When refusing to choose is self-sabotage

“But eventually I had to choose if I hoped to enjoy any success. If I didn’t choose, then it would have been impossible for me to focus my energy. Lack of focus is a huge reason that too many talented writers never make it. They have chosen a plan that has very high odds of failure.” ~Kristen Lamb

I’ve been spending a lot of time pondering the whole “what do I want to do with the rest of my life” question lately—particularly with respect to how I want to make a living once my grant-funded job runs out at the end of next year. The time to start building that business is now while I still have other income, so I’m feeling the urge to get moving in that direction.

I am fully committed to creating a life and a way of making a living that encompasses my various passions in a Joyfully Jobless kind of way. I want to combine multiple money-making activities in such a way that I create a life of variety of tasks, a chance to explore multiple passions and talents, and financial security through diversification.

The challenge, however, is that I am having a hard time narrowing down my many ideas of what I might want to do to a logical starting point. Not only is my list of possible interests overwhelmingly long, it continues to expand all the time I brainstorm different ways to combine my various interests in business possibilities. When I consider all of the potential training, credentialing, website/blog building, and business development I would need to do for all of these options, I rather quickly become paralyzed.

I know if need to narrow down the list enough to provide a starting focal point, but (so far) I have not been able to accomplish this, and I haven’t understood why this is. I think I found an answer today in Kristen Lamb’s blog post entitled R.D.D.–Reality Deficit Disorder Can Make Us Crazy. She talks about how she sees so many would-be authors wearing themselves thin trying to maintain multiple author platforms to support writing in several different genres. They spend so much time developing the various blogs and websites that they wind up never actually getting anything written for publication in any of them.

She proposes that for many of them the root problem is a subconscious sabotage stemming from a fear of failure or of success (or both). This hit me upside the head like a proverbial two-by-four. That’s exactly what I’m doing. If I spend all this time and energy evaluating all my options and setting up half-hearted attempts at turning them into businesses (half-hearted because I can’t do them all at any depth), it allows me to feel like I’m busily getting lots done without ever really doing the real work necessary to succeed at any of them—thereby ensuring that I don’t take any real risk.


I’m glad I caught this now before I spent more time spinning my wheels needlessly. I need to stop the self-sabotage and choose. I even think I can safely choose more than one thing to start out with, but I need to narrow the options down to a very few targeted avenues to begin developing, exploring, and building. What are the key things that I am passionate enough about, have sufficient ability to develop expertise/get training/obtain certification in by the end of next year, and have sufficient earning potential to make a realistic portfolio for starting out?

The beauty of this joyfully jobless approach is that I am not limited forever by any choice I might make. My portfolio of money-making activities can shift and grow over time as I continue to learn, pursue new interests, and find new opportunities. Knowing that any choices I make for now will not limit my future takes the pressure off. I’m just picking my starting point—and sticking with it long enough to create something useful.

I can do this. It’s not easy, but I am committed enough to creating the life I want that I’m willing to do what it takes to make it happen. Even the hard task of choosing.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.

5 thoughts on “When refusing to choose is self-sabotage

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, and best of luck on your journey. It can be liberating when we can see how sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Greatness is never forged in the comfort zone, but in the fire ;).

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