Growing up were you a people pleaser? Did you want people to like you? How do you go now?
I was this child and even this adult. Over the past months I have been working a lot on coming back in to alignment with my motivators. Truly understanding them. Getting rid of thoughts and stories (I’m not calling them beliefs) which no longer serve. But the need to keep people happy stuck around.
Now don’t confuse this with a fear that no one likes me. I know people don’t like me and I’m totally ok with that. I’m not afraid of people not liking me, I don’t want everyone to like me because I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
Keeping people happy is about not disappointing, it’s about meeting their expectations, it’s about putting their needs above mine.
Perhaps it’s a first-born thing, perhaps it’s a girl thing. I don’t know. I do know it’s a “thing” I have to address.
This all came to a head over the weekend when I realised a situation I had gotten myself into was me needing to prove myself because I need to please. I realised a long time ago that things aren’t black and white, and the joy of being aligned with my values is that I also understand that there are many perspectives to the same scenario.
In this scenario, we had differing perspectives and in spite of me initially saying “I don’t need to prove my point”, the other person convinced me to explain my position under the guise of them wanting to know more and to be educated.
Ok, so some would say I was suckered in to it. I lost track of my core value of not needing to prove myself. What happened was this long held need to keep people happy and to help took over and I obliged.
To cut a long story short, that wasn’t their motive. They just wanted to prove their point and the more I talked the worse it got. Until I realised there was no keeping them happy as they were coming from their perspective and had no intention of looking at my perspective.
The issue with the need to prove ourselves or help is that we put the other person first and their motivators higher than our own. We give them power over us. Consider the following statements often spoken by those with a need to keep people happy:
“I’m sorry, I misunderstood…”
“I didn’t mean it that way…”
They are sentences which take us further away from ourselves and put the other person in an increasingly important position.
So I withdrew from the situation, knowing full well that it would look like they had proven their point. But what they didn’t realise and I had was that I had proven a more important point, to myself.
My need to help people is often manipulated by others to prove a point and that has them bound together. I will always help people, it’s who I am. However I am no longer the person who is prepared to put people ahead of myself. I am as important.
For some of you this will seem obvious, for others you may be wondering how I did it. It’s true that I have become very clear on what motivates me and I have disposed of the old stories I’ve heard or told myself through the years.
In coming back to the core of being me, I have learnt my place and my importance, this has seen me find my strength and I am growing to love my true self. It’s not a new self. I have always been this person, it’s just that through the years I have buried myself in stories and put others before me and my true self just won’t have that any more.
I wanted to tell you a little story about feeling overwhelmed and being a success. You see they often travel as a pair and they make strange bedfellows. The problem is that often we allow the feeling of overwhelm stop us from progressing further to success and I’ve been thinking about that lately. Let me tell you a story.
Hubby & I are preparing our home for sale. We’ve owned this home for 20 years, raised our kids in it, renovated it, and it’s safe to say that there are a few foibles we’re happy to live with that others wouldn’t. So we’ve (ok he) has been putting in a lot of work to get it ready for sale. The big one has been painted.
Having raised our kids through toddler-dom since the house was last painted, it’s safe to say the house was looking a bit tired. It’s also a 2 storey house making it no small effort. I’m not a good painter, so this task has fallen to hubby and he has been feeling utterly overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, even after 3 solid weeks of working at the task.
Yes, we could have paid someone to paint it top to toe, but let’s face it, the $$ involved in painting a two-storey house is not insignificant. That said, hubby has realised his limits – like a double height ceiling – and has called in a professional to do some of the tasks.
The other day he was walking the contractor through and showing them what had been done and what remained. It dawned on him – he had achieved a lot. Then the magic happened, he was no longer overwhelmed by the task around him.
Do these sound familiar in your success journey?
How often are you so focused on the goal that you forget the journey? How often do you concentrate on all the things you’re yet to do that you forget those you’ve achieved? How often do you lament those you’ve not been able to accomplish that you miss out on the hurdles you’ve crossed?
It doesn’t matter how often I tell my hubby that he’s too hard on himself, he won’t see it because he has such high standards. We’re no different as business owners. Our need to exceed expectations, grow our businesses, achieve our goals blind us to just how far we’ve come.
What can you do to overcome overwhelm and celebrate all success?
I use a weekly celebration post in my Facebook Group to openly celebrate our achievements. There are no rules around it. Some weeks I write ‘surviving school holidays’ because that is an achievement when you’ve got school-aged kids.
