This Summer I’m writing a book! I’ve heard it over and over again – if you want to be considered an expert in your field write a book. Since I started my business, I’ve been saying that I’m going to write a book. The funny part was I never related to myself as someone who is a writer. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I could think back to the multiple incidents in elementary school where I began relating to myself as dumb, stupid, and incompetent in writing and reading, but I don’t think that part matters. We all have our self-limiting beliefs, what’s important is becoming aware of them and determining if they serve us well. The “I’m dumb” limiting belief not only interfered with what I want in life, it was having a devastating impact on my self-confidence. Something I’ve noticed about living with mental illness is anything that erodes away at one’s self-confidence, does not serve the prospect of full recovery or good mental health.
If you have the means to do your self-development work,
your mental health will be positively affected.
Good mental health depends on it!
With over 40 years of “I’m dumb” internal messaging and corresponding behavior, this self-limiting belief has only just been re-patterned. I’d feel shame when I realized I’d made a mistake. Either I wrote the wrong word, used the wrong tense, spelled something incorrectly or just simply had such a limited vocabulary I couldn’t express myself the way I wanted. I’d be sitting at my desk, and have this awful sick feeling wash over me. I’d feel like throwing up. My breath would shorten and my ability to determine what’s the next step would be high-jacked by a voice in my head pointing out my mistake. It would be throwing word bombs at me like, “you see you can’t write, you are stupid, how did you miss that word, you idiot!”
The fog I was living in was so thick I didn’t know I was it in for as long as I was. I’d get glimpses of it ( the shaming talk I’d do with myself) but in my day to day living, I had no idea how hard I was on myself. By living in a fog like this, I never questioned how I related to myself – it just was. “I’m dumb.” When I look back, there were a lot of missed opportunities where I could have spoken up but didn’t. All of the times in my life where I felt I needed to prove something, hide something or protect something. All driven by my view of “I’m Dumb” belief. The thing about self-limiting beliefs is that we take them as truth until we become aware of them. Self-limiting beliefs operate in the background where we can’t see them and they drive our actions.
I never realized the extent to which my self-limiting belief had been getting in my way. It was the barrier to doing many “easy” activities someone with a higher or better education would be expected to do. It would take me ages to write a simple email to someone – I’d agonize over it for hours – well that might be a slight exaggeration, but it felt like hours. In one job, I remember using a tactic to have others review my communications. I’d ask “Do you think I’m too harsh in this email? (add in a sweet high pitched voice) – what I was hoping for was that if they noticed any glaring grammar errors, miswording, etc. they would tell me. Oh, the agony, the time wasted, and the total blindness I had about this area of my life.
Now that I’ve cleared the fog when it still comes up for me, I’ll remember it’s a very young conversation of mine. My Enneagram mentor and my business coach have worked with me on how I might support this younger self when the fog rolls in, and I no longer remember I’m a writer and author. I have a strategy I employ when any self-doubt overcomes me. It combats the overwhelming lack of self-confidence that feeds into procrastination of completing any work that has a writing component. I use an online tool called Grammarly which for a low price of $139.95 per year checks any writing I do and supports my learning of good writing habits, structure, form and grammar.
I journal in an app called Day One, which in itself promotes good writing habits. This past year I attended two writing workshops by Start Writing. Both were excellent forums for creative writing, getting feedback from the group through the Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) method and relating to myself as a writer.
The purpose of this blog is to capture the progress I’m making with my book (the one I’m the author of!).
Here’s what is completed:
- Phase 1 Six chapters defined.
- Phase 2 For each chapter three subheadings identified.
- Phase 3 For each subheading six questions created.
- Phase 4 Answer all 108 questions.
Here are the tools and strategies to support the overall writing and process:
- The writing process: Opher Brayer’s how to write a book in 12 hours; @opherbrayer http://vimeo.com/118280408
- Dave Logan’s Best Seller BootCamp http://www.culturesync.net/csacademy/bestseller-bootcamp-recording/
- Daily writing sessions scheduled in calendar – personal accountability
- MacBookAir – Love my laptop!
- Sharing with everyone I know: “I’m writing a book – the 1st draft will be complete by the end of Aug 2015”
- Grammarly for all my grammar needs. https://app.grammarly.com
- Multiple Strategies to combat 40 years of “I’m Dumb” limiting beliefs – on going personal development work
- Blogging about my experience at lesliebennett.ca, which in itself has provided me actionable insights for the book.
- Continue positive self-development awareness practices
- Dr. Dan Kaufman my good friend and editor of all my written work.