Q51: Why Do I Wake in the Night with Remorse and Terrors?

“The overarching optimism of a new idea that makes anything possible during the day, followed by the 4:00 a.m. sudden waking to remorse and terrors, depending how far I’ve got embroiled in the idea.”

Wow! Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

I don’t know that I wake at 4 a.m. with remorse and terrors except if I have bitten off more than I can chew. Which isn’t necessarily a reason to stop the idea in its tracks, unless you decide that it is. Or maybe this is just your psyche keeping you safe for good reasons, or for small fearful reasons.

I am more likely to wake at 4 a.m. or stay awake all night if I am excited about a new idea or project which I really know is The One, or The One For Now Or For Next. And another way I know it is if I would prefer to work on it today than all the other lovely things in my diary, if I can’t wait to get to it.

Given how many ideas-related questions you have provided me with for this book, for which endless thanks by the way, I think when you do get the nameless dreads in the middle of the night they are probably a sign to stop or slow down and do more evaluation before you rush headlong into another brilliant idea, ‘cos all our ideas are brilliant, right? All mine are anyway!

What’s happened to me over the years since I’ve discovered I am a Creator* with a propensity to be a Scanner is that I’ve learned to manage myself, to master myself if you will. I used to have a go at all of my ideas or most of them, and that was the way I discovered I had to focus on far fewer, ideally just The One.

It didn’t mean I stopped being creative or having ideas. Far from it. But I trained myself to either record or abandon all the irrelevant ones, and use the good ones for the benefit of my main project instead.

So in my coaching work, I corral all my ideas into my marketing, into writing this book, and into working with my clients, not necessarily in that order. And they all combine to make up The One. And that way I feel totally fulfilled in fully expressing all my creativity.

But in the last fifteen years or so I’ve had all sorts of brilliant ideas and put all of them into action, some of them more than one at once, and all that happened was that everything failed or was compromised, or I exhausted myself, or both.

These days I find that smaller ideas, or smaller bits of bigger ideas, are of more use to me and my clients and my One Thing.

I remain an optimist. I even love the alliteration of being an overarching one. What I would encourage you to do, Gentle Reader, is feel into the remorse and the terrors to find the messages that lie therein. If you are not sure, carry on and see if the mists clear or if it gets foggier still. I don’t think ideas are scary in and of themselves. Just what we attach to them.


  • What wakes you in the night?
  • What do you do then?
  • Abundant Rachael Greenland taught me that when you can’t sleep, the next best thing is to lie there with your eyes closed, resting. And to take the pressure off yourself and your anxiety about sleeplessness. Try it. It works. Remind yourself as you do it that Judith and Rachael say this is nearly as good as sleep. And so it is.

Your Biz Your Way

If you have enjoyed reading my words here, you might also enjoy my book - Your Biz Your Way: Learning to Trust Yourself. Relax! You've Got This. Find out how to buy the book here Read My Book