  I need to fight doubt with every fiber of my being.

Fighting Doubt

Actually, I believe this blog will help me fight because I’ve discovered and admitted these problem areas. Often, we don’t change because we don’t take the time to investigate. I won’t try to work everything because that might set me up to fail and failure will just add fuel to doubt. But I will:  Open that damn Body Kindness book.

Once I’ve done that for a few days (long enough to prove to myself I can handle and benefit from the information and activities), THEN I’ll tiptoe into publishing and book marketing. It’s an overwhelming topic with no clear answers or direction. There are a lot of frauds and bad information and people simply asking for money. It’s hard to navigate … Do you recognize those last few sentences as more doubt fueling more failure?  This one may be a harder nut to crack. I will find a way.

Doubt is the motor for failure.  AND

Courage is the motor for success.

Click HERE to download the Journaling Activity that goes with this blog

In yesterday's post, I talked about developing a campaign for myself.  I listed several potential goals that I want to analyze and consider carefully before I choose to apply "aggressive activities" that direction.  With that in mind, I created the following questionnaire for myself and wanted to share it with you.  It's a living document and will likely change once I start using it but I think it's a nice beginning. It might seem like a lot of effort just for goal setting but I'm thinking of it more as a road map for my future -- and that deserves all this effort.

Goal:

Category:

Analysis:

  • Is this more of a “should” than a true “desire”?               SHOULD         DESIRE
  • What five aggressive activities can I think of right now?  Am I willing to do these?  (note:  don’t spend much time on this – just throw a quick list together so that you can “feel” your readiness)
  • Am I willing to “go out there” – i.e., tell everyone and ask for true accountability?  What would accountability look like?
  • What resources will I need and do I have these?
  • What has kept me from being successful with this in the past?
  • WHY do I want this?  Be honest – be brutal with myself now or brutal on myself later!
  • Can I “handle” this goal – what about this goal scares me?
  • What obstacles will I face and what do I “feel” when I think of these obstacles?
  • When I think of this goal and all that it will require, what thoughts come up?  How does my body respond?
  • What do I picture if I “succeed”?  What do I picture if I “fail”? (another time for brutal honesty)
  • What does Dave think (discuss this after I’ve answered the above questions so that he has all the information to help me – ACCEPT that I need help balancing my goals and abilities)?
  • What else comes up when I think of this goal?

Will this goal make my FINAL CAMPAIGN?                        YES                 NO

While I won't bore you with all of my analyses, I will share a couple so that you can see how my brain and body are working together to chart a course that helps ACCEPT MYSELF and CHOOSE ABUNDANT LIVING.

 “….. he ran a campaign of discipline not impulse.” 

Do you campaign for yourself?  Before you roll your eyes at the absurdity of such a statement, read one of the definitions:

Campaign: a systematic course of aggressive activities for some specific purpose

dictionary.com

Let’s break this definition down. 

Specific Purpose

Do you have specific purposes for your life?  Or, like me, does your life often just happen? 

If I look at my life – how I spend my time, what I worry over, where my money goes – what campaigns do I support?  Do I run a campaign of discipline or impulse?  Do I run a campaign where I win or lose?  Are there energies, resources and efforts I need to shift or refocus? 

It’s 2018 and in last week’s post, I promised myself that I’d ACCEPT myself.  Acceptance is acknowledging that in this very moment, I am where I am.  Acceptance allows me room to choose a new place for my next moment.  Acceptance does NOT mean living a life I don’t love.  I ACCEPT that I suffer from bi-polar (or whatever juicy label I have today) but I can CHOOSE how to handle this.  I ACCEPT that I cannot eat what I want when I want if I want to be healthy.  I ACCEPT that I like to lily-pad and I need to structure my life so that I can do this (watch for a future post about lily-padding).

I ACCEPT that if I want to have a life I love, I must set a course.

Systematic Course

One of the things I hate most about political campaigns is that most candidates tell us why we should not vote for their opponent rather than why we should vote for him/her.  In other words, I want a candidate to tell me what platforms she supports – what are her agenda items, what systematic course is she committed to?

I’ve decided to develop a campaign for myself.  If I had to create a political ad, what would I promote, support, fight for?  But wait ….

The Skeletons In The Closet

Every candidate, every person, has skeletons in their closet.  For me, these skeletons will start to rattle the very second I decide to get serious about my campaign.  Past failures will pound on the door.  Unkind words will again have volume.  My negative side will get louder and louder.  Even as I write these words, one corner of my brain is reminding me that I’ve failed so many times.  The exact words I’m hearing are: 

  • “You always disappoint yourself and everyone else around you.  Just stop trying.” 
  • “Why should you have to give that up – it’s not fair that everyone else can have that and you can’t.”
  • “You won’t be able to handle this.  Look at how worthless you’ve been the last week.  You’ll fall into the abyss again and again.  Why don’t you just stay there?  Wouldn’t that be easier than climbing out over and over again.”   (this will be another post soon)

I ACCEPT that my mind is often my enemy, my opponent.  I CHOOSE to fight that.  I ACCEPT that I will lose some of those fights and will sink into the abyss from time-to-time.  I CHOOSE to keep climbing out. 

The Campaign Poster

If I designed a campaign ad, what would be on it?   Let’s make a list – don’t justify your list, don’t censor yourself.  Just write a list of all the things you’d like to have/do/accomplish/be.  Think small.  Think huge. 

