How to Veto Your Self Doubt and Live An Awesome and Bold Life

by Tess


The following is a guest post by Fran Sorin at Awake Create.

“Anxiety is an even better teacher than reality, for one can temporarily evade reality by avoiding the distasteful situation; but anxiety is a source of education always present because one carries it within.” Rollo May

Can you imagine living a happier, more spontaneous, and authentic life, one that feels right?

One that lets you break free of your grey routine and burst into a life full of vivid color and laughter?

How do you feel when you wake up in the morning and open your eyes?

Is your pulse racing and your brain running amok?

Are you already thinking about everything you need to do today but are afraid you won’t accomplish?

Do you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air…scared to death about going out to lunch with your boss tomorrow? 

You want to try the new bistro in town that’s getting rave reviews. You hesitate but decide to give it a try. As you park the car, you have butterflies in your stomach.

By the time you hit the front door, you’re close to having a full blown anxiety attack. You run back to the car as fast as you can. Once your breathing and pulse return to normal, you drive to the Seven Eleven and end up with a crappy, shriveled up hot dog for lunch.

Running from fear isn’t a solution.                 

You fill your time with things that don’t matter. Do you really think that shopping for yet another dress at the mall, watching yet another reality TV show, or going out to yet another expensive dinner is going to make your heart sing with joy?

Walking through life in a vertical coffin is worse than death. You’re trapped within your body, allowing fear to control your every move.

Creativity is your birthright.

Don’t you want to live a life where you can be artistic every day?

I’m not talking about the type of creativity that’s limited to the domain of artists, writers, and musicians. I’m talking about everyday creativity.

And guess what? You have it. You were born with it.

It’s just been thrown under all the other crap that society tells us we need to do and be.

You can access it in endless ways. Cooking a delicious meal, having a conversation with a friend, spending time with your kids after school, and stenciling your hallways sound pretty creative to me.

You can access creativity anytime and anywhere.

The cool thing about creativity is that it can happen anywhere, anytime. It’s not what you do. It’s how you do it.

Because I dislike doing errands, I often turn it into a game. I challenge myself to see what type of conversations I can make have if I begin with a sense of play…not the same old, same old.

Give me a cashier at the grocery store with a bad cold, a long line of customers who don’t help bag their stuff, most of them talking on their cell phones, and I’m ready to jump in.

The fun starts when the cashier is ringing up my groceries. Without going into detail, by the time I finish bagging my stuff, she may say ‘God bless you’ or ‘thank you for taking such an interest in me.

An innovative conversation? You bet.

And you know what the best part is? After each of these interactions, I walk back to my car feeling happy, energized, and smiling.

I’ve connected with another human being because I was willing to go outside the normal boundaries. To take a risk. To try something new.

That’s the kind of creativity I’m talking about.

Everyday. Ordinary. Throw some tablespoons of that into your life and you’ll be dancing a jig.

A fear filled life can blossom into creativity.

I’m speaking from experience. It wasn’t until I was the mother of an infant and toddler and quit my job as a Broadcast Executive that I was able to face my missed opportunities.

It might have looked good on the outside. Top notch education, great career, married to a successful guy, beautiful home, two healthy babies…a formula for happiness.

I walked around with a tightness and feeling of dis-ease most of the time. I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning with my motor running. Hitting the gym at 6am was the only thing that helped relieve my anxiety.

I lived in a world of ‘if only’. I didn’t know what was wrong. But I was miserable. I got lucky.

My instincts kicked in and I decided to return to studying piano. I had been a pretty serious student from age 8 straight through college. It had been a love of mine.

I researched and found the teacher for me. She taught at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philly and was known to be a taskmaster. That’s what I wanted.

I started taking piano lessons again. Practicing seriously. Often 3-4 hours a day. As a child, I practiced every day after school.

My mother would yell from the kitchen ‘Frannie, that sounds beautiful’. Little did she realize that I had tears streaming down my face because the music and the act of playing was such a profound experience.

Connect with and ‘be’ your authentic self and your creativity will start flowing.

When similar feelings poured out of me as an adult, I knew that I had entered a place outside of my normal consciousness. It was a place of reverence, unadulterated beauty, and stripped of any sense of time.

My 3 years of taking lessons transformed me. I felt more authentic at the piano than any other place in my life. I had connected with my creative essence, my soul.

