Hey there, Matt :-)
You`re not the only one going through this, that`s for sure! Everyone
who`s ever done anything, ever, in life, goes through pretty much the
same thing. Well...except for flaming narcissists and meglomaniacs, and
it doesn`t sound as if you`re in that particular category.
There`s a really great old saying: "Leap, and the net shall appear."
These days, I`ve been hearing some discussion out of Rush Limbaugh`s
show about how "hope" is meaningless. While I ordinarily agree with
much of what Limbaugh has to say, I think he`s wrong in this particular
area. But the more useful question has to do with a definition of hope.
It ultimately comes down to a single question: Do you believe that there is organization of any sort to life and reality?
I`m not arguing in favor of intelligent design, and especially not
linking that with some type of God or other supreme being. Instead, I`m
proposing that there`s a binary, yes-or-no decision we choose, when
contemplating the structure of life. Either there`s some sort of
organization or there`s not.
If you answer yes, that there is some sort of organization, the
immediate next question is what`s the nature of that organization. If
your answer is no, then all of life and existence is random,
meaningless, and resides in chaos.
Hope is totally unfounded in anything whatsoever excepting one, single
idea: organization. It`s a decision to believe that at any given
moment, ANYthing can happen, regardless of how possible or seemingly
impossible it may be, logically, to envision. Further; whatever it is
that happens will move the "story" forward in a useful way.
It sounds as though for hope to exist, we also have to have totally
random and pointless life, but there`s a subtlety here. It`s not that
anything can happen, and "therefore," you`re as likely to be killed as
not. Rather, it`s that anything can happen, but that whatever it is
will improve a set of conditions. It`s a "wildcard," and involves the
whole concept of luck.
In other words, you either go through life believing there`s some sort
of meaning---a point of some kind---or you go through life with no
belief in anything whatsoever. There isn`t any in-between. Think about
it: If you don`t accept any sort of organization, then you can`t accept
"sometimes" organized. It`s like being "somewhat pregnant," see?
Everyone can easily come up with all sorts of reasons why something
won`t happen, can`t happen, shouldn`t happen, or otherwise will fail.
The trick is to come up with reasons why it will happen, can happen,
ought to happen, and so forth.
So every time you find yourself imagining why you`ll fail, jot down
whatever you`re thinking. Then next to or below that, imagine another
reason why you`ll succeed. As Frank Herbert wrote, in the "Dune" books:
"Fear is the mind-killer."
Rober Parker, author of the famous Spencer detective stories, has a
really great logic he uses. Spencer will find himself in a situation
where he simply has no idea what to do next. As he proposes various
scenarios, he`ll say, "Well, if we go that direction it gets us
So there you are, sitting in your cubicle, contemplating your
soon-to-be business. You say to yourself, "But what if I can`t get any
clients?" Where does that get you? Does it help move your story
forward? Does it lead to an interesting next step in the plot?
The way a writer would write it, the answer would be, "Nope...so let`s
end the story right here and go on to something else." :-) Is that what
you want; to just end the story? Or would you rather see what happens
in the next chapter?