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Why it’s so hard to take action (and what to do about it)

An ex once said to me; “If you really wanted to do something then you’ll just do it and it won’t be an issue”. That wasn’t very helpful (maybe why he’s an ex?). And it sure hasn’t been my experience!

Instead it feels like the things I want to do the most are actually the things met with the most resistance. Like, I can find all kinds of reasons to avoid doing the one thing I know I need to do and one of those things is showing up here to make these videos!

I’ve had a desire to share what goes on in my inner world for years now. And I’m in a space now where I have the time, I have the facilities, I have the ideas… So why is it still so hard? I experience this inner conflict where I want to do something but I also want to avoid it at the same time.

Is it fear? Yes.

Is it perfectionism? Absolutely.

So I’ve found a way to overcome those things - where I now write down everything I want to talk about in advance, to help me filter my thoughts or make sense of them and cut down on editing time, cause that’s just another excuse waiting to happen. I’ve also tried to bring in drawings to my videos because I’m an illustrator by trade and I want to make these videos interesting. And I was pretty proud of my last one I must say.

But then why is it so hard? I have this idea that things should flow and be easy if it’s ‘meant to be’, right? That if it’s too hard, then it’s a sign that it’s not for me. I imagine I can just sit on my couch and suddenly some divine inspiration will hit me and I will get up, in a trance-like state, and sit down at my computer and just spew out this absolute gold, and it will blast off to be seen by the people who need it most. But so far, that has not happened to me.

I have experienced flow-like periods in my life like when I quit my job to work for myself. I made a commitment and it was like energy shifted overnight and doors opened consistently, people showed up out of nowhere that could help me on my path, it felt like magic - but that’s a different story for another day. This one is about the struggle!

So coming back to that reflection on my process of writing, filming and drawing it out to ensure I have the best video I can make with where I am in my life right now. Why does it feel like such an effort? I challenged myself to approach it differently and one of the best questions I ask myself when things are tough is:

“How can I make this more fun?” and to throw away all the ‘shoulds’ like how I think a video should look, or how I should be to be interesting, successful etc - and then it hit me… it was the drawing.

The drawing felt like so much effort! And I could not admit that to myself for so long because, I’m an artist, it’s how I make my living! If I’m not drawing or showing my art in a video, I thought it wouldn’t be interesting, but people just talk in videos all the time, right?! There are tons of videos where it’s just someone showing up as themselves, providing information the best they can in the moment they have. So why can’t I do that? Oh no, that wouldn’t be interesting, that wouldn’t be enough - or is it really that I felt I wouldn’t be interesting and that I wasn’t enough on my own.

I realised my identity has been wrapped up in being an artist my whole life! Who am I if I’m not ‘an artist’? That’s my thing, without that I’m… nothing? Which we all know isn’t true and if this was my friend saying this to me I would be like “You are amazing as you are, you don’t even need to try, I love you for who you are” and so on, but when it’s you, it feels true, ya know?

I hadn’t realised how much value I had put on myself being my work, and I think that’s probably quite common for artists because the work we do is so personal, it really is like sharing a piece of yourself every time you create something, like bringing a bit of your heart and soul into this physical world.

I have wrapped up my identity as an artist, my value and ability to make money in my ability to ‘do’, rather than just be who I am.

What would it look like for me to just show up as I am? And just, be me? Well, it looks like this. I challenged myself in this video to just show up, without the drawing, without the identity shell (that perhaps I hide behind, now that I think about it) and you know what? It’s not that bad. I’m actually proud of myself.

So I guess to my younger self, to past Rhiannon who is struggling with taking action on the things she wants to do, I would ask her:

- How is taking no action actually benefiting you? (for me it was being able to hide behind my artist identity and not have to actually show up as myself)

- What is it that you are truly afraid of? What are you avoiding? (for me it was a fear of being seen as just plain ol’ me and that it wouldn’t be ‘enough’ for the world)

And this isn’t to say I won’t draw anything ever again, because I love drawing! But I want to draw when it feels good, not because I have to, or should do to keep up a consistent brand or - because I’m not enough without it.

I hope this little reflection helps you take your action that you know you need to take. And, you know, maybe my ex wasn’t wrong. His process and journey to action just looks different to mine… Less years of procrastination for him and that’s ok. I’m fine about it. Really…


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