Every summer as a teacher is a wonderful opportunity to rest, recover, and then go do something creative and amazing. Most summers I get too afraid and end up frittering away the days on trivialities. The fear is real and the result is always the same: I finish the holidays feeling regret at the missed opportunities.
I’m not going to promise that this year will be any different. That said, I am more aware this year than ever before of the reality of that summer fear. It’s what Steven Pressfield famously called “the Resistance” and I am tired of letting it win.
An interesting counter to the Resistance came from Seth Godin in a recent interview. He learned to “dance with the fear” by noticing when it showed up and then acknowledging that strong fear is a great signal for what to do next.
In other words, Godin has learned to sense the fear – the message from the amygdala which is saying, “Do do that thing because it might not work and people will laugh at you” – and then take that fear as a signpost. Go do that thing because that way lies art.
My summer fears are all around the roleplaying game projects that I have long wanted to do but always bottle out from. They include, but are not limited to: hacking my own light set of rules; creating adventures for a conspiracy-horror game; learning to run and play RuneQuest Glorantha; creating mystery adventures; and setting up a local roleplaying group.
Fear gets me thinking, “Yeah, I’ll do that next time. Next holiday I will get around to that.”
This year, I want to tackle the Resistance and start making progress into those projects which might not work but excite/scare me the most. These are the projects that ignite my heart and which might not work out.
Now is the time to confront the Summer Fear.