Escaping the Death Star in Your LifeYou are a Jedi Knight (seriously, you are).  You have been enslaved on the Death Star for years but are implementing your escape plan.  You are now stealthily searching for the controls to the tractor beam that is keeping your ship from escaping the hangar so you can finally fly to the Liberation Galaxy where you can live a life you’ve only dreamed of, doing things you’ve always wanted to do.

Episode I – The Beginning

Armed with only your lightsaber of truth you sneak around the inside of the Death Star searching for the controls to the tractor beam.  Amazingly you find it without being detected and disable the beam that had been keeping you and your escape ship trapped.

Now as you quietly and stealthily make your way to the hangar and your waiting ship your heart starts to race with excitement and anticipation.  This is going to be freakin’ awesome you think as you secretly make your way through hallway after hallway avoiding droids and storm troopers.  It had been many trying years of living on this Death Star and you were now finally going to escape.

Episode II – The Empire Fights Back

You make it to the hangar and see your ship.  You stay hidden waiting for the perfect moment to make your move.  But just when you think the coast is clear, just when you begin to think that you could really make this all come together and finally escape this Death Star, two shadowy figures approach.  You recognize them instantly as Darth Uncertainty and his master the Emperor of Self-Doubt.  Both have been extensively trained in the art of fear and their ability to brandish that power was well known throughout the galaxy.

As they approach you wield your lightsaber of truth; it’s pure light shining brightly in the sterile hallway of the Death Star.  Darth Uncertainty approaches first and draws his lightsaber.  Its light sings forth and seems to tarnish the glow of your lightsaber of truth.

Where do you think you’re going Jedi?” he barks.  “No one escapes the Death Star!”.

The glow from his lightsaber seems to expand to fill the room as he speaks.

You’re Jedi skills are weak and you are no match for the power of Uncertainty” he continues his voice bellowing.  “Stay here with us and we will protect you, provide you comfort and safety and together we can rule the galaxy, as long as you do exactly what we say when we say to do it, offer subject to change at any time.  But we can offer you a real future without fear or worry.  You go off half-cocked and fly into the blackness of the galaxy and who knows what will happen.

You look at the now pale light emanating from your lightsaber of truth.  Your mind begins to run rampant with all kinds of thoughts.  Maybe he’s right.  It’s safe here and there’s great luxury to be had.  I wouldn’t have to worry about what might happen.  And besides, where else in the galaxy am I going to get a decent haircut?  I mean look at me, I’m starting to look like a Wookie!  I could stay here and work for a bit longer, maybe get some more Jedi training, build my own Jedi mind control business first before venturing out.  It would be nice to have that safety net.  I mean he’s got a point, the galaxy is a damn scary place.

But as soon as you start to think those thoughts you know what it means.  Delaying your escape just condemns you to a life you could never be satisfied with.  All those hours in the office polishing droids just isn’t what you want.  And then as your confidence grows; as the light from your lightsaber of truth begins to shine a more brightly, you hear the voice of the Emperor of Self-Doubt speak up.

Young Jedi!  You don’t have the stones to escape us.  You don’t have what it takes.  Your skills are weak, your training is inefficient.  Just look at your lightsaber.  See how dimly it shines?  Can you really believe the truth as you see it and rely on your feeble powers?

Your mind switches gears once again.  Maybe he’s right, maybe I don’t have what it takes.  I don’t even have a plan once I escape this place.  My skills are useless.  I’ve never been able to do anything big and probably never will.  It’s easier to do what people say is the best for me and live with it.  This Death Star is just too hard to escape from.

As these thoughts flood your mind the light from your lightsaber of truth begins to dim once again.  You begin to feel weak and deflated and the confidence you once held begins to dissipate and evaporate away.  Your Jedi mojo is now slipping away from you, replaced ever so insidiously with self-doubt and uncertainty.  Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all?  It seems so risky now.

Episode III – A New Hope

This is your episode where you write the ending.  You have a decision to make.  Do you cave and go back to a life of cleaning dirty droids and washing Wookies; always dreaming of what life could have been like? Or do you mercilessly attack Darth Uncertainty and the Emperor of Self Doubt with your lightsaber of truth and roar out of that hangar at full throttle never looking back?

As our planned sabbatical departure date gets shorter and the list of things to do gets longer the dark force of Darth Uncertainty and the Emperor of Self-Doubt have raised their ugly heads and threatened to make all that we have worked and planned for seem impossible to accomplish.  They’ve drawn their lightsabers and sent forth their dark magic to confuse, dissuade and demotivate our resolve.

I expected this.  It’s the lizard brain that Seth Godin talks about or the Resistance as Steven Pressfield refers to it.  The resistance gains strength when we get too close to accomplishing something, prodding us to back off, take things slow, don’t rush, think things through a bit more.  It works in conjunction with the lizard brain, feeding it’s hatred of change and risk.  Neither is going away so in order to write this last episode of our story we have to find a way to either circumvent them or ignore them completely.  How that happens is different for everyone.  But we must persevere.

You can’t go through life quitting everything.  If you’re going to achieve anything, you’ve got to stick with something.  ~From the television show Family Matters

Have you had to face down Darth Uncertainty and the Emperor of Self-Doubt?  How did you overcome the resistance of the lizard brain?

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