I was listening to a podcast recently and a familiar phrase came up that I have heard from bloggers, vloggers, writers, interpreters, and filmmakers among many other professions. The phrase was, “just do it”.
This phrase seems to be almost universal in its appeal as a remedy to inaction or procrastination. You see, people experience what Steven Pressfield in “The War of Art” calls the Resistance. Resistance is the force trying to keep you from being who you truly are and from what you are called to do. A common symptom of Resistance is fear.
Fear may be a more familiar term for what people are combating with the advice to “Just do it!” Both Steven Pressfield and Emily Freeman, who wrote “A Million Little Ways”, recognize that when we see what we are truly called to do and who we really are, fear boils up from our inner most being and can be paralyzing. This fear can manifest itself as procrastination, rationalizations, or even plain delusion. We try to convince ourselves that we can always start that project tomorrow, just not today. Then we say that the next day and the day after that.
Procrastination is a particular problem for me because I want to know everything about something before I start doing it. This is the most supreme form of Resistance for me. There always comes a point when I have to start doing and stop researching. I have to stop rationalizing needing to know more, I always will need to know more, but I have to start or the project will never happen. I have to start in order to be more fully myself. It means that what I make will not be perfect, but it will at least exist and I am okay with that.
When we jump in with both feet, when we turn the corner and say, “this moment I will change my life”, as we lift up the paint brush, the needle, or the wrench, as we turn to God to empower us to do what he has called us to do, fear is defeated. We are one step closer to our goals, one step that never would have happened if we gave into fear. When we finally start doing and stop thinking, it becomes easier to continue.
It is a daily fight to engage in our calling and one that I don’t always win, but I am still in the battle. I keep reminding myself that my projects don’t have to be perfect, they just need to happen because that is what I am called to do.
What are you being called to do that brings fear up from the pit of your stomach? What is your first step to just doing it?