Following a week of real momentum and success, I was once again plagued by fear and doubt. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, calls these “blurts.” Carl Jung refers to this as the archetypal Saboteur. Ultimately, the name doesn’t matter; the effects are the same. When life starts to really flow, this ugly and often cruel voice interrupts the momentum, leaving in its wake shattered confidence. I have faced this beast before, too many times to count. And it cannot be a coincidence that as I work through Julia Cameron’s creative recovery process, I come face to face with my own saboteur during week 2: Recovering a sense of IDENTITY.
It stands to reason that this voice of self-doubt–and self-loathing–would have a vested interest in our not uncovering our real identity. As I face myriad choices for my life, my career, and my creativity, I am finding many reasons to be afraid. The unknown is frightening. It’s uncertain, unchartered. And putting myself “out there” opens me up to the judgment of others…and possible failure. But choose I must. And in the course of trying to figure out what the right choice is on multiple topics, I discovered something that could truly simplify my life: the right choice is the one that requires the most courage.
Over the past day, I have tested this theory over and over with little thought experiments. Choice after choice, the results are amazingly consistent. The courageous choice is always the one that stretches us, moves us forward, ignores what people might think, and best reflects who we really are. It’s the choice that allows us to move beyond the voice of self-doubt, silencing the saboteur with decisiveness, bravery, and action. Without a doubt, my saboteur is not at all happy about this insight–or its application. But I suspect that this simple litmus test might just change my life.