Climbing cringe mountain

change is a process dream trust Aug 05, 2023
woman leaping from cliff to cliff with sun shining in the background

It’s time to take a new leap and my entire being wants to run screaming from the room.  Even though in my gut I know it’s the exact perfect next step… still… inside my head I’m climbing cringe mountain.

You know what I mean.

This is the moment we feel we’ve stretched our neck too far and cringe while waiting for the axe to fall.  We imagine our severed head rolling on the ground in front of us and the whole world rolls their eyes laughing at our stupidity. We brace ourselves for disaster. 

Those stinky Dreamkillers have been priming us for the worst possible scenario since we first envisioned a new Dream.  They say things like:

  • Don’t be stupid
  • This whole idea is ridiculous
  • It will never work
  • Go home and do what’s safe

And yet, we do it anyway. 

What’s going on?

Between our Dream and current reality lies an empty space. Except it isn’t empty, it’s filled with creative tension.  Creative tension is like an energetic field where anything is possible.

Think of pulling a rubber band between two hands.  One hand is the Dream, the other is our current reality. The farther away the hands are, the harder it is to pull them apart.  The closer the hands, the more relaxed it is and there is less pull. 

That pull is the creative energetic field. The Dream wants to be born and tries to meld with our current reality by creating tension.  We don’t like that pull one bit.  It’s really uncomfortable.  Many who long to release their soul’s expression or make a difference interpret creative energy as anxiety.

Anxiety makes us cringe.  It opens the door for Dreamkiller messages. Those bloodthirsty hounds will take full advantage of our weak moments. We will do anything to reduce that anxiety.  We run, we hide, we make excuses, we blame others or blame our circumstances. It’s really crazy-making. 

We spend our time cringing instead of leaping.

How to leap anyway

A few years ago I was invited to give a Pecha Kucha talk at the inaugural event in Fort Collins, CO. A Pecha Kucha talk is a lecture with 20 slides and 20 seconds to speak per slide. The slides roll along whether you’re ready or not.  The audience is there to be entertained by something new or interesting. They’re eagerly waiting.


I had 3 weeks to prepare. I had never used PowerPoint. I had no idea what to talk about. I was completely freaked out - but I did it anyway.  Here’s how:

  • Show up.  When I was contacted, I didn’t ask why, I just said yes. I was showing up for the organizer and I was showing up for myself.  Somewhere there was an important story I needed to tell and now I had a venue.
  • Get help. With only three weeks to prepare, there was no time to divert my attention to learn new software to produce this talk. Luckily my daughter is incredibly talented. She listened to my story, made suggestions, sketched the illustrations and created the slides. It was a magnificent collaboration.
  • Let go of the outcome. Even though in the actual event I read from a script, the audience laughed in the right places and a few came up afterward to relate their own similar experiences.  It was far from perfect, but I did it.

The mountain gets higher

Mary Kay Ash said, “Nothing wilts faster than laurels rested upon.” Even though we have success in one area, another place to grow will soon appear.

We are here to grow. We are here to create. We are here to impact the world as only we can. No matter how far up we climb a mountain, there is always another ledge or crevasse to challenge us.

Creative tension is our friend. It holds our focus, it sharpens our wits, it increases our confidence. We are always primed for growth and we will always feel creative tension. Every time it appears, that place of anxiety gives us a choice.

We can run and hide, or we can cringe and leap anyway.   

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