Years ago I won a grant while in grad school which enabled me to design and pursue my own creative project over the summer. The grant was gifted to students and organized around this amazing question:
What is it you want to do that if you don’t do now…. you might never get around to it?
I discerned that for me the answer to that question was to spend the summer creating art. I felt this desire to work with color, to move and paint and to be in a community of artists.
But here was the thing: I didn’t really have any art skills. I had been kind of good in junior high art class….. but it had been a looooong time.
I was in the middle of a dual masters program at Harvard in very different (and much more intellectual) fields. So what could it possibly mean that I wanted to spend my summer painting?
Now looking back I think it meant many things, starting with a yearning to be in an active relationship with my creativity and out of my head. Also it was such a valuable practice to do something not because I was good at it (in fact I wasn’t) but simply for the pleasure, the fun, and the experience of growth. I hired an art therapist with part of grant money and she held my hand through the process.
I told her about subletting a studio and going to the art store and FILLING a shopping cart and more with supplies that called to me, including ENORMOUS canvases, essentially the size of a wall. Whatever was coming through me it wanted to be BIG.
I told her how sweaty I got — IMPOSTOR syndrome big time. I also felt kind of guilty at the same time I was hugely grateful. How come I was gifted this generous opportunity when I knew there were other REAL artists who would put this money to REAL art-making purposes?
She told me OF COURSE you get all fluttery and flushed. This is juicy stuff. This is growth. This is staring down your limiting ideas and definitions of yourself and opening to the unknown.
Why am I sharing this story with you? Because this is exactly what it feels like to be SCARECITED. (SCARED + EXCITED)
If we don’t know that moving in the right direction can actually activate all of these nervous, fluttery sensations in our body, we may interpret them incorrectly as evidence that we are moving in the wrong direction.
So how can we resource ourselves to move through this scarecited edge?
Tip One: Bring in the Breath.
Excitement and fear travel on the same neural pathways. One of the keys to engaging this buzzy energy as a positive body sensation is to BREATHE with it. Try it out. It is very empowering to actually feel the sensations shift.
Tip Two: Make Space.
Many of my clients are women who are already invested in their own growth and evolution. This is wonderful however they bring HIGH STANDARDS to everything, even their own inner exploration.
So please try to remember that it is normal to feel afraid when trying something new. Your personality or Enneagram type may in fact try to convince you to run in the other direction! Make room for all of these feelings and body sensations. You don’t have to be superwoman or press the spiritual bypass button and pretend to be more calm. Feel the feelings (fear/excitement/doubt/hope) in your body and do it anyway.
Tip Three: Line up the Supports (Both Externally & Internally)
Thinking back on that summer I don’t think I would have made it through without the support of the art therapist. She was so gentle with me and so encouraging. She helped me see how activated my INNER CRITIC had become in my competitive educational environment. She opened a door for me to walk through in which I could approach art as play. I learned SO MUCH in those hours alone in the studio. Insights and awarenesses which continue to shape and mold me as a woman, mom, writer and coach.
If you are currently stepping into a new phase of life or a career shift, consider finding relationships with people who can help you GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD. This makes a huge difference. It will help you metabolize the fear more efficiently and keep taking inspired next steps.
A regular meditation practice can be an invaluable inner support to help keep you from triggering your stress response as you move through the changes. (Much more guidance on how to start your own meditation practice in The Flourish Formula, which I’m gifting for free for a limited time.)
Now over to you:
Where do you find this scarecited feeling showing up in your life?
What helps you move through it?
I hope you will leave me a comment below!
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual master's degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School and is the author of The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever's Guide to Slowing Down and Accomplishing More and creator of the 8-Step Flourish Coaching Program. Courtney helps busy women unlock their greatest gifts and thrive in their personal lives. In the summer of 2017 she followed a long time dream and moved to Nicaragua with her husband Richard Amory (they met in Nicaragua in the Peace Corps) and their three children where together they are exploring volcanic islands, colonial cities and beaches. They have made their home in Granada where they are being tutored by their neighbors in the art of slowing down and living more. Interested to learn more? Each month Courtney offers a handful of complimentary Flourish Assessment Calls for new or potential clients. You can schedule one here.
Want to get the latest from Courtney?
Sign up here and receive THE ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT of her brand new book The Flourish Formula... Which when it was released earned Amazon best-seller status in Meditation, Time-Management and Life Skills!!