September 30 – Fear/Work

Anything is easy once we break it down into small steps that can be taken one at a time. Often when we view a project in its entirety, we become overwhelmed by the enormity of it. There is so much work to do! How will we ever get it all done? We forget that this, just like everything in life, is a process. We need not fear our work. We are more than capable when it comes to getting things done, and our work is no different in this respect. It is not our work that is scary, but rather our perspective of it. A little change in perspective goes a long way in making our lives more manageable, and that includes our responsibilities. 

Photo by Guillaume Meurice on

Today’s passage in Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much opens with a quote from Brenda Ueland which reads, “Know that it is good to work. Work with love and think of liking it when you do it. It is easy and interesting. It is a privilege. There is nothing hard about it but your anxious vanity and fear of failure.”

On this, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“Our work and the ability to do our work are gifts we have. Doing our work is so simple. We just do it. Our work is not difficult, confounding, or complicated. We make it that way sometimes. When we are able to focus on our work and just get down to it and do it one step at a time, it gets done and it usually gets done well. When we overwhelm ourselves by seeing only the totality of it looming before us and we do not break it down into its smaller components, we begin to feel inadequate and incapable of completing the task. We then procrastinate as our anxiety and fears click into gear.”

How refreshing it is to view work in this light! We have innate talents and abilities, and work serves as an outlet for these. Work gives us purpose and meaning in our lives, and it provides us with the means to achieve and maintain our independence. Through work, we earn a living. Work also gives us a chance to put our skills to good use and to establish ourselves as an expert at something. 

Often, we make work harder than it has to be by conflating things in our heads. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we think about how much work we have yet to do, and looking back on all that we have done fails to comfort us when yet another big project is looming in the distance. We’d do well to remember that we have accomplished large and seemingly scary projects before. We have made great change in some cases. We are more than capable of handling whatever comes our way, provided we take it one step at a time. Do the next right thing. What makes sense to do next? What must be done first before we can continue on to the next step?

The change in perspective that Brenda Ueland describes is one that applies not only to work but to all facets of life. It’s easy to take things for granted. We must be careful though to stop and appreciate the good in our lives. Our work is a gift. It’s easy and pleasurable. It’s something we are capable of. Fear has no place in the equation, and deserves not our time and attention. Each thousand mile journey begins with a single step. If we continue to put one foot in front of the other, there’s no telling how far we will go! 

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