I’ve been bullet journaling since the start of July (the new financial year) and each weekly layout details the tasks for the week and includes a gratitude spot. At a glance I can see all that I have achieved, personally and professionally, and a piece of gratitude. I don’t judge how many crosses I have made, some weeks are harder than others. What it does give me is a visual reminder of just how far I have come.
I’ve got a task for you.
I want you to grab a pen and paper or the voice recorder on your phone and I want you to list the things you’ve done today, this week, this month.
I want you to look around the room, look at the photos, look at the trinkets, look at your family at think of how far you’ve come.
I want you to celebrate you and your achievements. If you start thinking of all that is left to do or left undone, stop and refocus on the things you have achieved.
You deserve to celebrate your achievements. You are accomplished. You are a success.
There is a growing trend online in attacking business owners. Frankly I’m sick of it. I’m not talking about disagreeing on things or complaining about a product or service. What I am talking about is the growing incidence of bullying of business owners online. So what do I mean?
Cyber-bullying or stalking occurs when someone engages in offensive, menacing or harassing behaviour through the use of technology. It can happen to people at any age, anytime, and often anonymously.
Examples of cyber-bullying include:
posting hurtful messages, images or videos online
repeatedly sending unwanted messages online
sending abusive texts and emails
excluding or intimidating others online
creating fake social networking profiles or websites that are hurtful
nasty online gossip and chat, and
any other form of digital communication which is discriminatory, intimidating, intended to cause hurt or make someone fear for their safety.
They also go on to say that while not all cyberbullying is criminal, there are penalties of up to $30 000 or 3 years imprisonment for serious offences. They also say that all Australian states & territories have laws against stalking.
So while all of these legal protections are in place, my concern is actually why it happens in the first place and what business owners can do.
So while ACORN list what bullying is, it’s interesting to look into what fuels the behaviour. Especially when it’s unprovoked by the business owner. What do I mean by unprovoked? I’m talking about instances where the business owner is bullied by someone who hasn’t bought a product or service and experienced poor workmanship or service. In fact, the often benefit from the free material and their attacks are personal in nature. They could have consumed a whole liturgy of free material, without fear or favour, and then attack the business owner out of the blue.
So why do people bully?
The person doing the bullying wants power or control over the person they are bullying.
But what drives their need for control or power?
I will continue to say that we have 5 key motivators: beliefs, fears, needs, goals, and values. When we become out of sync with these motivators we become stressed and this can manifest in many ways. The two main ways we manifest stress is either internally or externally. Bullies are externalising this imbalance.
So some researchers say that the need for power comes from stress, trauma, learnt behaviours, insecurities. Some of this is an expression of fear. Fear of losing someone, fear of losing control. Some of this is a poor belief and value structure. That could be low self-esteem, that the business owner should be able to take it, that it’s online so it doesn’t matter, that you can’t read tone into online comments so it’s ok.
What I believe is that while they have fallen out of sync with their core motivators, they have also dehumanised the business owner to the business. The sad thing is that they want to be seen as an individual. They are generally personally affronted by something the business owner has done and attacks because they don’t feel like an individual, doing precisely what they feel has been done to them – dehumanised.
In the end, we need to realise that regardless of if the relationship between the business owner and the individual is going well or is a bullying one, we need to remember that there is a person at either end of this. Dehumanising is destructive. To fight this, I encourage business owners to stand up against this. Report the bullying activity to the social media platform (if the bullying is on the platform), report it to the Internet Service Provider if it’s via email, report it to the police, and/or report it to ACORN.
Finally I want to encourage the community as a whole to reclaim the term keyboard warrior from these people. These bullies are not warriors. Warriors protect, defend, and serve. Warriors are strong. I want those who stand up against online bullying to claim the term ‘keyboard warrior’, for we are the warriors in this.
Ok, so the customers haven’t dried up. I still have all the same customers. I’ve also negotiated and outsourced some work I would normally do myself – and it’s all with the contractors at the moment.
But I look down at my plan of what I am doing this week, I think back to what I did last week, and I look up at what I have planned for the quarter… and I scratch my head.
Where has all this spare time come from?
I know, I know, I should be enjoying it – and I am. I am also a little wary of the quietness. The other day I spoke with a girlfriend who has a highpower corporate position and I mentioned the quiet time and she reminded me of something:
“Kara, make the most of it!”
