a close friend of mine earned her executive MBA recently, attending a highly ranked program and working harder than you can imagine to do so.  she had to do some group work, she had to write papers.  she assessed case studies and performed calculations, and had to submit all of her work to professors for their critique and grade.

ugh.  I shudder just thinking about it.  I’ve had my turn in grad school, but it was long enough ago that the memories (and anxiety) have faded.

talking with my friend today, though, brought back those moments of stress, those uncomfortable times when I had to subject myself to someone’s assessment of my work.

and here I am again.

I created a written work, poured hours and days, weeks, months, years into this manuscript, then spent weeks formatting, proofing, tweaking it into a form I liked.  I then pushed the “yes” button and ordered printed copies, and made them available for sale.  I eventually created an email campaign to send to close friends and loved ones letting them know about my milestone.

it’s like I’ve written term papers for all my classes, handed them in, and have to now suffer the consequences:  I feel like I’m back in school.  being graded.  scrutinized.  having opinions formed about.  waiting for word of whether or not I’m going to pass.

I’m astonished by how uncomfortable this all makes me.  I’ve been posting to blogs for over 4 years now, so I have apparently become comfortable with “putting myself out there.”  why, now, do I suddenly feel such great discomfort when discussing my book with people?  the only reason I can find is that I am nervous about the grade.  I’ve sailed through 19 years of education with terrific grades:  I now am surrounded by fears that what I most love, what fuels me and makes my soul sing, is not going to earn an “A” out in the world.

so, here I am, back in school.  author school.  manning up, remembering that I have the right to create what I create, to work the way I want to, to express myself in ways that work for me.  learning the ropes, learning to subject myself to the feedback, opinions, and grades of others.  my friend did it, even graduated and is now succeeding in the real world.  she did it, she survived . . . guess I can do it, too.

I think I’ll give myself an A.