Stop Resisting and Start Creating

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[Today’s post comes from my friend, Karl Staib, an Austin dad, blogger at Work Happy Now and co-creator of Fear to Fuel]

“Whatever your dreams are, start taking them very seriously.” – Barbara Sher of Wishcraft

Do you ever have a great idea, but you choose not to act on it?

The world seems to revolve around great ideas. We put people up on a pedestal because they have come up with a brilliant idea. What no one talks about is all the hard work that goes behind the success.

I was recently talking to a fellow blogging friend who told me that if he would have started his blog 5 years ago he would have 50,000 followers like some of the bloggers we follow. I had to laugh at this.

“What’s stopping you now?” I asked.

“There is so much noise out there. It’s harder to build an audience.”

He was right, but it’s not any harder – it’s just different. Before the internet, writers had to break through the layers of the bureaucracy of printing companies. It’s never easy to build a tribe. It just takes some creativity and leveraging the right spots.

The Real Truth

“If you are deliberately trying to create a future that feels safe, you will willfully ignore the future that is likely.” – Seth Godin

The truth is that your fear is holding you back. You have genius inside of you. You just need to stop letting your fear dictate your actions.

That means having a plan of attack.

Stop Resisting

Your fear comes from your amygdala, the first part of your brain that develops as a baby. Seth Godin likes to call it the Lizard Brain because most highly developed creatures have this section of the brain. We need this part of the brain to develop first because we depend on it for survival. Without it we would contemplate running from a charging lion instead of making the quick decision to run for our freaking lives.

Now that you know why your fear kicks in, you have to recognize that this part of your brain gets too much attention. It’s why people hate to stand in front of a crowd. We don’t want all those eyes staring at us. It doesn’t feel safe.

Because our fear goes so deep into our genes we will never get rid of it. We have to learn to use it to help us succeed.

Friend Your Fear

The best place for personal growth opportunities is where your fear resides. The people who understand this make fear into their friend.

For example, I like to call my fear Dr. Oatzel. It helps make my fear more manageable. I’ll also refer to Dr. Oatzel as my arch nemesis. Because really I can be my own worst enemy.

I’ll actually go for walks and talk to my fear. We walk side by side, usually enemies, but friends during this walk. We discuss what’s holding me back and how I can use him to grow stronger.

Know Your Superpowers

Your superpowers separate you from the crowd. Superpowers are those actions that make the most of your strengths, passion, and focus. When you have all three elements, overcoming your fear is easy.

One of Jonathan’s superpowers is connecting people with content they need to improve their lives. He knows how to make sure his audience keeps coming back.

By focusing on this every day, he makes an impact. He isn’t worried about putting out the perfect post because there is no such thing. He keeps putting content up that he feels will do the most good.

Start Creating

You have to be a catalyst for creation. That may mean creating your own original work or helping other people improve their work.

I actually prefer the latter. I’m a natural coach. I love the process of helping someone else succeed.

I noticed that people would often ask me for career and business advice, so I began to understand more of what I needed to do to help the world.

What do you do in your spare time?

The easiest way to understand your passions is to see what you do in your spare time. What do you enjoy so much that it doesn’t feel like work?

I have a friend who was a lawyer and turned herself into a writer because she realized that all of her colleagues loved reading law books. She liked reading self-help books and children’s books. She knew that she needed to steer her career in a new direction.

You may not think that you can make your passions into a career, but you can. You just need to find the right avenue to make it a reality.

You may not want to taint your passion by making it into your career. This is fine, but you do need to share it; otherwise you are depriving the world of greatness.

Share your superpowers with the world

You have greatness that needs to be shared with the rest of the world. Maybe you love to garden; you can teach people in your community about how to develop a garden in their backyard. You may love to paint. You could be selling your paintings in the local coffee shop.

I know this can be scary, but if you aren’t sharing your superpowers with the rest of the world, you are really being selfish. You are letting your fear hold you back form improving people’s lives.

Your Turn…

What are you doing to change your life?

How can you do more of the work that will change the world?

Karl Staib is the founder of Work Happy Now and creator of Fear to Fuel, a program designed to help people figure out how to do the work that they are passionate about.