I was able to transfer what I experienced at the piano to other areas of my life. I became more patient, accepting, and loving in my relationships.

I started gardening passionately (which is a whole other story). I had no idea what was happening. It took me a few years to realize that I was blossoming. That my artistic, authentic self had emerged.

It was a long time a coming. But it was worth the wait.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait. You have the power right now to veto self doubt and experience an outrageous, unique, and artistic life.

You have the power to decide that you’re going to burn your fear to a crisp. To let your inner light shine. And live an exciting, playful, creative life that’s uniquely yours.

7 Tips To Get Your Creativity Stoked

  1. be compassionate to yourself

    When you own up to how you’ve been living, it’s easy to be critical. Try not to be. Focus on the courage that it took for you to get to this point.

  2. re-frame your thoughts

    Every day from morning to night you tell yourself that ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m fat’, ‘I’m not smart enough' and ‘I’m going to fail’.

    Stop thinking negatively. Use your imagination and create a storyline where you’re successful and smart, a ‘can do’ kind of person. When you begin to feel anxious, go straight to the positive story line.

  3. reflect on past successes

    Think about the times you felt proud of yourself, when you did something extraordinary. Revisit those experiences. Let them sink into your skin.

  4. imagine


    Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Imagine yourself doing things you’ve always dreamt of. Or being the type of person you want to be. Don’t think in terms of ‘when’ or ‘if’. Pretend that you’re doing it now, in the present.
    For example, you’re determined to stop the 24/7 craziness so that you can have more time for yourself and with your family. You’re having breakfast with the kids. The smell of pancakes on the griddle, the kids laughing, and a glimpse of buds on a bush outside touches your heart. It’s happening now…all of the sights, tastes, smells, and feelings.

  5. try new things


    It doesn’t matter what… pottery, writing, karate, going to a movie, learning how to play video games, or
    meeting a new friend for coffee. Things that you’ve always wanted to do. Start small. But take action.

  6. play

    Most of us still think of play as something we did as kids. Not true. Humans need to play in order to survive and thrive.
    It’s not frivolous. Without play in your life, you don’t connect with others and you can’t create. It’s as simple as that.
    The good news is that you can play anytime, anywhere, and with anything. At work, at home, waiting in the airport for a 3 hour delayed flight…just about anywhere.
    When it comes to play, it’s not what you do. It’s how you do it.
  7. have a strong support group

    The people who want what's best for you will root for your happiness. There are plenty of naysayers in the world. Be on the lookout for them. Especially friends in your inner circles.
    Don't be around any one with negative energy. If you can't cut them totally out of your life, minimize the amount of time you spend with them. Be kind to yourself.
    Remind yourself that you're one heck of a person at least once a day. Don't you think it's about time?

You've got a choice to make. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a no brainer.

You don’t want to be the person who says you can’t go when a couple of your girlfriends are hopping over to Paris for a week of museums, brasseries, French pastries, and walks on the Seine.

You don’t want to be the person who says ‘no’ when asked to go hiking with friends in the mountains when the wildflowers are in bloom (and you love nature!)You don’t want to be the person who can barely make eye contact with a drop dead knockout when he flirts with you at a cocktail party.

You’ve got everything inside of you to be the person who:

  • Makes the long dreamt about trip cross country in a 1979 red convertible Mustang…with the top down.
  • Takes tango lessons…and starts doing the Thursday night Tango dance circuit.
  • Goes to the double feature at the artsy theater in town…by yourself.
  • Quits a dead end job to travel for a year. And see where it leads you.
  • Without worrying about the future.

Think about how different your life will be. You’ll be:

  • Walking through the day with a sense of exuberance and curiosity.
  • Free to explore, discover, and go outside of your comfort zone.
  • Waking up in the morning feeling calm, grounded, and optimistic.
  • Excited about all of the possibilities that can happen today.
  • Living a life of happiness and contentment.

The creative, authentic you is ready to take center stage. Get out of the way and let it happen.

What are you waiting for?

Fran Sorin is an author and CBS Radio News Contributor. She blogs about creativity and how to be creative everyday at Awake Create. You can find Fran on Twitter and Facebook

I have published an Amazon Kindle book, "The Soulmate Solution: Attract Your Perfect Life Partner."

You can download it for free beginning Sunday, March 18th for five days!   

