Day 10: Judgment Day

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Day 10:  Judgment Day

Day 10.  My stomach churns.  I now regret the leftover Chinese food I had for breakfast.  But, it’s really not the Mongolian beef or the eggroll to blame for my abdominal hijinks it’s my head.  I’m overthinking an email I just pressed send on.  “Not this again,” you think.  No, not that again.  It’s something completely different—thank God.  I wrote my response in less than 10 seconds but now I’m giving it way too much time and power.

I receive one of those “Please update your records” emails from an old business associate—really old, like nine years ago old.  It isn’t to me personally.   I’m sure it is a massive group email to all the contacts that live in his address book and I happen to be one of them.  I am genuinely happy to hear from him and that he’s making a big move in his career.  Not even pausing, I immediately write back a simple, “Huge congrats, best of luck and success.”  33 seconds later, the stomach bit starts.  “WTF?

When I was last working, flirting, and doing drinks meetings with this guy I had just sold my old company, Scriptapalooza, to my former partners and I was on quite a high in my career.  It’s not that I’m not “high” now, but him suddenly appearing in my inbox triggers the inherent fear and nervousness that go along with starting anything that is new, unproven and different—the three latter adjectives are, poignantly, part of the whole point.  I don’t mention my experiment or my new company in my reply but I realize after the aforementioned send that the web address for it is in my auto signature at the bottom of my email.  My mind explodes from the cacophony of judgments that zing out of my thought bubble:  The site isn’t officially launched yet!  There are still many loose ends and tweaks to be made! Someone outside my inner circle, and a talented lit agent no less, might visit it before it’s ready! What was I thinking?  Damn auto signature!

Damn auto signature!

The spin cycle my stomach instantly takes after the realization reminds me of the always lurking judge and jury:  my hearty ego.  Wow.  Calm it down, law and order.  Up until today, I’ve managed to stay out of the judgment zone around my new venture and my experiment and it has been incredibly freeing to my energy and creative work.  A huge, appealing part of this experiment for me is just that—the judgment free aspect.  Clearly, I get an “F” on that for the day.  Oops, there’s another judgment.  Damn.  They really tally up fast.  I judged the website process and where I’m at in it.  I judged that my past wouldn’t mingle well with my present.  And now I’m judging my judgment.  What vicious, never-ending circles.  I need to heave myself off the hamster wheel!

I realize “judging” is ingrained in our capitalistic society as a part of the process.  Rightly so or how will a winner be chosen on American Idol or for any of the essay or creativity contests on my site without the entries being judged?  Truth is, judgment is a necessary component of our world and I do understand that.  But I don’t have to apply it to the little things that don’t need it and don’t deserve it:  the minutia of my life and business!  All doing that accomplishes, this time suck proves, is that it slows down my productivity and diminishes my joy in the process.

I remind myself all that is required of me is to think outside the box inside the box and create from wherever I am with whatever I have right now.  Just saying it lets some air out of my over pressured tires.  I certainly can’t control or stop anyone from judging my experiment, my site, my movies, my work, and me.  But I can control when and what and who I judge and why.

I check my email after this purge.  He’s written back.  That surprises me.  I don’t expect to hear from him.  He only writes, “Thank u!”  It’s enough to settle my tummy the rest of the way down and to open my heart back up.  I’m instantly too busy appreciating his simple appreciation to worry about my prior judgmental offenses or worry about whether he visits the site.  And then I feel the full effect of my shift:  I hope he does go to the site!  Ironically, I’d love to hear what he thinks—his judgment.

Until tomorrow, create from what you have…ego, judgments and irony.

Kelli Joan Bennett is a filmmaker, actress, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for creative thinking and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Think Outside The Box Inside The Box Media.


  1. Love this post! Interesting to hear your side of this. I often say to myself “just hit the send button” or “just hit post now button” – a little pep talk to myself to get past the concerns that creep up of other people judging me and judging what I’m putting out into the world. It’s a daily goal of mine to keep pushing myself to share what I have to say, what I’m working on, etc

    • I love the pep talk idea prior to posting or pressing send! Yes, keep pushing yourself to share and I’ll do the same. Thank you!

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