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38 responses

38 responses to “Stop Resisting and Start Creating”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Fields, remarkablogger, Grant Griffiths, April, Frederic Abramson and others. Frederic Abramson said: RT @remarkablogger: RT @jonathanfields Stop Resisting and Start Creating (pls RT) […]

  2. April says:

    Hey Karl and Jonathan-

    I really appreciate this post. I’m at the beginning of two different projects, and my “lizard brain” or inner critic keeps popping up, and I’m trying my best to resist it and keep pushing forward. But, some days it’s really challenging. This post just gave me another push to continue those projects and keep moving forward. Thanks!

  3. Great post, Karl. I can definitely attest to this from personal experience as well. The best time to start…is when you start. Sure, of course there is more noise now. But the world needs you.

    Drive, creativity and passion matter a lot more than a big budget and ability to get past Gatekeepers.

    We need more artists, creatives, writers, passionate bloggers, the list goes on.

  4. April Tara says:

    Excellent post! Thank you both! I’ve started a few projects during a burst of confidence but unfortunately my fear kicks in and I end up getting stuck. No matter how much other people will tell me I’m good at something, my own “Dr. Oatzel” just talks over them.

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thanks again!

    • I love that initial burst of creativity. It’s my favorite part. The problem is the fear kicks in and I start to slow down. It helps to have a partner or a coach that keeps you on track. Creating Fear to Fuel was easier to finish because I had someone to push me and also lean on for support.

      I would also suggest starting a few projects, but quickly dumping the ones that don’t hold your attention. It’s easier to stay motivated and productive when you don’t have too many other things pulling on your time.

  5. What am I doing to change to my life? I’m learning it’s okay to ask for what I want and then ask for help to make it happen. This has been incredibly liberating for me!


    • Jeanne says:

      Love that, Alex:

      I’m learning it’s okay to ask for what I want and then ask for help to make it happen. This has been incredibly liberating for me!

      Me, too!

      Terrific post, Karl 🙂 Thanks.

  6. I liked this one, particularly the bit about naming your fear and going for walks with him and hashing it out. I think Nathan already dropped his name somewhere, so I recognized him…

    I’ve found an interesting thing about my own fear (who definitely needs a more creative name) – it’s a master of disguises. It’s always pretending to be something else – I can make up all sorts of excuses to avoid admitting that it’s actually what it is, fear. It’s being too busy, or stressed, or overwhelmed, or I have too many ideas, or… you get the picture. All these things are true, but they are not actually the root of the problem; they are circumstances I’ve created to help avoid facing the work and thus the fear. So it goes.

    Anyway, not to grumble, I’m making progress and learning and I seem to manage to get things accomplished despite my nameless adversary, but it’s good to be reminded how important it is to know your fear, so you can come to some sort of agreement with it…

    • That’s exactly it. Our fear is there for a reason, we should never ignore it. We need to create a relationship with our fear that helps us make smart decisions, but doesn’t hold us back from accomplishing great work.

  7. Hi Karl,

    As you note we each have greatness within us which needs to be shared with the world.

    The seed of genius grows only by strangling the weeds of fear and doubt which surround it. Inspired action kills fear.

    Thanks for sharing your insight and have a fun weekend 🙂


  8. This was fun to read. I’d love to know how Karl chose “Dr. Oatzel.” …
    …which illustrates that my fear masquerades as a distraction: “Let’s spend creative energy on what to name MY fear, instead of moving forward those big, scary, lay-myself-on-the-line projects.”
    I’ll have to do an hour of cold-calling as penance . . .

  9. Loved that part about not ignoring but embracing your fear understanding and then using it to do follow your dreams.

    What I do these days is actually find out what I am afraid of, and then go ahead and do it anyway. Since none of my fears involve a snarling lion yet I have survived till now 🙂

  10. Marc Luber says:

    Great post! I love that line, “The easiest way to understand your passions is to see what you do in your spare time”.

    When I was struggling to choose a major at U of Michigan, that’s the same advice a counselor gave me. Inspired, I pursued a path in the music business…and 4 years after graduation, I was working on a Rolling Stones tour!

    Years later I left when that path did “taint my passion” – but I kept sharing the passion by mailing out an annual 2-CD compilation to friends & family of my top music picks of the year. Big hit! Like you said, it’s never too late to start following and sharing your passions! The world (at least YOUR world) will appreciate it.

  11. Lauren Dugan says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I am pretty harsh on myself, and locating this inner critic as part of that spectrum of fear inside my brain is a great way to look at it.

    Facing your fears is one of those cliches that you have to really dig into to find any meaning in – but if you take action and stare your fears down, it really works!