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Vidya Sury March 16, 2012 at 6:51 am

Lovely post, Fran, and one of my favorite blogs too! Switching from negative to positive and noticing the little things – what we have, rather than what we don’t have makes such a powerful difference. I have experienced it. I was lucky to overcome that feeling of dis-ease after a successful career – and like you, was lucky to find myself very quickly. It only took a change of thoughts. Self-doubt is awful. And I agree with you about the support group – mine was my own family – and the fact that we’re cohesive no matter what happens is our greatest strength.

Thank you, Fran. Thank you, Tess. Very feel-good post!
Vidya Sury´s last post…I am Terri’s Guest Today

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Fran Sorin March 17, 2012 at 2:40 am

Vidya…
It was a piece I had been wanting to write. Tess was gracious enough to host it. Fran

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Elle March 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

So many great ideas on living a happier/more creative life. Thanks to Fran and Tess for this. If we would but put even a few of these concepts into practice, life would be overflowing with the beautiful.
Encourage one another.
Elle.

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Fran Sorin March 17, 2012 at 2:53 am

Elle,

We all have the ability to create a life overflowing with beauty and love. It is constant work but worth it. Your point about encouraging each other is a significant piece of the puzzle. It points to the fact that we need to surround ourselves by people who ideally understand us and are on their own journey…but minimally offer support and love :) Fran

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Steve Rice March 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Powerful insights, Fran. Thanks for sharing. I especially connected with the point you made about being more authentic and allowing the creativity to flow. A lot of times I think we put stress on ourselves to “do” creativity instead of realizing that creation is what we do naturally. When we relax into the flow and release the resistance we’ve created, then the process occur easily.
Steve Rice´s last post…Making The Tough Decisions

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Fran Sorin March 17, 2012 at 3:01 am

Steve,
Our culture is obsessed with productivity. So, it would be easy to think that you can ‘do’ creativity….which as you know isn’t true. I recently read a piece where the writer said if you’re going through a time in your life where your creativity is not showing up, enjoy the rest. Don’t panic…just sit back, open up, be, and it’ll return. ‘Relax into the flow’ is good phrase to describe it. Pema Chodron talks about ‘leaning into’. Fran

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Betsy at Zen Mama March 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Fran,
This beautiful and so true! Your story is amazing! I truly believe we are all creative. However, I never thought that I was artistic. I’ve just begun to discover my own creativity in photography. I love it! I also love your definition of creativity being more than just art but a conversation, too.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and practical ways to take action!!
Betsy
Betsy at Zen Mama´s last post…Albert Einstein: Not Just A Scientist!

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Fran Sorin March 17, 2012 at 3:08 am

Betsy,

I smiled when I read your post. If you could only see yourself the way I see you.

First, you’re creative as a writer. And through your writing, you give your readers the opportunity to learn something about you, your thoughts, and your life. To my eyes, you are creative in your every day life.

It’s great that photography is giving you the feeling that you’re creative. I bet if you take the time this weekend and just reflect on what you’ve done this week…at work and at home….you’ll see how creative you’ve been. :) Fran

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Sandra / Always Well Within March 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I love this idea of finding / expressing creativity in everyday, ordinary affairs! This adds an entirely new dimension to creativity. Thank you!
Sandra / Always Well Within´s last post…Introverts: Quietly…Take Back Your Life!

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Fran Sorin March 17, 2012 at 3:14 am

Sandra,
I’m so glad that this concept has given you a new way of looking at creativity. We put so much pressure on ourselves to create epic works, to be extraordinary. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But the way we are in our every day world is what makes life so very sweet. It offers us the opportunity to appreciate ourselves and what we bring to the world each moment. Fran

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Arvind Devalia March 17, 2012 at 4:56 am

Fran, this is one of the best articles I have ever read about this topic – and believe me, I have read quite a few!

Your passion and your zest for life shines through your words above. Anyone who reads this will be left saying – I want some of that:-)

Thanks Fran for the inspiration. I am just off to practice on my long neglected guitar…
Arvind Devalia´s last post…If Less is Best, Why Do I Still Want a Porsche?

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Paige | simple mindfulness March 17, 2012 at 10:11 pm

OMG! The feeling that came over me when I read about you at the piano with tears streaming down your face. I know that feeling! It’s something that reverberates throughout your body.

While my career path has been in a fairly dry area (accounting and corporate finance), I’ve always been a bit amused that my reviews talk about how creative I’ve been. I’ve never been one to follow the tried and true path. My view of life is that there’s always a better way and it’s my job to find it.

