I was feeling sick in my stomach. I couldn’t sleep as my head was spinning with my negative inner chatter and my heart was pumping way to fast. My joy stealing monster was on overdrive and it was making me feel anxious and worried.

I had been offered a new business opportunity, which to be fair I had been asking The Universe for and I was thinking up all the excuses as to why I couldn’t do it.

Thoughts and ideas running through my mind were;

I am so sorry that I have decline this invitation because ‘My kids have got Covid’ (thankfully they haven’t). Or ‘My aging mum is ill and I need to be able to focus on her’ (true, but I am supporting her emotionally from afar). Or as a last resort, feigning personal illness which is completely opposed to my values of honesty and importantly, knowing our unconscious mind eavesdrops on all our thoughts so why would I want to ‘pretend’ to be ill?

Basically I was searching for any plausible reason that could be believed to stop me having to go through with it.

The next day I woke up after my disturbed sleep and luckily it was to attend my weekly tennis lesson. At the class my fabulous coach focussed on my backhand, my ‘weaker’ stroke, though in reality both strokes are fairly weak I only really play tennis for the exercise and fun camaraderie on the court. I have playfully adopted the name of ‘Serena’ in my tennis group, hoping it will improve my game, which has encouraged ‘Venus’ and ‘Steffi’ to join me too.

After the tennis lesson was over I made myself sit down and do some ‘Morning Pages’ as Julia Cameron author of The Artist’s Way recommends.

It was a habit I religiously did pre kids (oh, the unknown luxury of time). It always helped me gain perspective and feel calmer as a result. Morning Pages are a downloaded uninterrupted stream of your conscious and unconscious mind. I call it ‘blurbing’ onto paper, no right or wrong, no re reading or sharing of your notes (unless you wish to) and definitely not in your best journal. It’s a place to offload anything that is weighing you down, or making you feel anxious or worried, sad or disappointed. 

After I had written the recommended three pages, with many reviving cups of tea of course, I was in a much improved emotional place. I realised and admitted to myself that I was scared. I was scared to do something at the next level, scared that I might not be ‘good’ enough, scared that I might let someone down. Scared that so and so could do it better than me… (Oh that awful comparison game…)

My powerful unconscious mind told me what I could do, not on the first page where I was still in my scared state, but by the end of the offloading I had discovered three main and one extra bonus actions that allowed me to significantly turn my limiting thinking around

1 – I reframed the new business opportunity using my tennis lesson as an example, reminding myself (Serena ) that I am now practising my backhand, which feels more uncomfortable and not so familiar, and that practise, at anything, improves performance

2 – I re-read Joseph McClendon III quote ‘step up or step off’

I do love Joseph, he is so cheeky and fun!

3 – And my biggest turnaround point was when my creativity blossomed and allowed me to change the meaning of the word SCARED to

“Nothing means anything except the meaning we give to it”

And I also told myself (I actually sang to myself) “There’s only one Mary Barrett, there’s only one Mary Barrett” to the tune of a football song. Kicking that comparison stealer of joy into touch!

When I say I had a miraculous recovery and turnaround I am not joking. I really felt amazing, liberated and excited about the business opportunity. I LOVE to grow my courage and resilience every day, as it’s the only way to live isn’t it. We are here to play big, not small and to step into our greatness.

Now I’m saying to Mary ‘Step up or step off! And to The Universe ‘Bring on SCARED’ as it’s only way to grow, isn’t it.

Wow! What a difference 3 ‘blurbing’ pages can make. Who else wants to be SCARED with me?

Sowing seeds… when my daughter, that same weekend, started to feel SCARED about a new stretching experience that she was about to do, I told her my story and she left me singing her song to herself too.