Fear, Shame, Sickness and Death

Coming up with this title last night was such an amusing moment for me. Today, my friends, the subjects of Frau Lehtola’s corner of inspiration are: fear, shame, sickness and death. Have fun!


Reading the stats of my blog page is my new hobby. It might be slightly self centered, but I am hooked. It is confusing, that the only continent, where no one has yet read my posts, is the Antarctic. When I see, that someone for example in Ghana has read something I wrote, I get this wonderful rush of excitement. But, when somebody has read me in Finland, yes – I get a rush of excitement, but also a rush of something else. Embarrassment.


The reader could be anyone. An old school mate, someone I have only met once, an ex-colleague… Here I am, writing whatever comes to my mind without considering that much who is reading this stuff. The secret to my creativity. Well no, in reality I do have a picture in my mind about someone who might read my stories, but the picture is wonderfully vague and in that way not that intimidating. It would be great if I would have a huge amount of readers, but hold on – some of them might think that this is, that I am, completely foolish. And what about the fact, that I have shared my plans with The Internet? What if I will not realize them? What if I am all talk and no action? What if I realize, that what I had before was ok and want to go back?


Apparently moving abroad was not a high enough fear factor for me. I had to start thinking about this professional thing all over again, too. And even that was not enough, I had to go and write about it so that anyone can see. And now I am terrified. Because, you know, when I started all this, it was kind of nice and idyllic. I was sitting in a café with my sketchpad and a Milchkaffee and dreaming. I am really good at planning and it has always been my favourite part of every work project, planning something brand new. I was sitting there satisfied, wiping crumbs of chococroissant from my jaw, excited about my new, wonderful future vision. I wrote a couple of blog posts and told my husband and my best friend about them.


Now the situation is completely different. People, other than the husband and the BFF, are reading my blog. And I signed up for a coaching course. And I cannot take it back. And now I am scared and embarrassed. And that is uncool, because it would be nice to have only those nice feelings, like warmth, a full stomach, waking up refreshed, unwavering self esteem and unconditional acceptance from the whole world.


But then I thought – wait a minute! Aren’t I a producer, who, through my whole working life, has carried out these big projects that brought all kinds of changes with them? How is this any different? Why is it so much easier to follow through with changes that have to do with work, than with changes that have to do with ourselves? When did I ever tell people in the office, that sorry guys, this plan was just a phase? We are often so good at realizing all kinds of things at the workplace, but when it comes to us, we are struck with terror, especially if there is a risk that we might actually have to follow through.


But isn’t it a paradox, that at the workplace the stakes are often much higher? There we might be talking about big amounts of money, many people and a much bigger audience for the possible failures. But in my own life – what if I learn, that I am not able to get any other kind of work than what I have been doing? What if no one wants to pay for what I would like to do the most? What if I realize, that I do not want any change after all?


This is the moment for the reader to get scared: boo! I will receive education. I will have enjoyed blogging. Someone somewhere might have gotten inspired by something I have written. I might find a new approach to my profession and get excited about it in a new way.


The more I think about it, the more it seems to me, that in spite of the icky feelings of fear and embarrassment, I might be entering the most important and critical phase of the process. This is when I get to see, if I am just someone talking and talking but never delivering. Am I just the dreamer who never actually realizes all those cool ideas? Or am I ready to really make tings happen even if… Well, if what? I have to change the plan? You are allowed to get terrified again.


So that was the fear theme, but what about the embarrassment? I am one of those people, who are embarrassed just about everything, but most of all about things I have said or not said. Shame might well accompany me forever, so what do I actually have to lose in that regard? If the shame is too much for me to handle, I can always go back to realizing other peoples’ visions. Sounds a bit boring, but at least I won’t have to be ashamed. The only thing is, that I would probably still be embarrassed. I have given birth to two children, buried a couple of loved ones, carried out big projects and moved abroad. Really – is shame the opponent I cannot defeat? I think I already drew my conclusions about this.


Oh – and I was supposed to talk something about sickness and death. So here it comes as promised, I am sure you have been waiting for this. After some losses and encounters I have had recently, I have been thinking quite a lot about how so few of us really have the full house of life, health and resources (I don’t mean the financial ones, necessarily). And how short can be the time, when we actually possess those. The more I think about it, the more criminal it starts to seem to think about quitting or settling. How often do we not take full advantage of those cards and only play the game 50 %? Guys – we who have have all that, it is our responsibility to play the most amazing game our minds can imagine. And do it right away!


P.S. By the way – this photo was taken of me in my last job in Finland.


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