Over the past year I’ve discovered my love of writing. I’ve never done it before and never considered myself to be a writer. Now I get lost at the keyboard as the ideas flow.

While I try to express my creativity, I get lost in my to-do list all too often. Fran, thank you for the reminder that staying connected with our creative passions really does positively impact our entire lives.

I can also totally relate to your conversations at the grocery. Whenever I reach out and make a connection with another person like that, it totally transforms my day. I highly recommend it!
Paige | simple mindfulness´s last post…Head vs. Heart: Which Is Smarter?

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Fran Sorin March 18, 2012 at 8:42 am

Vidya…

I owe you an apology. I totally missed your comment except for the last line.
Now that I’ve read your first paragraph, it makes perfect sense. You were very lucky to be able to leave your dis-ease behind at a young age.

Yep, noticing the small things and appreciating them doe makes such a difference in our lives. But you have to really believe it’s possible to feel that way in order to begin surrendering.

You and I are both very blessed people Vidya :) Fram

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Fran Sorin March 18, 2012 at 8:47 am

Arvind…

Thanks so much for your kind words. They mean a lot to me….especially coming from you.

I do have a passion and zest for life. So do you. It takes on to know one. :) Fran

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Fran Sorin March 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

Paige….

Yep, it sure does reverberate throughout your body. In those moments, I feel a sense of other…or Godliness.

No doubt that you have always been creative Paige. It’s just expressing itself in a different way now. Your writing voice was ready to emerge at this phase of your life.. You were open to it. And now it has blossomed into a beautiful flower.

I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself with the ‘to do’ lists. You have kids running around and are working. With the passion you have for your writing, nothing is going to stop it.

But it is always important to remind ourselves (which I do every day) to work at the things we love doing. For a few months this winter, I didn’t practice the cello. I started again last week and am loving it. Even if I only do 20 minutes of scales and finger exercises it gives me such pleasure. :) Fran

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Cathy | Treatment Talk March 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

Hi Fran,

Wow, love this post! You’ve really given us the encouragement to get out there and let our creative juices flow. When we become worker bees with our jobs and responsibilities at home, we can often forget about ourselves. Being creative nurtures the soul.

I started quilting a few years ago, and that helped bring out my artistic side. I loved just putting fabric together and seeing what happens. Writing, for me also feels creative. But you are right, saying yes, instead of no leads us on adventures we might never have considered. Thanks for a great post.
Cathy | Treatment Talk´s last post…How to Help Yourself and Get Your Life Back

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Tathata March 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm

“I walked around with a tightness and feeling of dis-ease most of the time. I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning with my motor running. Hitting the gym at 6am was the only thing that helped relieve my anxiety.”

Your words describe my days exactly…
I feel like I’m making some sort of progress towards relieving myself of this unnecessary stress, but it is slow, and sometimes that frustrates me.

Imagination is so powerful though…. earlier this wrote a post on it, with a topic somewhat similar to yours – http://thatwhichreallyis.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-has-your-imagination-done-for-you.html
What I wrote about is something I have been doing my whole life, but I didn’t realize I could apply it to difficult situations until now. Slowly, I have been putting it into practice, remembering to be gentle with myself as these things take time.

I really like your post and look forward to reading more!
Tathata´s last post…Why Letting Go Of My Love Turned Out To Be OK (SOM)

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Lori Lynn Smith March 19, 2012 at 6:54 am

” be compassionate to yourself. When you own up to how you’ve been living, it’s easy to be critical. Try not to be. Focus on the courage that it took for you to get to this point.”

Love this idea, taking care of you first, finding your own self love, allows you to really see into your inner self and finally hear what she has been saying this whole time.

Beautiful thing start happening then!
Lori Lynn Smith´s last post…9 Minutes to Sanity

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Jacob March 19, 2012 at 9:09 am

Life is not similar to everyone. Someone happy with some thing, again someone unhappy with not happy with something. Its natural. But we can avoid loneliness by taking some steps.

