Fourteen days until…OMG

For those who have been tracking things, the TV Movie deal is still on track. Amazingly, we’ve heard from the studio, and they are eager to get it on the schedule. The next step will be some serious paperwork.  Keep you posted.


But the trick to the “Secret Formula” is that if you want something to happen, you cannot NEED for it to happen.  You have to turn things over to the universe and get the law of statistics working for you.   “A watched pot never boils”–meaning that you have to have multiple irons in the fire, so that when decisions about something are taken out of your hands you have somewhere to focus all that nervous energy.

Part of the reason I’m building a new business structure.  And on Tuesday, I discovered that I’m going to have a fantastic opportunity in two weeks.  Will talk about it later.  Let’s just say that the least it can be is educational. And the most?   Life changing.   Even at the level of happiness I currently enjoy.   Mind-boggling.   Forgive me for not being more direct.  Perhaps I will be in coming days, but I feel a little shy about it.  But I do think that getting my thoughts on the next 14 days would be valuable for me, and I’ll share them with you, in case you want to know how I think about such things.

And when I say “life changing” this is no exaggeration in the slightest.   Two weeks.


I can feel that my mind is trying to convince me that it cannot happen.   Think about this.  If it IS possible, and I think it isn’t?  I could kill my opportunity.  If it ISN’T possible and I think it is, I might be disappointed.   NO COMPARISON!!! This is a game, and I’m going to play it 100%.  I can survive disappointment. But if I don’t “show up” 100% and blow the chance, I’ll deserve the pain.

Need to clarify what I have to do.

I have a wonderful, wonderful opportunity coming up in a couple of weeks.   At this moment, EVERYTHING is going right.  That “Secret Formula” thing is fabulous.    GOALS X FAITH X CONSTANT ACTION X GRATITUDE = RESULTS thing is the best and simplest way to language the path to achievement I’ve ever seen.    Have spoken of it often, and want  to look at the other side of it.

That is: use this template to diagnose problems.  What is the “Shadow” of the Secret Formula?

Well, more specifically, what did I experience this morning that represents my ego’s assault on my efforts?  LACK OF FAITH.

What would “faith” be in this context?  That there is an opportunity, that it is positive, will bring more pleasure than pain into my life.  That I can and should do it.  That if I don’t currently have the ability or knowledge to accomplish it, that I WILL have it by the time the window of opportunity arrives. If I give the negative voices (and they aren’t really “evil”, they are trying to protect me.  Trying to save me from disappointment, or wasting effort, or even death.  After all, if I change, then my “old self” dies, from a certain point of view.)

That was the morning assault.  “The opportunity isn’t a 10.  It is a 1.  Nothing really amazing could come from it. There is no reason to treat this like a potential life-changing incident.   They won’t like you.  You don’t know enough.  How many times have you juiced up your enthusiasm and been disappointed?  You couldn’t even handle that level of success anyway…”

Wow.  Oh…just wow.   Faith.

I remember the very first thing I ever wrote for television, a Twilight Zone episode entitled “Teacher’s Aide” (a little piece about an inner-city remedial English teacher who gets possessed by a demon. Starred Adrianne Barbeau, which was an absolute trip, because not seven years earlier I’d been a set guard on “Maude” at CBS…which is another story.)

The point is that I was asked to write a 20-minute script, and I did.  AND THEY LOVED IT.  Said it was the best first draft script they’d ever seen.   And asked me to expand the script to 30 minutes.  I was stoked.

And…I froze.  

All the demons rose up in my head and absolutely shut me down.  I COULDN’T EXPAND IT.  I couldn’t do anything with with it.  I stared at the paper as if it was an alien creature.  I had no contact with my creative self, the part of me who had created that original work.   

It was terrifying instead of exhilarating.  Diminishing instead of expanding.  My impostor syndrome had kicked in BIG time.   I wasn’t good enough.  Trained enough. Smart enough. I’d only gotten the job because of Affirmative Action.   And on and on.   Absolutely poisonous, snakes hissing and coiling in my head.

Lack of faith.   I was not able to expand that episode, and ultimately it was cut down to 15 minutes and is an enormous disappointment instead of a sense of triumph.  When I first saw it I was at a room party at an early Norwescon.  Everyone congratulated me.  I went back to my room and cried.


This is the same thing, in a different form.  If this event takes place, and is as successful as it is POSSIBLE to be (probable?  Who knows?), I will change.  My life shifts.

THERE IS NO WAY TO REACH THE NEXT LEVEL OF YOUR LIFE WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL.   It is totally predictable.  And the way through the “Dark Night?”    

The leap of faith.

Oh, ho.   

So If I am on the Hero’s Journey, attempting to complete a new cycle, then it is predictable that my ego will try to stop me by keeping me from moving through this slough, and its weapon of choice will be obvious.

So.  Even in despair (and no, it didn’t get that bad.  Just a slight sick feeling. This time) I realized that I was having a Faith Attack.  It had begun the instant I heard about the opportunity.  A roller coaster ride…and then a plunge.  

And what is the way through? Well, what are the three aspects of faith?

  1. Faith in yourself. That you have abilities untapped. Have triumphed in the past. Am worth fighting for.
  2. Faith in your companions. That you have friends, mentors, allies, who believe in you and will support you, advise you, keep your head on straight.
  3. Faith in a Higher Power.   That God would not have given you the belief that you can accomplish something and allow you to sustain it over time, unless you had the capacity to achieve it.  That “miracles” can happen in your life.  If you align yourself with the forces of nature, you will always provide your basic needs, and provide a foundation for greater growth.

You only need one aspect of one of these three.   I choose to nuke myself and get all three.  So.

  1. Faith in myself.  Have I accomplished wonderful things before?   Brought my dreams to life?  You bet. That is my pattern. A good friend told me that not only did I build cloud castles, I had the disturbing tendency to move into them.
  2. Faith in my companions. I’ve reached out to and called a dozen of my closest allies and friends, and will talk to more. Explained the situation.  Gained their perspective.   And gotten almost nothing but support and encouragement.  A little doubt from a couple of them, but I can isolate that (“they love me. They just don’t understand the situation”) but lots of great advice (a huge amount of it was: “what would you tell a student, Steve?” or “What was it you told me the last time, Steve?”   My favorite was “what you don’t see is that you’ve already done all the work, Steve! All you have to do is show up and be yourself!”  Wow. That one only works if you believe in yourself.   That’s where something like the Ancient Child comes into it!)
  3. Faith in a higher power.  I meditate every single morning, connecting myself to the “light” inside myself, and connecting it to the heart of the universe.

How do I bring this all together?  My morning ritual.   I’ll listen to an inspirational MP3 while doing Tai Chi and doing my chants: “Every Day in Every Way I’m Getting better and better…I’m so grateful for (past)…I’m so grateful for (future)…I know exactly what I have to do today…All I need is within me now…

All of it.  While breathing, moving powerfully, smiling and breathing with authority, enjoying the moment.  This is my life.  THIS IS MY LIFE.   There is no amount of material success that is unreasonable, if you study the actions others took, and are willing and able to pay the price they paid.   If any other human being has accomplished such a thing starting from where I started SO CAN I!

I live in that space, move like that guy, feel and think like “that guy” for twenty minutes, until the voices in my head shut up, and I  am connected with my heart and body and mind.

And then I’m ready for my day.    

Bring it on.


Steven Barnes

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