Looking back at a journal entry I had on July 20, 2015, it seems the topic is similar to what I’m writing tonight. It’s sometimes frustrating how I seem to be going around in circles. At least 9 months later, I can look back and see progress was made, but I still feel so far from my objective that I am constantly struggling with doubt.
I hate how I often think about just getting a regular job. I look back at when I was employed and feel life was easier. I tend to easily forget how much my skin just crawled how much I hated the 9-5 grind but at the same time I felt like I really could enjoy my time off. While I can’t say I work all the time, I do actually take some leisure time when I feel like it, (maybe a bit too much) the thing is that most of the time when I am not working on making this venture work, I feel guilty. I feel like I need to be working and productive 16h a day, and while I can refrain from just watching TV, or playing video games most of the time, I do get sucked into spending too much time on Facebook, watching videos on YouTube or general reading on all sorts of things. It makes me feel that at this rate it will take a very long time for things to start happening for me. While I do feel like I’m banging my head against the wall most of the time, I do have victories that I am very happy and excited about. I just feel I should be doing more.
One of my biggest issues as of lately stems from the difficulty I had preparing for a paid engagement I had last week. While it did end up well, the difficulty I had in preparing for it made me doubt my whole dream of being a professional speaker. I had a whole week opened to prepare for this 20-minute engagement. I just couldn’t seem to get my nose to the grindstone and write anything. Every time I would try to discipline myself and write something, my mind would wander, I would procrastinate or I would find something else I needed to do.
This created an enormous amount of doubt that I am still dealing with today. If I couldn’t motivate myself to do the work required to write and rehearse my talk, is professional speaking the right avenue for me? This realization scares me, a lot. I can picture myself going to conferences, delivering a talk, meeting people, this all seems so much fun to me, yet when it comes to putting the work to accomplish this, I freeze up, I just can’t seem to be productive at it.
I wonder why I am having so much difficulty. Is it the fear of failure? Am I afraid I will look stupid on stage? Am I lacking the confidence that I have information worthy of being transmitted? I posted a video last week to the Facebook page, it’s Ira Glass talking about how at the start we have good taste, yet we can’t seem to live up to our own expectations. It’s only by creating a huge volume of work that our skills will eventually catch up to our taste.(See the Video) While I’ve known this for a while now, I still have such a hard time putting things to paper that I don’t believe is already good. Oddly with these journal entries, I seem to be fine with writing them even if I know they probably aren’t great. I wonder if it’s because I don’t feel a possible career is riding on them, or maybe it’s because I know that very few people read them. (If you got this far, thank you very much, I hope you can find value in my own mental ramblings.) I’m just frustrated that I had this great opportunity and I hated every step of getting ready for it. It’s exactly how I feel about doing stand-up comedy.
So I’m at this point where I’m wondering if doubt is killing my dream, or does it mean that my true path doesn’t lie in professional speaking?
I’d like to think that the reason I wasn’t able to prepare for the talk last week was because the topic was maybe not necessarily in my wheelhouse, or something I was really passionate about. I will be able to test that assumption this week as I fell behind on my interviews for the podcast, therefore, I decided that the next episode will be a solo episode talking about a lesson or 3 that I’ve learned in the past 15 episodes. I feel preparing for this will also prepare me to eventually give a live presentation on that subject. (I just hope that today’s almost full day of procrastination is not an indication of my fear being reality)