Thanks,
Jacob
Jacob´s last post…how to get a girlfriend

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Rose Byrd March 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Oh, TESS–you have made my entire YEAR with your description here of your off-the-cuff conversation with a cashier previously unknown to you! I do this ALL the time–and you should see all the rolled eyes from those who already know me! I get SO energized and totally drained of anxiety with these impromptu exchanges. And how wonderful to spread the love this way!
Rose Byrd´s last post…Seven

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Claire Kerslake March 20, 2012 at 1:37 am

Fran, this was a delightful post and a reminder once again to connect with all that is important in life. I especially love the 7 tips. What a beautiful way to really live every moment
Claire
Claire Kerslake´s last post…Confessions of a Diabetes Educator

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Fran Sorin March 20, 2012 at 6:05 am

Cathy,
How fabulous that you’re quilting. I’d be curious to know what motivated you to do it..and would love to see a photo of one that you’ve done.

You certainly are creative with your writing. I’m one of your admirers. But even when we have creative endeavors, a lot of us still treat them as something less than a necessity to keep our hearts open. It’s quite a journey isn’t it? :) Fran

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Fran Sorin March 20, 2012 at 6:23 am

Tathata…

Change is slow for most of us. Keep on reminding yourself about the progress you’re making….step by step. You’re a long distance runner, not a sprinter….which I think is a good thing in life.

I checked your blog out quickly. WOW….you learned how to work with horses.
I have always loved and felt a kinship to them. After reading Linda Kohanov’s book,
‘Riding Between The Worlds’, I was blown away by their sensitivity and their ability to respond so precisely to an individual’s moods.

It sounds like you’re learning how to play your instrument….which is you. And as you wrote, be gentle with yourself. Thanks for sharing. Fran

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Fran Sorin March 20, 2012 at 6:27 am

Lori Lynn…

Taking care of yourself sounds easy but as we know, it is difficult to put it into practice ….especially if you’re used to putting other people first.

And loving one self is where it’s at. With that, your kindness, compassion, and love overflows is generously given to others. Thanks for sharing. Fran

Love this idea, taking care of you first, finding your own self love, allows you to really see into your inner self and finally hear what she has been saying this whole time.

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Fran Sorin March 20, 2012 at 6:31 am

Jacob…
Ain’t that the truth? And even within ourselves, we need to remember that our lives are filled with opposites…the dark and light, happiness and sadness, pain and joy, fear and courage, etc.

But loneliness is something that you can overcome. You can be lonely in a crowd or with your partner and be alone and not be lonely. It all takes work and persistence. But when you get enough traction, it’s worth it. Fran

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Fran Sorin March 20, 2012 at 6:34 am

Gee Claire…thanks.
The tips are a way of opening doors and reminding those who already know that this is the stuff that matters. Good to see your face and words here. :) Fran

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Jt Clough | Big Island Dog March 20, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Colored pencils rock! Yes I have to so agree. Every day is a creative opportunity!
I’m personally working on really putting my creativity to more and more things in my life on a daily basis.

Wonderful article.
Jt Clough | Big Island Dog´s last post…Paw to Earth Connection

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fran sorin March 21, 2012 at 6:31 am

Jt….
So good to see you here. HA….so you’re a colored pencil lover…..I’m a crayon lover.
You are so right about everyday being a creative opportunity. It doesn’t have to be the big stuff. It can be one interlude or chunk of time in your day that transforms and ordinary day into extraordinary.:) Fran

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Kathryn Trombly March 22, 2012 at 7:54 am

Fran,

What a lovely post! I too have been in a similar place in my life, where I just sort of walked through everyday in this utter daze, feeling lost, confused and just “off course.” Since I was a little girl I used to write. I’d write everything and anything, but I’d sit with my journal or on a computer and just let it go. But somewhere along the way I put it to the side, and while it always tickled the back of my mind, I just sort of forgot about it.

Almost two years ago I realized I needed to make some changes in my life, and I found myself drawn again to writing. It just made my heart smile to release all these thoughts, emotions, questions and lessons I was walking through everyday.

And ever since I rediscovered my writing, I have watched as my life has altered in ways I never could have foreseen, understood, or imagined.

Thank you for sharing your journey, and for encouraging us to allow our natural creativity its expression ~ in whatever form we choose.

Best wishes, always.

~Kathryn

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Fran Sorin March 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Kathryn,
It’s amazing how we reflexively tend to set aside the stuff that makes our hearts sing with joy. Your intuition led you back to writing …which clearly is a ‘soulful place’ for you.

It never ceases to amaze how our lives are transformed when we listen to our hearts and be who we’re meant to be creatively.

Thank you for your beautiful story. You’ve made my day :) Fran

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