I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Partly because of the book deal, but partly because I got propped up by a small army of support these last two weeks by having all of you celebrate with me. Every tweet, text, email, call, facebook note, hug and high-five just filled me to the brim with gratitude. This book finally feels real -- thanks to you. Enter the Success Demons...Right on Cue
Just like clockwork when I feel that warm-fuzzy happiness wash over me, I immediately start hearing my success demons knocking at the door. These are different than my inner critic. My inner critic is good at hitting me when I'm down: "Of course you're lonely, you aren't lovable." BAH! I get angry just typing that! Because I know it's not true. But it happens.
My success demons, on the other hand, are new - and I'm only just discovering how pernicious they can be. The success demons come out the minute I start feeling relaxed and joyful. They say things like:
- You don't deserve to be happy
- You have it too good - the other shoe is going to drop any minute.
- Be careful, when things are THIS good, someone you love could get sick or die or you could lose your house or job
- You just got lucky. What are you celebrating for?
Life is a roller coaster - OF COURSE bad things could happen at any minute. But it is such a shame to let these angry, ugly demons rain on the fun parade without reason. I never used to understand the quotes that talked about people being more afraid of success than failure. But now I do. Because with success comes the fear that it could all disappear at any minute. And the fear that somehow it's too early - or too much - to be celebrating.
Mind Like Water
When the success demons come roaring, particularly the one about bad things about to happen, I remind myself of a popular zen saying "mind like water," which means the following: when you throw a stone into a lake, the lake ripples in proportion to the size of the stone. It doesn't start rippling BEFORE the stone hits (nervous anticipation), and it doesn't ripple for long AFTER the stone hits. It just reacts, then returns to it's normal calm state. Stress comes from regrets about the past or worrying about the future - so if I can just come back to what is in front of me TODAY, it usually helps.
Two books that have been tremendously helpful for me in this area: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (which talks about the upper limits we place on ourselves) and Taming Your Gremlins (a book with a lighthearted, exercise-based approach to dealing with your inner critic) by Rick Carson.
Success demons be gone! I have one more celebration to share
Here's another example of a success demon: I signed my book contract on Wednesday after months of nervous anticipation, and it was one of the happiest, proudest moments of my life. Seeing the words "Author: Jenny Blake" on a legal document brought tears to my eyes. I've dreamed about this since I was a little girl reading in the Green Apple Bookstore every day after school, dog-earing pages because I knew I'd be back the next day.
But when it came time to share this monumental moment on my blog I thought, "People are so sick of hearing about your success! Give it a rest already." Ouch! So I debated whether to say anything...to post the video or the pictures my friend Julie took to commemorate the event. Then I realized those are just more success demons rearing their ugly heads. Because even if someone out there is sick of me, someone might be happy! And as Marianne Williamson says, "your playing small does not serve the world." So here I go...
Video #1 - Signing my book contract! (42 seconds long)
Video #2 - An outtake, just for fun :)
The "million dollar signature" - up close and personal
Thank you. For just being here. For letting me celebrate, and for celebrating with me.