Remember when you were a kid and you were out on your bike? The perfect summer day, the wide blue sky above you and the open road before you. You felt like a king, an adventurer, like you could do anything you wanted. And remember that hill? The really big one that you were too scared to ride down because, well, it would mean going faster than you’d ever gone before?
But today, today was the day when you were going to conquer it, because today was one of those days where nothing could go wrong. So you ride to the top of the hill and before you can talk yourself out of it, you push off and you’re away. You feel so alive, so free, so invincible. You take your hands off the handlebars and your feet of the peddles and you just let gravity take you and it feels like you’re flying. You’ve never felt anything like it and you go faster and faster and you know nothing will ever feel this good.
You’re scared, but it’s that exciting scared, the one that makes your tummy feel funny, but you like it anyway. It’s the thrill you get on a rollercoaster or when you’re watching a scary movie or when you jump from the highest diving board into the pool.
Suddenly that exhilaration turns to anxiety, that rush of adrenalin turns to fear. The instinct is to grab the handlebars tightly and apply the brakes, to bring it back under control, to make it more manageable. Gone is the euphoria of success and in its place is a deep sense of regret and the ugly voice of recrimination. You tried it too soon, you knew you weren’t ready enough, good enough, skilled enough. You should have waited.
As I write this I am about to release my 21st and 22nd books. For the last, nearly, two years, I have been steadily writing and publishing book after book after book. It may sound to you that I have done that fearlessly, but you’d be wrong. Before every book launch I am plagued with doubt. I am not a best selling author, I’m not even yet making enough money to give up my day job, and most of the time I feel like a fraud, but I close my eyes and push the ‘publish’ button anyway because this is my dream and I want it more than I fear it.
Except this week.
This week I got the speed wobbles.
I have two books that are waiting their final edits before being published, I have a finished first draft that is waiting for a revision and I am half way through my next manuscript (and loving it by the way, no writers block so far), so by outward appearances, you would think that everything would be sweet. But…
That feeling of being inadequate, of being an imposter, of finally realising that you’ve been kidding yourself all this time. You’re not a writer, you’re not good enough, you’re not talented enough, you’re not popular enough…
So what do you do?
How to you overcome speed wobbles?
By leaning into it.
Our initial response is to back off. The handlebars are shaking and it feels unstable and our instinct is to slow down, to shift our weight backward, to retreat, but this will only make it worse. What you need to do is bear down on those shaky handlebars, move your weight forward and lean into it.
Will it still feel wobbly?
Probably, but you’ll have more control and before you know it you’ll be at the bottom of the hill having conquered it and the speed wobbles will just be an anecdote you tell to heighten the drama of the story of the day you rode down that hill and went faster than you’d ever gone before.
So what is it that’s giving you speed wobbles? A new job? A new relationship? A new goal?
Lean in to it. Don’t let it stop your progress. Conquer that hill and I’ll see you on the other side.