Last November I went to Spain with the idea that I would write a book, find my balance and kick someone’s ass at pool.
In the pool games Martin and I played, I found myself getting excited about possibly winning. And in those moments, realising I *could* win, I’d slip up.
At the same time, during the day, I was working on my first full book. Second draft but could have been called the first draft because I’d thrown the whole thing out and started again. And while I was writing chapters, my focus would break to the thoughts of, “holy shit, I’m writing a book! ME!”
I recently reviewed that manuscript and I can see in almost every sentence that thought coming through loud and clear.
The sense of disbelief and trying to live up to what I was doing, but not really doing it. Too caught up standing in the proverbial doorway, astounded at the potential, to actually walk through and do the thing.
To feel like a fraud while pretending I wasn’t.
I’ve talked to a lot of people who are in love with the idea of writing a book but haven’t even typed a chapter or a word. They’re waiting for “one day” to get started. I think it’s actually something else that’s going on.
The thing is, we get so caught up in the stories we tell about ourselves, and others, that it trips us up. I know I do this a lot.
“I could never be an actual writer because writers are deep and important and so many things that I’m not.”
See the stories in that sentence? Both about writers, a terrible and inaccurate generalization, and about who I am. Who I’ve decided I am.
And though I made the attempt to write, more than once, I failed because I was carrying those stories around with me. Hoping to push through to success with that in place is like trying to scale Mount Everest while carrying a minivan on your back.
Sure the minivan is nice to look at, and you are probably comfortable with it, but do you really need that extra 4500 pounds on your back?
While you may think the stories you tell about yourself and others don’t weigh you down quite that much, they actually do. They create walls and expectations and hem you in until you lead a mediocre life. Or worse, a life lived with resignation.
That’s easily more than 4500 pounds and it’s definitely strapped to your back.
I ended up winning a game of pool in Spain. The second one I played. And I didn’t do it because I was a better player than Martin, though we were both surprised to find that I have an unexpected talent for the game. He, by far, has years of experience on me.
No, I won it because I paused, took deep breaths and truly believed that I was a person who could win pool games.
It wasn’t, “holy shit I’m winning at pool”, it became, “I am the kind of person who wins at pool.” Notice the difference? No fakery, just owning a new story about myself.
As much as the perception of the reality we have around us can trap us with invisible walls, the stories we tell about ourselves shape our realities too. That if we are open to realising that the world may not be how we decided it was, then maybe we aren’t either.
So not only am I a person who loves to play pool, I am the person who wins at pool.
Not only am I a person who writes for an audience (that’s you!) but I am a person who writes books and does it well.
See how I’m stepping into owning those stories and changing how I move in them?
Changing my writing story in this moment, has me mentally dusting off my book and owning my role in writing it. Confident. Self-assured. These are my words and I am a writer.
I can feel the shift and it feels amazing. Like I’ve just built something good in myself.
So what stories can you change about yourself? What thing breaks you down because you feel unworthy or less than? Because changing your reality is as easy as changing your words and feeling them.
Oh, and Martin? I’m a person who kicks ass at pool. It’s long past time for a throw down, my friend.