Recently a friend of mine asked how things are going with my screenwriting, and I updated her on all the cool things that are popping. She started squirming and hopping around with excitement.
“Yay, Melissa, Omg, finally, your dream is coming truuuuuuue!” she squealed.
After a few seconds, though, her face fell.
She asked, “Are you… excited?”
I nodded and said, “Yeah, of course!”
She knotted her eyebrows and said, “‘Cause you don’t look excited. You look… terrified.”
I paused and blurted out, “That’s because things don’t usually work out for me. I’m just waiting for something to go horribly wrong.”
The words tumbled out so fast, I barely even realized I was saying them. As soon as I’d spoken, though… whoa. I was stunned by my own negativity and fearfulness. That’s so not like me! Or, um, is it?
As someone who constantly preaches about making your workday feel like a “guilty pleasure” and “enjoying the journey” and “celebrating your success,” in that moment, I wasn’t listening to my own advice.
Instead I was wallowing in anxiety, convinced that my recent “wins” were about to be snatched away at any moment.
Instead of celebrating, I was fearfully waiting for the sky to start falling down.
But you know what? The sky isn’t falling.
The reality is: I’ve been working hard – really hard – and now I’m receiving some exciting opportunities because I’ve hustled my heart out and written my booty off. If my writing is beginning to garner a bit of attention, that’s because I’ve earned it. I’m allowed to feel good about that!
After having a good cry and then a subsequent laugh, then a nice pleasure break in my twerk hip-hop class, I’m feeling much more celebratory—settling into that “next level” feeling and enjoying this moment instead of panicking that it’s all about to end abruptly.
How about you?
Is something wonderful happening in your career but you’re glossing right over it, not telling anyone about it, because you’re afraid it won’t last?
Are you feeling like your latest “win” was a total fluke, not something you can sustain?
Or worrying that the sky is going to shatter and crumble at any moment?
It’s OK to feel those anxious feelings. Feel the anxiety. Party with it—as actor/teacher Josh Pais says—and then release it and focus on some celebration and pleasure.
You’re allowed to feel great about your successes, big and small.
Pop a bottle of champagne and take a moment to freak out with joy (even if you’re just home alone in your PJs, squealing at your dog, “I am amazing!!!”) and then move onto your next project. You earned that exciting victory with your talent, commitment, and persistence—and there’s plenty more where that came from.Read More