Creators 2.0: The compass of greatest Resistance
This is part three of a five-part series excerpted from my book Creators 2.0: How to Find Your Purpose, Build Sustainable Growth and Change the World. Get your free copy here.
The day I walked away from my corporate job, relief washed over me. There were moments when I had to sit down as I felt light-headed and dizzy. I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. It was a heady time of excitement and opportunity.
It was also when my fears vomited all over everything in my life. My biggest fears were not about money, or at least not directly. They were about not knowing what to do next. Where was I to find my purpose? In what direction did true passion and fulfillment lie? By what would I gauge my decisions?
We are told to follow our fears and, as I said earlier, this is perhaps the single most ludicrous piece of advice ever given to anyone. I’m on board with fighting fear in order to have a life more fully lived. If fear is the only thing stopping you from heading where you feel pulled to go, then by God, fight through that fear. But as a compass it is crude and directionless, a poor advisor to the soul.
The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel.
—Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Hundreds if not thousands of times, I found myself lost and struggling to move forward. That’s when I realized that Resistance can be my friend.
Resistance, the pernicious goddess of staying safe, uses everything at hand to stop us from leaving what is known and accepted. She is in the thought to put something off for a couple of hours or the impulse to turn off the alarm and get some sleep. She is the voice of the family member who wonders if we should just get a “normal job.” She is the voice inside our heads questioning whether we can accomplish the task at hand.
I now look for Resistance and her artifices. It is a sign that I am on the right path. This book is the most prescient example of this. I had about 5,000 words on paper, multiple outlines and notes scattered just about everywhere. And then I stopped working on it. Days went by. I was busy and clients needed my attention. I stopped getting up at 6 a.m. to write because I was too tired from staying up late to work on my art and other projects. I was just focusing on more pressing issues, right? No, I was hiding from something that scared me and that needed to be done.
I know this because it kept coming up. I would start thinking about the book and immediately write it off with some excuse or another. After a while, I started to wonder if I was ever going to work on it again. It had been weeks with no movement, not one word written. That’s when I realized that Resistance was at work. I was going to have to fight to make this book happen, but the fact that this was a requirement meant that this was indeed the direction I needed to head in.
Before I went to bed that night, I set my alarm for 5 a.m. and grabbed my phone to message a lovely and insanely talented designer named Jacquelyn Tierney. I asked her to design this book, point-blank. I knew that I wanted her to design it, and more importantly, I knew she would move it forward without even knowing the particulars. Most designers would want to work out a budget or some of the parameters.
Jacquelyn got it right away. She gave me a date to have the draft in her hands so she could start the work.
The next morning I didn’t shut off the alarm and go back to bed as I had done every morning for the past three weeks. I had a deadline. Resistance had given me a very clear sign, so I turned my ship into the strongest wind and urged my crew forward.