Facing my “Doer’s Block”

It’s been brought to my attention by every single one of my teachers (including the 2-year-old) that I’m holding myself back.

To me, this shows up as distraction, procrastination, and dread, and it applies to things that I love as well as things I don’t. To them, it looks like inaction. Like a lot of talk with no walk.

Lucky for me, my teachers are both patient and kind. They’ve given me the space to explore what I call “Doer’s Block”.

Much of what I want to accomplish involves writing. I love to write, and I don’t have writer’s block. My hurdle is the specific action of sitting down and focusing on begining to do the writing. Once I start, it’s a breeze.

What is it that keeps me from starting? Well, it’s actually two things: fear and ego. Fear is my response to the lie I’m telling myself, and ego is the voice that’s telling me the lie.

Here are some lies that even I, a fairly confident person, tell myself on a daily basis:

“You’re not qualified to say/teach/do that.”
“You’re not good enough.”
“If you do that, the people you love will leave.”
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.” (my personal favorite)
“You need to make money doing that.”
“You’re failing at your mission.”
“You must succeed by x date.”
“You must have a specific result.”
“If you do that, it will hurt. A lot!”
“You’d better make sure you’re right.”

With all that blabbing going on, no wonder I have a hard time “doing”. It’s not enough to silence the voice. I actually have to hear it, and then refuse to buy into the lie.

Can you relate?

This is what I’m trying out:

  1. Be kind to myself. Other people are giving me space (and I would certainly do it for someone else) so I’ll follow their lead.
  2. Address my fear. For example: Who am I afraid will leave me? I will just ask them. At the very least I’ll know if I’m delusional, and at the most we can work through the situation. I had one teacher in long past years call this “standing in the center of reality.” It saves so much time and energy.
  3. Don’t be attached to an outcome. I think we call this being creative. Creativity is our gift to the world, and putting restrictions on it distorts and minimizes it. I’m not talking about throwing out goals–I’m talking about the mindset I have around the actions I take to achieve my goals. A limiting mindset constrains results. I want to tear the roof off the sucker! (to use a phrase from the 70s)
  4. Be willing to feel a little pain. The lie is that the pain will be unbearable. In actuality, if it even exists, I’ll get through it. Pain is an indicator of resistance and resistance points to the thing that I need to address.
  5. Be grateful for my ego; it’s just the messenger. I don’t want to shoot it, silence it, hate it, or kill it. It has good intentions for me; it’s only trying to protect me. So I’m going to hear it and discover what needs to change so it can take a vacation day.

And I hate to say it, but this is a process that never ends. There’s no quick fix, only steady plodding. The attitude I choose is the difference between an uphill climb and a walk in the park. I choose adventure!

(Photo: Writing this blog post with all my perks–Kauaiian surf, Hawaiian music via my Bose multi-dimensional music infusion, beach insights, and my beloved MacBook Air.)



  1. Susan Laurent May 23, 2016 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    Great insight – I’m sure you’re not the only entrepreneur fighting “Doer’s Block”. Thanks!

  2. Kit Cassingham May 24, 2016 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Well said! A client of mine recently told me she’s a Human Doing and wants to get back to being a Human Being. I like that sentiment tremendously. Now, got back to work!

  3. Tabby May 25, 2016 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Very interesting. I don’t have doer’s block (I have stopper’s block instead), but I certainly witness it in hubby all the time. Do you think some of the “doer’s block” comes from a fear of failure? Do you think it is more to do with not allowing yourself the time to write because that somehow feels indulgent?

    You know you can write when you sit down and write, and you are trying to work out what obstacles prevent you from doing that. I imagine that an explanation or answer to doer’s block might sell a lot of books! 🙂

    • Susan May 26, 2016 at 7:36 am - Reply

      Tabby, I think I had more than one thing freezing me up, but of them was a form of fear of failure: Will anyone care about what I have to say? I’ve been reframing my thinking about what I write or “put out there” in other forms, and to get past this I have to think about everything I do as a creative act. And in that case, at least one person gets changed, so that’s good enough for me.

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