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Posted on Oct 26, 2009 in overcoming fear | 2 comments

Daring Acts—How to Work Without a Net

by Jill MacGregor

So often we tuck our ambitions and dreams in a safe, little compartment, hidden from view. Such a safe place to keep our hopes and dreams—no one ever has the opportunity to squash them. I know I’ve done this–its one reason why I didn’t show anyone my writing for years.

It wasn’t because I thought I was a bad writer. I worshipped the words I wrote on a regular basis. But I was very shy about sharing my writing with anyone—even my closest friends and family. Very few people even knew I wrote. Writing was vital to me—why wouldn’t I share something so important with those who were closest to me?

The truth of it was I feared that people wouldn’t see any value in my writing. If those closest to me thought my writing was bad, that would affect how I viewed my writing—I would start to see it through their eyes as flawed—and eventually, something that was so significant to me would wither. So I just kept it to myself.

So unnecessary.

Sometimes, I think we don’t give ourselves permission to follow the important things that speak to us. We think they aren’t practical. Really? I bet I could make a long list of things we all do that are ridiculously impractical/detrimental—that hasn’t seemed to stop any of us from doing them yet. Maybe we feel we’d have to defend our practice of it. Or worse, we fear we may not receive the praise and reinforcement we’d hoped for. It would be similar to when someone asks “Did you get your hair cut?” and you respond, “Why, yes I did.” PAUSE CRICKETS PAUSE Get it? Because they have nothing nice to say about you gettin’ yer hairs did.

I allowed other’s imagined opinions to carry more weight than mine. I was cultivating a lot of fear around what others might think of my writing. It takes just as much effort to cultivate fear as it does openness—but its all about your focus.

I wrote about the difference between dreams and goals in Lucid Dreaming and I started to feel like there was more to this topic. What makes us flip the switch on our dreams and put them into motion?

One day I decided to put on my red cape, created a blog and wrote. People said nice things. They encouraged me. And with every post I began to enjoy writing and sharing it.

Here are some of the things I did that helped me get to the cape stage.

Embrace Your Ambition

Be compelled—Do a gut check. When you think about that dream of yours does your gut scream *DO IT!!* We all have moments in our life when we discover things we MUST do. I discovered this with painting and writing. If I go for awhile without painting or writing, I feel off balance. There is nothing else in my life that affects me in this way. It’s a component of who I am—the need is embedded.

Harness the Energy—is there an intense vibration that moves through your core when you think about your ambition coming to be? Use this rare commodity. Its the boost up when you can’t quite reach the next step.

Develop Your Ambition

Find a mentor—there is someone out there who is doing what you want to do and I bet they’re not hiding—find them! Read their books, their articles and blogs, reach out to them via their blog comment, twitter, email. We live in a world where it’s never been easier to have a conversation with practically anyone. Try!

Learn how others did what you want to do—you have an endless resource on the internet and there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Learn from others mistakes as well as gleaning from their most successful moments. Take that information and let it spark new ideas.

Blog about it—blogs are all about people’s passions, whether they be niche or broad. People like to read about the thing that makes you tick in a way that may surprise and fuel you. This is a great way to share what makes you special on a larger scale.

Find a path to it—do you need some additional education to move forward? Take a class, whether it be non credit adult education or signing up for a certificate/degree course work. Do you need to get a map to begin or just find the door? It’s up to you to blaze that path.

Launch Your Ambition

Step over the threshold—there’s a thin line between talking and doing. How can you put things into motion? Maybe it involves putting your energies toward a non-profit that supports your ambition. It might involve changing jobs or going into business for yourself so that your new dream surrounds you thoroughly every day. Maybe you need to write and distribute and e-book. It may mean establishing additional contacts who have found ways to incorporate their dreams into their everyday.

Set goals and make yourself accountable—you are in charge of making this work. Set some goals that have dates attached to them to keep you honest. And here’s the kicker, tell people about your next steps because they will also help keep you honest. Do you know why? They are excited about what you’re doing. They believe in you and want to see your end product. People believe in you. Make sure you are one of them. I mean, come one

Maintain momentum—Wow, you’ve accomplished several goals, which is fantastic—and makes this a horrible time to start coasting. My friend, this is a *rinse and repeat* scenario. Ideas beget ideas. (It’s in the Bible…) The new goal is to keep things moving forward. Why not make a list of 50 things you would like to accomplish as you put wheels on this dream of yours. Keep that document open—you’ll be surprised how it grows and how new ideas become what you are all about.

You are officially bravER—what else can you accomplish? I found that when I stopped being afraid of other’s judgements about my writing, I felt a lot freer to work on other things that had previously seemed out of my reach. Overcoming a big hurdle is empowering—use that momentum to accomplish other things!


  1. Jill -

    Thanks for this inspiring message. It’s just what I needed to hear to help me move forward in creating an ambitious photography business. I feel you now are one of my mentors and I look forward to reading more.


  2. Great post Jill – I know I teach this and preach this consistently. But, it is good for me to read this and approach it with a beginner’s mind too. I think it is worth taking a few minutes today at lunch to take stock, I know there are a few ambitions and dreams that I still keep hidden…


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