An old friend called me this week and wanted some advice.
She was struggling with a number of things in her life, not the least of which was depression. We talked about some different options and types of practitioners that might be helpful for her (she’s already seeing a psychiatrist). We talked about her desire to move and whether that would help or if her problems would just move along with her. She told me that she might apply to grad school to be a teacher.
And then, following a hunch, I asked her, “What do you really want to do? Do you want to be a teacher or is there some secret desire you’re hiding away?”
She answered instantly. “I really want to be a screenwriter.”
“Are you writing at all?” I asked her.
“No.” She told me that she’s too much of a perfectionist and is critical of her work, which stops her from even starting.
And so I gave her my prescription for her depression and everything else that was plaguing her:
Start writing. Write what you really want to write, not what you think you should write. Make time to do it every day and don’t edit or censor yourself. Just write.
We all have secret desires we hide away, right? Or maybe they’re not even secret, but for some reason we feel like we can’t make them come true at this point in our lives. Maybe we don’t think we’re good enough. Maybe we don’t think we’re rich enough. Maybe we don’t think we’re skinny enough…or happy enough…or smart enough…or strong enough…or whatever enough.
But here’s the thing. I’ve done a lot of things in my life I wasn’t whatever enough for. I’ve also held myself back from doing a lot of things out of fear.
I’ve never regretted the things I’ve tried. But I’ve definitely regretted the things I haven’t done.
Living in limbo and always wondering what might have been? That’s not a place you want to stay.
Let’s try a little something to get yourself out of limbo:
Imagine it’s the last day of your life. You’ve had a really good life and you want to give your current self a little advice. So you tell yourself there is one thing you can do every single day that will make all the difference.
What is that thing?
Now go do it.