Dear family, friends, and my paralyzed self…
Dear friends and family who don’t get “why I haven’t put my writing out there”,
Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
I didn’t get it either.
Some invisible force brings me to a screeching halt after I’ve crafted what seems to be a great action plan. It’s like a temporary paralysis comes over my mind, body, and spirit when it’s time to press send on an email or click publish on Medium or WordPress.
This never happens when people ask me to give them legal or business advice. Y’all have seen me analyze business problems and synthesize legal arguments until the cows, chickens, and salmon all come home. Because I love helping people and learning, I always look forward to hearing the results of my help. Not to see if it has worked; I know it will (or else I wouldn’t have said it). I like to hear the results so I can continuously improve my understanding of different things.
Anyway, the action part has never been my responsibility when I help people. And, in case you haven’t heard it through the grapevine, since I left the Foundation (aka my job) last December, I’ve become more sure that helping people is what I want to continue to do. So when it came time to flex my entrepreneurship muscles earlier this year, I knew I could form the business, create the content, craft the marketing strategy, and keep a keen eye on the finances. It would all take a lot of work, but I knew I could do it.
What I didn’t know was that the act of publishing or sharing this content with the world would send me into a spiritual zombie state. It was like I became a reverse version of a patient in Awakenings starring Robert De Niro & Robin Williams. I was walking around talking about my ideas and plans, but inside I was paralyzed. My spirit was asleep. The lights were on and I was at home, but I was stuck inside.
I had this realization after a tearful happy-for-him, mad-at-myself, why-not-me-yet Lord moment that started when I learned that an article my law school classmate Paul A. Bromley wrote was being published by Huffington Post.
I prayed about my feelings and asked God to show me what I was doing wrong. He said to me: “nothing”.
After days of letting His response run in the background of my mind, I finally understood what the Lord was telling me. It’s not that I was doing anything wrong. It’s that I wasn’t doing anything at all! Right after this realization, the Lord said:
Your road to success is paved with action.
This sentence is my truth. I have to continuously make moves. That is my goal. Plan. Move. Reflect. Repeat.
Part of my frustration with the success of others is strongly connected to my inaction. I’ve been dealt a great hand but, until now, I was playing it all wrong. Since I left the Foundation I’ve been writing and creating a platform to share my story, writings, and encouragement with the world. But I never did anything other than behind the scenes stuff. I never pushed ‘send’. And I definitely never clicked ‘publish’.
So naturally, the writing card has been burning my hand. I needed to play it a long time ago. So, after reflecting on my contribution to the emotional moment I mentioned earlier, I decided that, instead of waiting a few more weeks until my website is done, I’m going to share my thoughts with the world immediately. I’m going to publish this letter on Medium and play the damn writing card. After that, I’m gonna play the rest of the cards I’ve been dealt like a champ.
Because I’ve let fear paralyze me for quite a long time (over a year to be honest), action is my only remedy. I’ve given myself some time to do some research and craft a preliminary plan. Now it’s time to go to work. I look forward to having greater clarity after each action I take. Heck things are already clearer now that I analyzed my feelings instead of just letting them out and moving on.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not drinking the productivity Kool-aid and thinking that everything will be simple. I know that every action won’t necessarily be a win but I have faith that every action will bring clarity. Yes, even the actions that seem like failures will be handled as the redirection and new opportunities they truly are.
I don’t have the entire map of my future planned out but I am feeling hella accomplished to have come this far. That reminds me of another benefit that I have found. Now, y’all know that I’m constantly trying to dodge the depression cloud that hovers over some of my family members and stays trying to spread itself to cover me. So, at this point in my life, feeling better about action as opposed to inaction is a total win!
At the end of the day, the phrase that is totally cliché is absolutely true: If you don’t play you can’t win. I think my key to understanding this phrase is that I have to be clear about the game being played. I’m playing to win MY game. Not your game or society’s game. I’m running MY race. I know y’all may want to but you can’t run my race for me. (Let’s be honest, your knees have always known this truth…) As spectators and commentators you can only support me. That’s what y’all do best! So, I’m gonna love y’all and leave y’all on the sidelines. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep pushing myself to act while continuing to learn, research, and modify my plan as I go along my journey of life.
Thanks for understanding my thoughts and my truth that I’d rather get redirected to a new opportunity because my action wasn’t successful than to be stuck under the depression cloud not acting.
Lots of hugs & love,
Nini a.k.a. Action Jackson-in-Progress