Your brain wants to keep you safe.
Which means keeping you in your comfort zone. When you start giving yourself credit for all the baby steps in your work you also start baby-stepping yourself outside of that comfort zone. Dream Assassin brain will start yelling some nonsense at this brave new adventure of yours.
My brain liked to yell, “This writing doesn’t count because it’s not fiction! Don’t you dare validate today’s written words & put a sticker on your calendar. You haven’t done any real work today. You ONLY wrote an essay, website copy, a pitch to be on a podcast, new class content, and/or a letter to make your friend feel better which doesn’t count, because it’s not fiction.”
For years I would not give myself credit on days I didn’t write fiction. For years I let myself feel like a failure because despite all the other types of writing I was doing, I hadn’t done the right kind. For years I robbed myself of the achievement momentum (generative energy that propels our work forward) I could have channeled into my fiction. Until one day I asked myself, is what that voice saying really true? Have I not really worked as a writer, if I didn’t write fiction? The day I started questioning is the day things started to turn around.
Misbeliefs are often tied to judgement.
I assume my misbelief about writing fiction was tied to the internalized societal teaching that work has to be hard. The misbelief clearly wasn’t serving me, because all writing makes me a better writer—regardless of the genre, regardless of the ease with which I complete it. I knew to the marrow of my bones that when I wrote and other people read it, it had a positive impact on their lives—whether it was fiction or non-fiction.
I was curious about that work is hard/fiction didn’t count combo, so I kept asking questions. Was writing fiction actually hard? Or did I just not have as much practice as writing non-fiction, therefore it was a muscle that needed building before I could produce work at the same rate?
The questioning poked enough holes in the setting-myself-up-for-failure-belief that I decided it was time to make a new promise to myself. I would give myself credit by sticking a fancy sticker on my calendar on any day I wrote something with the intent of public consumption.
What have you been telling yourself that may no longer be serving you? Now’s a good time to poke a few holes in your unhelpful thought.
How to Quiet Dream Assassin brain chatter:
1) Notice what it’s telling you.
Only fiction writing counts.
2) Get curious and ask questions like:
- How is this thought helpful?
It’s not, because it’s setting me up for failure every day I don’t write fiction. And feeling like a failure sucks.
- Is this belief serving me?
No. Because fiction writing is part of what I do; but my work in non-fiction and coaching and building The Creative’s Apprentice is also important.
- Is that really true? True all the way to my bones?
No. It’s not true that only fiction counts. I’m building a multi-faceted career. All the work I do to enable people’s dreams, counts. Plus, every type of writing makes me a better writer in the long run. The practice in non-fiction will help in fiction
- Does that thought give me credit for the time, effort, and brainpower I put into my work today?
No. Today, I did a lot of stuff to help people, including myself, and some of it was writing.
- Is this thought helping me have a positive mindset and enjoy the life I am building?
No. And, the one thing I have complete power over is my mindset, and this thought shifts me to negativity, which keeps me from enjoying the life I am creating.
3) If you answered no to any of those questions, choose a belief to replace it.
Writing with the end-intent of public-consumption counts.
4) Every time that Dream Assassin voice starts saying its nonsense words, practice saying your replacement statement until it drowns out that saboteur voice.
In my experience thus far, that Dream Assassin voice will always be there. But, with consistent practice you can quiet that voice to a whisper. With consistent practice, you can expand your library of beliefs to include ten times as many helpful ones, and you’ll statistically have a helpful one pop up more often. With consistent practice, you’ll get faster at recognizing the unhelpful trash talk, which means you get faster at switching out of that heavy paralyzed mode into a helpful productive mode.
What’s your dream assassin telling you? And what belief are you choosing to add to your mental library to counteract that unhelpful thought? Share in the comments below.
By Jessica Conoley
The most significant coaching work we do at TCA is around this very subject. Our clients’ happiness, productivity, and creativity increase once they address their Dream Assassins.
If you are ready to slay your dream assassins and expedite your creative dreams, book a FREE discovery session today. Together we’ll discover if one-on-one coaching or the group Slay Your Dream Assassins class is a good fit for you!