There is a nip in the air, a hint of color turning the trees, pumpkins at the market, and a tiger in my brain.
I know it’s not Halloween yet, but today’s topic inspired me to go a bit nightmare on myself. Having a brain tiger can feel like a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re dealing with.
What is a brain tiger, you may ask? Well I have to thank Laura Simms for that analogy. Please read Laura’s post, but in brief a brain tiger is that nagging voice of doubt, AKA fear. This happens when we are uncertain of what we are doing or what the future holds.
While Laura’s post is the one that inspired me to write on the topic, it’s been showing up a lot lately. For myself most definitely, but a lot of people are talking about it. Times are uncertain, and the tigers are laying in wait.
Last week someone (I’m sorry I forget) recommended listening to Oprah’s interview on Facebook. It’s a good interview if you have an hour, but the part that struck me begins at minute 31:00. Here, a young man asks Oprah to talk about facing fear (in work), which she claims she has been feeling for the first time ever since launching her network. First time ever? Really??? Oprah talks about the fear being getting it right when she is playing so much bigger with a network i.e. has less control.
This tells me two things.
Being confident and in control allows greatness to be achieved.
Admitting and speaking about fear (the tiger) is one of the greatest ways to quell it.
What puzzles me is how a poor abused girl from Georgia came out of the gate with so much of the first, but that is another story.
Talking about it, having conversations, working through it not alone. Doh! Charlie Gilkey posted this energetic video of Jen Louden on the “Great Conversation”. Jen talks about what prevents us from having and utilizing these conversations. She talks about leaning into the not knowing and finding out through conversation.
“I don’t really know what I know, but I know I know stuff about this.”
Exactly how I feel about my current dilemma, but first.
Jonathan Fields has written an entire book on this subject, titled aptly Uncertainty. Jonathan tells a really moving story about starting a brand new business in the aftermath of 9-11, and how that led to what he does now. He tells about how the loss of a friend in the towers awoke in him the need to act NOW. “We have one shot” he says.
I think everyone felt that after 9-11 and we saw a great outpouring of selfless action and community across boundaries. It was the most frightening and still hopeful time I have experienced. Now, as we just celebrated the tenth anniversary of 9-11, I find myself wondering where that went and how we can create it again in these uncertain times when the boundaries are back in place, and the walls seem higher than ever.
For me the uncertainty is in finding my way to serve in the world. I am a visual artist and that is clear. My work is important to me and I love it, but I feel called to teach in some capacity and that is unclear. “I don’t really know what I know, but I know I know stuff about this.” Patience is not my greatest virtue and that tends to fuel my tiger. I want to know now! What I am learning is I need to reach out more, have more great and small conversations. That is the only way to tame my beast and do my best work. I am writing my questions here and on my own blog and that is so helpful, but I am feeling the need for live conversation. I am pondering a master mind group, either in person or on skype.
So my questions to you this week are:
How do you appease your brain tigers and get the work done? Where do you go for great conversations if you do, and if not, why?
Please join me in getting this conversation going!
From the heart,