I had forgotten this. In my corporate days I knew there would be times where all my own work was in hand and other work was out with other people & I was waiting for it to come back. I used to tell myself the same thing. Make the most of it.
So what do you do when you find spare time on your hands, more than a spare hour or two? How do you constructively fill a few days when you’re waiting on things?
This is where I use my planning tools, in all honesty. What are my aims for this month, quarter, year? I will work my way up to the highest level goals to see what I can be doing in this time to achieve these goals. These quieter times are great to get stuck into a meatier piece of this work.
Take some time out to have a look at your numbers. How have you gone? Is there something which could/should be performing better than it is? What can you do about that? Is there something you’ve been repeatedly putting off and this time could be used to tackling it once and for all? Or, do you actually need to do it at all and save yourself some more time?
Tackle an idea
Do you have an ideas jar? You know, somewhere to capture those brilliant ideas that you can do when you get-a-round-to-it? Pull one at random and tackle that sucker.
Seems a bit counter-intuitive but big blocks of space and time are perfect times to plan for the time ahead!
Create some content. Create some videos. Schedule some social media. Learn a new skill to help you create. Do those things which keep your business ticking but you tend to run out of time to do. Make the most of it.
Take some time out for you. While many might think that this should be the first & I have to say that after a busy period it is my go-to option, make sure you take some time out for yourself.
It can be a bit odd when you suddenly find yourself with spare time on your hands, but it doesn’t mean that the world is falling down. This breathing space, when put to best use can catapult you further than your busyness ever could.
Make the most of it!
PS. If you’re wondering what I’m doing with my spare time… I will be creating – writing more of my book and I am allowing myself the time to let some ideas come to me and re-evaluating & taking action on them. I’m looking forward to showing you what comes of it..
Slow down! Don’t push! Don’t hurry! Stop hustling! There’s plenty of time and we deserve your best work.
I’m seeing a number of people talking about burn out. People worrying about deadlines. Business owners lost in comparison with their competitors. And I want to scream, “STOP! ENOUGH!”
Recently my kids were on their 2 week Autumn school holidays and normally I will move work to the evenings and work half-days so that we can have time together. Instead, I had pressing deadlines, clients with work which couldn’t be moved, and events that had zero flexibility. I pushed and hustled and pushed some more. Just to get through. And I hated it. All I wanted to do is slow down.
Contrast that with how I feel on my morning walks. After the holidays I made a commitment to a 45 minute walk, alone, before I start work. I even decided that I will start work at 9.30 on those days, sorry clients – I’m on a late start. No hustle, no grind, just at peace with my thoughts. And you know what happens. The ideas rush at me. I don’t have to push. I can slow down and just be and they will come because my mind is still and I am not forcing anything.
Last year a friend suggested that I run a livestreaming challenge. “Too easy”, I thought. I’d been livestreaming for years and had some great hints for how to improve livestreams and get people using the medium. I thought I could have it up in 2-3 weeks. That was enough time right? Oh how wrong I was. It took me 3 months to get the first round out. Why? Because I knew this was a needed and powerful tool and deserved to be done properly. I had to slow down to do it properly.
Too often I see business owners overwhelmed because they had a certain date set in place to deliver a new product or service or something by. They see it looming and they start to stress out. I want to remind you of a few things:
It’s your business.
You set the timing.
We survived without this new marvellous creation, we can wait. We deserve your best work, not a rush job. We deserve you at your best, not a stressed out and worn out shell of yourself.
Here’s the other thing… creating for your business should not feel rushed, hustled, a chore, or something you need to churn out or through. Slow down. Savour the process. Delay. Refine. Enjoy. We all deserve it.
At the start of 2017 I knew there were a number of things I ‘had to do’. One of them was to go on a business retreat and get some focus and direction on my business. So I did. I took myself to Sydney for 3 days and I retreated. At the end, the organiser mentioned their coaching program. I didn’t have the money for group coaching, but I knew that I had to have it. I had invested time in my business and I wanted to get things going. So I signed up, this is what I got…
So each fortnight I jump on a group call with my coach, and 3 other women, we listen to the coach’s wisdom and we support & solve the issues we each have faced and plan for the coming week. But that’s what we do, you want to know what I got out of it.
