Prepare—the Universe Will Test You

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice by on October 31, 2011 • views: 639

harvey-dent-darkest-before-the-dawnIn the movie “The Dark Knight,” Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart (who ends up being the evil Two-Face), quiets an angry and fearful crowd by telling them, “The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.”

This quote comes to mind when I think about the challenges inherent in following your own voice.

When Nothing Goes Right

It’s scary enough to strike out on your own with an idea that may or may not become successful. It’s even more frightening when you’re in the middle of the challenge, and suddenly it seems like nothing is going right.

It’s happened to me a couple times, enough to know now that I should expect it. Shortly after turning in my resignation at my part-time graphic designing position (explained in my last post), the clouds rolled in.

One of my most stable clients experienced an upheaval. The managing editor left, and told me she wasn’t sure if the magazine would even continue to be published.

All my assignments were put on hold, perhaps indefinitely. A big part of my income disappeared, just like that, in one email.

I had already made my decision to leave my part-time position, which meant I was already losing one source of monthly income. I worried then about losing two at once—talk about timing!—but  it was too late to go back.

Besides, I had experienced this before. I recognized it as the “darkest night,” and assured myself the dawn would come.

Have Faith in Yourself

Writer and creative warrior Steven Pressfield talks about this phenomenon in his book, The War of Art. “The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight,” he writes. “At this point, Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.”

It’s almost like the forces around us want to be sure we’re committed to the new path, so they test our resolve.

As it turned out, after a two-month hiatus, my client contacted me again—the president this time—told me about the changes going on, and expressed his desire to keep me on board. That afternoon I had a list of new assignments.

I was reminded of another time in my career, back in 2008, when the economy started it’s downward plunge. I went through a few really lean months during that time, and wondered if after 12 years in the business I would have to choose another career.

I decided to have faith in myself, took out a loan, and a couple months later—right before the loan money ran out, of course—landed a large ghostwriting project that took me through the next several months.

When to Stay the Course

Yoga instructor Kino MacGregor talks about a similar challenge facing athletes running marathons, only she calls it “Having Faith in the Finish Line.”

There is a point in every marathon where no runner quits and there is another point where the majority drop out. The quitting point is painstakingly close to the finish line and…sits at approximately the last five percent of the race. The drop outs’ hurdle is the last stretch of the race where the end remains hidden from view….Doubt, anxiety, disbelief, exhaustion, dehydration, hunger, the feeling of no end in sight…compromise rational thought and convince many to throw in the towel. Just as night is somehow darkest just before dawn breaks, so too is the race toughest right before it ends.

What’s the solution? Have faith in yourself. Have faith in your idea, enough to see it through.

If it’s really not going to work, you’ll know it by listening to your inner voice. But if that voice is telling you to keep going, and you’re simply experiencing a little fear or panic because it seems everything’s moving against you, hang in there.

Even if you can’t see the dawn, know it’s coming. When it does, you’ll be glad you stayed the course.

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  1. lissa says:

    This is so me, having Faith in what you believe in the path your destined to take, and yes you will feel like dropping out and off of the coarse, but that push, or as I like to put it, the Rainbow after the rain, just go for it and do it…follow the gut feeling and stay the coarse………..Jazz