The picture above is of a stainless steel plaque that is affixed to the base of my main monitor. That means I see it, even if only subliminally, hundreds of times a day. And, I make it a point to start my day by really looking at it and thinking about what it means.
The plaque was part of a limited edition of the book, “Do The Work” by Stephen Pressfield. The engraving is a knight battling and slaying a dragon. Pressfield says this about the image.
“On the field of self
stand a knight and a dragon.
You are the knight.
Resistance is the dragon”
I need to look at the plaque and its affirmation to Beat Resistance every day. I need to remind myself that if I allow doubt, fear, alibis, and a thousand other excuses to creep into my mind that my work is in peril.
I’m not unique in this respect. It happens to you too. Instead of picking up the phone and making the call to a new potential client you work on organizing your customer database. Instead of creating a presentation that you can offer to organizations to help spread the message that is vitally important to your work, you surf the net telling yourself you need to do more research first.
Instead of doing your work – the work of self-expression that is vital to defining your uniqueness, you let resistance push and shove you towards stuff that doesn’t really matter.
How do you beat it? Pressfield’s book is dedicated to teaching you the answer to that question and I recommend you read it. But, if you don’t have it handy let me share with you what I do every single day.
I start my day very early and before the coffee is made, before I even think about breakfast, I climb the stairs to my loft and I open up Word. While it is opening, I look at the plaque and I acknowledge that Resistance is real and that I will fight it again today and I will win.
And, I also acknowledge that when Resistance is at its strongest, I am doing the right thing for me. Right now I’m writing a new book. Every day more words get strung together to form sentences, then paragraphs, chapters, and finally a new book will emerge.
Resistance whispers in my ear and says it won’t be good enough. It tells me that my friends Seth, Tim, Megan and Jodi won’t like it but they won’t tell me. It whispers who needs another book about sales. It reminds me about all the words of approval I wanted to hear when I was just a kid but didn’t get. Resistance tries to get into my head and my heart.
But, I say “Go to hell. You’re not going to beat me, Resistance.”
And, so like Pressfield, I do the work. I keep writing. And as I do it I become more and more energized. I know I’m doing what I love and love will beat Resistance every single time. Resistance begins to shrink and look smaller and smaller. But, suddenly it will rear up again and tell me I don’t deserve to feel this good about my work because it isn’t good enough – I’m not good enough. And, that’s when I close my eyes and picture the dragon standing with fire coming from its smoky mouth confronting me and I hear it laughing. But, I will not let it kill me. Instead, I pull out a sword and I plunge it straight into its little black heart.
I keep on writing. You’ll make the phone call to that potential client. Someone else will stop the research and start building the presentation that will be seen by hundreds and then thousands. Your message, your art, the work the world wants you to do will happen.
You will have won today. Tomorrow the fight begins anew but the battle will not be as difficult because you’ll be stronger. You’ll be stronger because you have learned that the first and the final answer to beating the whispers and fears, the doubts and the naysayers is to just do the work.
You can do it. I can do it. We may be doing different work but those of us who are doing the work we love are doing it together. And, together, we are strong enough to beat any kind of Resistance.