I’m going to do this “real” time – I’m going to write a list for exactly five minutes (setting my clock now):

  • Get “Decide to Hope” published in April
  • Get “Journey to Hope” published in September
  • Start a 3rd novel
  • Start a “Better Accept & Change” Book Club
  • Learn how to market my book/myself (learn this social media stuff)
  • Lose this last 10 pounds
  • Stop drinking soda
  • Stop eating refined carbs
  • Keep this blog going and try to grow my audience
  • Continue to work on my mental health issues and management
  • Decide the best eating plan and become a FANATIC
  • Keep making the scrapbooks my family loves
  • Read read read read – anything and everything
  • Quit worrying about my weight – really get my eating disorder under control
  • Control other impulses
  • Keep my exercise routine (find a way to “shake things up”)
  • Find an accountability partner that really holds my feet to the fire
  • Find ways to show Dave love that fits my personality
  • Keep cultivating those 2-3 friendships that really matter
  • Hike Europe/Travel
  • Find the courage to join a writing group and stick to it (no matter what)
  • Actually get fully dressed whenever I’m leaving the house (or every day?)
  • Really evaluate my spending and make adjustments – look at this goal more carefully!
  • Start teaching (think outside the box)
  • Find a volunteer opportunity that energizes me
  • Continue to take classes/learn
  • Find some way to be spiritual
  • Financial goals – use a budget

Time’s up … these are the things that hit me at 8:15am on January 1.  Certainly the list is not exhaustive or all inclusive.  Because I want my campaign to succeed, I’m going to take the next week to refine my list.  Questions I’ll be asking myself:

  1. Is this a true goal for me OR is this a “should” goal?
  2. Am I willing to apply “aggressive activities” towards this goal?
  3. Am I willing to be held accountable for this goal?  If so, what would that look like?
  4. Do have the resources for success?
  5. Why is this important to me?
  6. Based on my mental health challenges, am I asking too much?  I have to find that balance.
  7. Do I have the support of my husband?  We must have aligned goals or I will fail.
  8. What does my body “feel” when I think of this goal?
  9. I'll come up with more questions once I start this analysis!  I will NOT avoid any questions that come to mind -- if my mind is sending me questions then they need attention!

Somatic* Goal Setting

I can’t believe I’m going to talk about this … it’s so “gooey*”.  But, I have come to understand how much my body tells me.  As I think of these goals, I get an immediate bodily reaction.  For example, when I think of volunteering, my shoulders tighten and I have trouble taking in a deep breath.  For me, that’s a warning sign that I need to acknowledge and listen to. 

Taking My Time

Campaigns don’t start after one day of thought.  While it’s January 1 and I’d like to have my campaign poster on my refrigerator today, I’d much rather have a campaign that I can win.  In order to accomplish that, I’m going to slow down, do some homework and come back to this next week.

Take The Time To Refine

I can’t do it all – maybe you can but I ACCEPT that I have a limited amount of energy, time and resources.  I also ACCEPT that my mental health requires dedicated self-care that limits me to some extent.  For the first time in my life, I want a campaign that I can fully support and execute completely.  I want to win!

My list only took me five minutes.  I can’t and shouldn’t finalize my campaign based of a five-minute session.  I want the final outcome to be ME – the ME I CHOOSE to be … in order to accomplish that, I need to:

Monday/Tuesday: add to this list – make it as long as I want.  I will also go ahead and strike anything I know is a “should” or that my body rejects.   I will discuss this with my husband – he knows me better than I do and he also has some goals that I need to incorporate.

Wednesday/Thursday:  create categories.  For example, many of the goals could be categorized as “physical health” or  “mental health” or “career”. 

Then I’m going to do the hard work:  as I write each goal, I’m going to listen to what my brain starts to say and how my body feels.  I’m going to write EVERYTHING down – by doing that I can identify the enemy.  There may be some enemies so strong that I don’t want to fight them right now – and that’s okay!  I ACCEPT that I only have a limited amount of strength and skills at this moment in time.  If I choose battles where the enemy is too strong, I will fail and that will create a domino effect where all of my goals crash.  I’m strong enough to admit that to myself and structure my life accordingly.  Of course, one of my goals will be to continue to build my mental, emotional and physical strength so that one day I can fight any enemy.  But, I’m not there yet and that’s OKAY!

Friday:  trim the list and discuss again with my husband.  Then, I’ll trim it again.  And again.

Saturday:  FINALIZE my campaign platform.  I’m going to go so far as to design a poster – I’ll post that next week!

Sunday, I’ll begin to develop my list of “aggressive activities” for each goal.  This will be the subject of my next post. 

I’ve had a very difficult December (see my post from December 31).  What I learned during that time is that I need to be intentional in ACCEPTING myself and all my “issues”.  The abyss is a hard place to be and even harder to climb out of … I’m going to be more careful about avoiding the abyss and I think that starts with being realistic with myself about what I want and need out of life.  It starts with campaigning for myself. 

I hope some of you will join me and share your experiences with this LIFETIME project.

*gooey -- I prefer to live in my mind, so when I'm told to listen to my body (somatic experience) or to meditate, I think of those activities as "gooey" or "woo-woo".  I used to avoid them.  While I still don't like them, I totally recognize their importance in staying grounded and balanced.

Some recommended resources:  

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June Converse with purple hair
In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....
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