The big one…
I doubled my income the month I decided to start working with my coach. Remember how I said that I didn’t have the money when I made the decision. Well it appeared, and then some! And it kept coming. I’ve gained and lost clients but I haven’t lost income. It keeps coming. I learnt that if I made a commitment to my business, then I would be provided for.
I was held accountable
I do this with my clients but I’m not good with myself. Well guess what, when you’re paying someone and every 2 weeks you have to front them and tell them what you’ve been up to and why you didn’t achieve that really important thing from last week… you better have a really good reason behind it.
I was called on my BS
Now I need this. And it was done with all love and care. But the first few sessions I went into them unprepared. I didn’t know what I wanted help with for the coming fortnight and I rattled off a grocery list, and then some, of my achievements. But I actually wasn’t progressing with my business. I was called out! I then realised that if I was to make the most of the investment, as I had intended, I needed to get real and get honest. You know what happened? The next session I cracked, I cried, I exposed my fears to the group, and from there I grew. At the end of our sessions for the year, I was thanked for opening up a space where we could be honest and vulnerable. I had lead the way.
I got my shit together
I used to think I had time under control. I was kidding, and let’s face it I still have work to do. My coach told me that ‘my brain isn’t a filing cabinet’ and that I needed to work out a better way to organise my time than my ever growing job list. It was true. Things were slipping by and I was missing client tasks. It wasn’t good. So I found my weekly planner pad and I used the jar/rocks/pebble/sand/water philosophy for my time. Guess what? I had more time than before! I could achieve more.
I could help my clients more
My coach gave us carte blanche to use what we learnt in the sessions with our clients. So I did. What it meant was that I had clients who were able to grow their businesses and secure their family’s financial freedom within a short period of time. Clients went from juggling debt on credit cards and debtors to having all the bills paid, closing off credit card accounts, and having money in the bank.
I learnt about me
I learnt that it was ok to have a niche where no one else was, that was emerging, that being different was ok. Seems odd, but I was always looking to fit into the industry but I wanted to do it differently. I was confounded. That day I was in tears, I learnt that I really only needed 2-3 people who I knew were in the trenches with me and had my back no matter what. I used that, I drew on that. When I went to the US, I discovered just how different I was but how I wasn’t actually alone. There were 3 of us I found, amongst the 21000 people there, who spoke the same language (1 was a keynote & 1 I met in the audience). The more people I spoke to, the more I realised that not only was it ok to be different – I was actually of interest to others in my industry and that being different was my strength.
Good things come
I learnt that with time and space, what I need will come. I ‘needed’ to move to more coaching and less managing. I was scared. I liked the security of the consistent income. I learnt that I didn’t have to give that away to move to where I was drawn. I could do it incrementally, but I had to let go of it. I had to show up the way I wanted to be seen and offer myself as that. So that is where I’m headed. It has only been since October that I have decided, it’s slow, but the shift is happening. I have been tested by the draw back, but I’m serious in pursuing this passion and I seriously adore what I get out of coaching. So good things are here and more is to come.
Did I expect this outcome? Well I hoped for it. I know that I had seen it in my own clients, but that was ‘different’ in my eyes. I had hoped for the accountability, I had dreamed about the income growth, it was the personal growth that came in 6 short months which has me excited. I’m excited for the year to come, I’m excited for my clients, and I’m excited for me.
The vast majority of Facebook Page owners say that the number one reason they don’t post on their page is: they don’t have time. Let’s face it, that’s not a massive surprise as we a generally time poor. The thing is, at the same time I’m being told that you’re time poor, you’re also telling me that you know that your customers are on Facebook & that your products/services sell there. What to do?
More time for Facebook?
I would love to say that I can magically add hours to your day. Thing is, even if I could would you really use them for putting content on your Facebook Page?
I’ve spoken previously about the mindset shift I made about time & how I have benefited from it. I’ve also mentioned in a number of places that I have recently started using a weekly planner and again reaped the rewards.
So while I haven’t actually added hours to my day, I’m making better use of my time.
Oh and I forgot to say that one of the benefits of these two things has been actually working fewer hours. Yes, I’m one of those people who have increased their client base while working fewer hours. It’s ok, I’m not living the laptop lifestyle of a multi-millionaire and I won’t sell you my $19 book on how to do it. (Hats off to you if you are/do, keep it up!)
But back to getting more time for Facebook…
There are two parts to this problem:
Not having time to post on Facebook when you want to
Not having the time to think about what to post on Facebook
These are two separate issues and generally we think that time is the root cause.