  12. I love this post Karl, thanks for sharing.

    I know that as I stretch and grow with both my personal and business life, fear tries to stop me in my tracks.

    I have learned to look it in the eyes, and see what it is trying to tell me. Then, if it has real merit I address those individual issues. Then I move on. If there is just fear, for fears sake, I laugh out loud. I have found that the longer you laugh at fear the harder time it has sticking around.


  13. Julie says:

    Wow – Karl – I love this quote – thanks for sharing it:
    “If you are deliberately trying to create a future that feels safe, you will willfully ignore the future that is likely.” – Seth Godin

    Your post is very inspiring and comes at a much needed time when I’ve felt stuck! I also love the part about focusing on your superpowers – and found that very helpful! Now let those floodgates to creativity and action OPEN! Yay!

    Happy weekend!


  14. hey there karl ~
    i appreciate your words here – especially naming your fear in order to communicate with it in a constructive way. i love to name things, so this is a great “fun with my fear” activity. if we can just get the idea that our fear is useful and a source for learning more about what holds us back, we can befriend our own “Dr. Oatzels” and live in a more empowered way.

    thanks for sharing!

  15. Cori Padgett says:

    I’m still working on nailing just what my super powers are, but I’m all for sharing them once I’ve got it figured out! I think we’re all put on this earth to make impact somewhere, whether on a small or large scale and we have a choice as to whether that impact is positive or negative. I choose positive, and figure I’ll work out the logistics as I go. 🙂

  16. David says:

    Karl, this is great advice but I fear it may have come a little too late. Re-adjusting my thinking to allow my ‘genius’ to come out hasn’t been an easy process and it’s taken a long time. Right now my bank account is telling my genius to shut its pie hole and get back to my old career – the career that pays well but destroys my soul (and isn’t particularly family life friendly).

    I’m finding it difficult to silence the lizard brain and my genius is reluctant to come out to play. Sometimes I so badly want to get back to work just to take away the pain of the overdraught but sometimes I resist because I feel sure I’m about to make the genius thing happen.

    What am I doing to change my life? Living a chaotic and uncomfortable existance in the hope (but not blind hope) that I can pull it together just in time.

    Thanks for this I enjoyed it. 🙂


  17. Steven H says:

    Hey Karl – I remember reading your blog a few months ago (before I fell off the face of blogosphere, only to return like an unwanted pimple). I really like your attitude and philosophy about work. I’m going to make sure I start visiting your blog again and getting immersed in your work.

    One thing however,

    “Because our fear goes so deep into our genes we will never get rid of it. We have to learn to use it to help us succeed.”

    I don’t like thinking of ourselves as being stuck with our genes. A lot of biology and anthropology shows us that genes express themselves very differently depending on our environment, culture, habits, and mental disposition. We may have an innate fear of public-speaking (because there are too many eyes on us), but by changing our attitude and thoughts (and by getting more experience public-speaking) we can overcome that fear. We can turn that nervous energy into something creative, like the thrill we get from a roller coaster.

    Just my two cents. Great piece and I’m looking forward to reading more soon!

  18. Noah Fleming says:

    Nice post. I wrote a similar post on my blog last week called…

    Don’t Resist – Release.

    I can’t help but think of someone like Andy McKee, who I mention in my post, imagine if he resisted because he was scared and afraid.

    Like Karl said, maybe your thing is gardening… We need to know about it.

    The big revealing thing about all of this, is that we’re waiting for you. Not only that, if you’ve got a crazy kick-ass superpower of a talent, we’re not only waiting for you, we’re ready to prop you up.


    What a shame. How many Andy’s are out there hiding.

  19. Bollie says:

    Nice post.
    Thanks for shaking out some of the cobwebs and assiting me to wake up.Yawn.Stretch 🙂
    Focus is my issue.I think getting focused might scare that little piece of SHT lizard of mine.
    I was in the High Percentile equally in ALL areas so never could pick just ONE.
    Good Band too.
    If you hear any Yodeling it’s just moi taking my lizard for a stroll.

  20. Evan says:

    Hi Karl, thanks for this. A couple of comments.

    I think is being silly. Who wants to create a future that is unsafe. Not me, that’s for sure. There’s more than enough unsafe things in the present. If you’re smart you’ll do all you can to minimise risk.

    I really like your emphasis on making friends with fear.

