Harry Potter is nothing short of spiritual genius. Its insights into the themes of good and evil, choosing the right path over the easiest, and courage in one’s convictions have served me beautifully since I read the books nearly ten years ago. They have provided me with the answer to many of life’s questions and I have grown to see Professor Dumbledore as a total spiritual guru.
It was on Christmas Day 2012 when J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece offered me one of its most valuable pearls of wisdom. I was sitting with a friend watching The Prisoner of Azkaban for probably the millionth time when it came to the scene where Professor Lupin introduces Harry and his classmates to the boggart: a shape-shifting creature that takes on the form of its viewer's worst fear.
In the scene, the class is presented with a large wardrobe with something rattling inside it. One by one, each student approaches the wardrobe, opening its doors allowing the boggart to fly out and immediately manifest into whatever terrifies them most. I watched this scene unfold with a strange curiosity and resonance. Something in this situation seemed familiar to me.
I have recently decided to go freelance. For ages I have I longed for the freedom of self employment; being able to choose my own hours, be my own boss and work wherever I want; amazing benefits that have compelled me to finally taken the leap. Unfortunately however, this freedom has also come at a cost.
The freelance life lies at the extreme end of uncertainty. Financial insecurity, lone working and inconsistent employment are all pitfalls of self employment that can leave the average freelancer quaking with fear, projecting into a future of catastrophe and I am no exception to this.
My head constantly presents me with highly ‘sensible’ and believable reasons why I should ignore my dreams and stay ‘safe’. I am flooded with worst case scenarios that can leave me trembling with anxiety; phantoms that float around my mind until I am wracked with insecurity and doubt. It was then that I had a cosmic realisation that hit me like an Expelliarmus curse.
My head is a wardrobe with a boggart living in it.
Rattling away, it serves as a constant distraction to reality and sanity. Whenever I choose to open its doors, out it flies presenting itself as whatever I am most afraid of that day. Every morning, as soon as I open my eyes, there it is, hovering over me in the shape of whatever is freaking me out that day.
In the story, the boggart is defeated with laughter. Using the Riddikulus charm, it is forced to assume a shape that the spell caster will find comical. I think this idea is revolutionary. Essentially, fear and insecurity are made up illusions that exist only in my mind. They have only the power I give them and I have a choice as to how much I choose to fan their flames.
In light of this, I have been practicing Harry’s strategy with the boggart in my own head. Every time I find myself in a freelance panic, I just take out my imaginary wand, summon up a strong and determined mind and shout Riddikulus. I have to say I feel a bit ridiculous doing this, but it seems to work. It calms me down and I end up laughing at myself which dispels the fear immediately. If this is what I have to do to have a serene life around self employment then so be it.
As a freelancer I have a dream and I am not going to let anything stand in the way of that dream. Worries around the potential success of my business and fear of the unknown are just crazy manifestations of the fear boggart in my head and it’s high time they buggered off. For all freelancers out there battling their own fears and insecurities I say this for you: Get thee behind me boggart and Riddikulus to you all. I have a vision to step into and not a moment to lose.
Jamie Williams is a professional copywriter and blogger. His blog resides at www.iamjamiewilliams.com