It’s not! The thing is that you know that it works when you do it, you just need to find a different way. A better way!
Not having time to post on Facebook when you want to.
Ok, so I admit that I used to do a lot of my social media scheduling late at night after the family went to bed. It wasn’t good & I was exhausted. In fact, I was wiped by the time I got to the weekend. So burning the candle at both ends is not an option.
You now know about my mindset work and the weekly planner, so you can give that a go. It’s funny once we become more accountable of and for our time, the more we respect it and are more mindful we are with its use. It’s the same way as when we are watching our pennies.
What else is there?
I actually encourage people to make a date in their diary for scheduling social media. It has to be non-negotiable. Promoting what you do is part of what you do. You are the best source of information out there about your product or service & that makes you best placed to promote it. It has to become a habit, just like brushing your teeth and over time it will become second nature.
Mine is a whole day of working on my business rather than in it. (Except invoicing, that’s daily) You don’t have to dedicate a whole day, most businesses will get it done in an hour or two. (With these tips)
Use the Facebook Scheduling Tools available
If you are always doing your social media on the hop, you will always feel as though you are caught on the hop. Scheduling social media during these set times has a number of benefits:
You know that you will be putting something out there
You will be regularly showing up
You will be able to develop a social media campaign or strategy for growth
Ad-hoc posting is the enemy of organised Facebook strategy. It’s hard to be strategic when you have to have something delivered “right now or else”.
The best way to schedule posts on Facebook is using their scheduler. They like to keep stuff in house and do give you preference in the Facebook Algorithm for it. (Sad but true, sometimes you just have to play their games).
You can choose to use one of the many social media scheduling tools on the market. The advantage these have over the Facebook Scheduler is: ability to post the same thing to multiple profiles from one spot, RSS feeds, automated rescheduling of posts…
It’s going to be a personal choice which way you go. Some of the scheduling tools are free & others aren’t. Regardless, the Facebook scheduler gives the best results as you can leverage any shared content from within Facebook, thanks Algorithm, or a third-party scheduler has some additional benefits for your content that you might prefer.
Not having time to think about the content to post to Facebook
Each quarter I have an aim/goal for the coming months. I ensure that the work that I do aligns with these goals.
For example, I ran a Facebook Live Challenge and in the lead up to that, I wrote and promoted content around video & live streaming as well as Facebook. A consistent message helps reinforce your message and assists in establishing your position as a leader on the topic.
Speaking of Facebook, I save A LOT of articles. There are a number of pages that I like which are relevant to my audience, so if I see a post I think my audience will like it then I save them.
Watch this video on how I repurpose them.
When I get stuck, I use my scheduling tool (Buffer) and the RSS feed I’ve set up with relevant websites. I will periodically go through that and schedule relevant content from there. The issue with this is unless you have an RSS for your site, you will be promoting other sites. Not a bad thing to mix it up but worth considering.
Some scheduling software integrate with content finding software. For example, Buffer can import posts (automatically) from Quuu and Upflow where I’ve told them a list of suitable topics and they find them and post them for me through my Buffer schedule.
I admit, I syndicate a lot of my posts. What do I mean? I will post on Instagram and it will go from there to Facebook, everything I post on Facebook goes to Twitter. I do this through Zaps in Zapier. It’s cloud-based software that you tell to repost from one profile to another. Another similar service is IFTTT. Using these services means that I get ‘many birds with one stone’. That saves me A LOT of time.
The other tool I use is Missinglettr. This is what is called splintering software. What it does is take little snippets of my blog posts, turns them into quotes & images, & shares these over a 12 month period. Each blog post is split into 9 posts, I get to review all of the posts, make any changes, and then approve them for publication over the next 12 months. It is very set and forget and I love that.
So how do you get time to post on Facebook?
Be accountable for your time. Treat it like the precious resource it is. It is finite remember!
Make the most of your time. If I have a few minutes, I will scroll through my Facebook Feed and save posts to share later, or I will share posts as I see them. I also have my scheduler app on my phone, so I can schedule posts while I do school pick up, waiting at sport, or any random 5 spare minutes.
Schedule your time. Make the use of schedulers, Facebook or otherwise. These tools will save you time as you can schedule a bulk load of posts in one sitting. (Chunking like work is a known time saver) That means that you no longer have that constant harping feeling of WHAT DO I POST TODAY???