    At the moment I’m changing my life by building a business around my blog.

    Chaning the world. For the world to be worth saving we need to do it differently (there is way too much unnecessary suffering in this way of doing things). My part in this is getting people in touch with the core of who they are. I think people living from the heart is one part of what makes our world worth saving.

  21. Annie Stith says:

    Hey, Karl!

    This was so inspiring! Rarely do I hear from anyone on the ‘net that it’s OK to NOT make my passion into a career.

    My passion is to help people change their lives, getting past a specific “hump” I’ve had to work past myself. If I make some money, fine. However, that’s NOT my primary focus. If I help ONE person, it will have been worth it.


  22. Dana Shino says:

    . . . just the top line in the article about “get started” was what prompted me to pull my book “When Elephants Fly – A Spiritual Account About Living The Convictions of Intuitive Truth” off the shelf and begin final edits. Despite rejections from several publishers, it’s just time to put it out there on Amazon regardless! Thanks for the reminder to just do it!

  23. Shannon says:

    Fear – it hold so many of us back. Your imagery of taking fear for a walk, becoming friends with it, stands out for me. Recognizing fear that it is there and that there’s a reason that it’s there, but as a sharpening tool not a roadblock. If we understand (know) our fear and where it is coming from then it is easier to determine if it real or false.

    The combination of that with knowing your superpowers – heck recognizing that you have them and what they are- is so very powerful. Mindset keys that unlock potential and growth, in whatever areas that may be.

  24. […] to spreading the link love, but one of my favorites is on Jonathan Fields blog. It’s called Stop Resisting and Start Creating. Leave a comment and join in on the conversation. […]

  25. Caroline says:

    Fear is not usually the issue – it’s energy.

    There is a very American notion that we just stand up, dust off our hands, go after our passion and magic happens.

    The truth of the matter is most people don’t have the energy to muster attending a simple class at a community college to pursue their passion.

    The primary thing we need to figure out is how to generate more energy.

    • Evan says:

      Hi Caroline, I like that way of putting it. I think the answer is to do with us knowing our competing desires.

    • Annie Stith says:

      Hey, @Caroline!

      For me, I think the problem is both fear and lack of energy.

      It seems sometimes the only energy I DO have is energy from my anxiety. Anti-productive, dis-organized, frenetic energy that holds me back instead of moving me forward.


  26. Phil Miller says:

    Thanks for the thoughts on what I refer to as “getting over yourself”.

    In a similar vein to your “naming your fear”, I regularly ask my students and clients to fully visualize failure in whatever context we are talking about. Most of the time the most creatively negative downsides they can come up with aren’t all that impressive. Even to themselves.

    It seems to force them to articulate some specifics. Then they can work through plans to manage thetangible risks or simply confront the reality that the biggest obstacle is in their own mind. This personal mental prison is very common. I appreciate your efforts to help people get over it.

  27. Karl,
    It’s great to see you over here and I love the name you’ve given your fear. My fear is Edgar! LOL

    Who ever hires you as a coach is a smart person. Thanks again for the coaching you gave me. I’ve made big progress because of it. You’re the best!

  28. knees says:

    Fear manifests as energy, and often we shrink from this source, falsely assigning it too much authority and say in our life. Can fear be “transmuted” into fuel we can use in our lives to embrace what we believe and want? I wonder. I used to cringe when that fear wave rolled over me, then I’d shrink, and slink away. Now I am intending that this wave be of service and with a laugh and a twinkle I welcome and invite this power surge to be for me the best and highest energy it can be. Know what I mean? Hmmmmm…thanks for the opening. No fear; or, fear is…next! love.peace.learning.
    Every moment manifesting the One.

  29. […] Stop Resisting and Start Creating  […]

  30. Cool, eh. So it’s about befriending your fear to ultimately make it something useful to some extent. That’s a good point since many people are actually held back by their fears. But once we “befriend” them and learn about their origins, where they wreak havoc, what keeps them sleeping and inactive and all that… then we know how to address them at any given time.

    I’ve learned this way. Of course, it goes to say that this isn’t among the skills one can master really quickly. But like all friendships, it takes time. 🙂

    Great post here. keep it up!

  31. Eleazar says:

    The fear of failure is one of the big stumbling blocks to success in what endeavor we will embark into. It’s about time to change our mind set. It’s better to try and fail than not trying at all. What matters most is that we learn lessons from failures.