An illustration of the author wearing a face mask and the text "Black Lives Matter" in a speech bubble

Naming the Monster

It’s said that in old maps, when cartographers would come across uncharted territory, they would write “Here be monsters” or something to that tune, to highlight the fear of the uncertainty and the likelihood that in those days explorers would tend to meet grisly ends. 

While the likelihood of this myth is fairly low, I’ve always wondered – what monsters supposedly lived there? Krakens? Luscas? Leviathans? Sirens? The cartographers are never specific, and this lack of naming the monsters living in the corners of the maps lends them their fearful power to scare us. 
Just like any solid business plan names the ways that it could fail in order to prevent them, we need to get comfortable with naming our fears.

Whether it’s saying it out loud or writing it down, by acknowledging our fears we demystify them and this clarity can allow us to face them not only head-on but also build the systems to make us more resilient to them.

So shine the light on the inner monster that’s preventing you from doing your best work, and if it doesn’t have a name, give it one. Because that’s the first step in building the courage to defy it.

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