Be consistent. Be consistent in centring your content around a goal. Be consistent with your posting to maximise the Facebook Algorithm. Be consistent in dedicating some regular time to finding and scheduling your content.
Ever dream so big, set the goals, put the plan into place only to realise as it’s about to realise that you’re scared witless (or rhymes with) about it actually succeeding. Yeah that’s me.
Back in February 2016 I heard about Inbound, a major marketing conference in the US. I had just shifted my branding over, redone my website, and I had big plans for my business. “Why not reward myself?”, I thought with a trip. I spoke to friends about different social media & marketing conferences and Inbound came up as the one to attend for those who were already in marketing. So I decided that 2017 would be the year I attended.
In mid-2016 I toyed with the idea of attending in September 2016 but for various reasons that never happened, & I kept my 2017 goal.
Around comes 2017 and my business is growing and I find out that some of my favourite speakers (Michelle Obama & Brené Brown) are keynotes. Well, my need to get to Inbound went up a notch. I had to be there. These were bucket list speakers.
I bootstrap my business, meaning there is no capital investment outside of the income it generates. I had to work for those tickets.
Here’s the thing. All along, all through my career, I always thought the only way I would get overseas for work was if my boss paid for me. (Well I did work for the government) Now that never happened and in 3 short years of business, I find myself paying to go overseas.
So why am I so afraid? I’ve even lived in the US. I travelled between Australia & the US alone, so it’s not that. It is precisely what this trip represents.
I have succeeded in achieving a goal I had never had for myself prior to starting my own business and one that seemed improbable.
Yes, I do have an overall fear of success. That’s why all of this is making me anxious just as it’s about to occur. Now don’t worry, I’m not a self-sabotager. I will be getting on that plane and attending that conference.
But what has got me stumped is this fear of success.
For many years I was told not to shine to bright, give others a turn, don’t get too big for my boots. I always thought that this was why I had a fear of success. I thought it was the self-talk tape I had had programmed. Perhaps a little.
Then I thought it was actually a fear of failure. You know the whole, but what if I fail and fall flat on my face thing! Nope, not that either. While I used to say that failure was familiar, in a self-deprecating manner, and it’s true that I am no stranger to failure. I’m actually ok with failure. I learnt long ago to live without regret, which frees me from fearing failure. I am also incredibly resilient which means that I fail, I get up, I brush myself off, and I get on my way.
So it’s not a fear of failure in the guise of not fearing success.
So what is it about my fear of success?
The paradoxical thing about success, unlike failure, is that it can never truly be achieved. Once you’ve achieved a certain level of success, a new one appears. And I think that’s it. My fear of success is actually that I can never attain it, but don’t confuse it with felling like I will fail, it’s not that. It’s fleeting and surpassed by a new goal. I’m afraid of something I believe doesn’t exist because while I achieve a goal, success has moved. It’s a mirage that jumps along the road of progress to a new point.
So what to do about my fear of success?
Well I’ve acknowledged it and that’s always a good step.
I’ve called it what it is, the never ending fear.
So what does psychology say when overcoming fears, generally it’s exposure therapy. Repeatedly putting yourself in a position to encounter the fear while still in a safe environment. That goes against those things I was told growing up of not showing off.
But I have to lean into my fear of success. Just like getting over a fear of flying (not that I have that, heights yes). I have to work that muscle.
So I’m heading to the US to attend that conference. I’m doing it on my own dollar. I’ve leaned in to success and I’ve actually applied to be a speaker at a conference in Canada in 2018, speaking on consumer behaviour on Facebook.
So what’s my advice to those of you who fear success?
Look at your track record. Look at how far you’ve come. If you fear success, remember it is an incremental upgrade and that means you’re already successful. So lean in, there’s nothing to fear.
Can I be honest? I get struck by the confidence gremlins. They come and shake me every so often. They whisper the meanest things in my ears. They laugh at me when I feel like I’m starting to get somewhere. They really enjoy pulling me down a peg or two. Now while they are quieter than when I first started my business, it seems they still attack when my defences are down, when there’s a lot going on in my life, when I’ve been sent something from left field – that’s when they creep back in.
These confidence gremlins take on so many forms:
– the imposter gremlin (they’ll see you for the fake you really are)
– the cricket gremlin ( no one wants what you have to offer)
– the comparison gremlin (you’ll never stack up to this other person)
– the undeserving gremlin (you really don’t deserve success)
And these little monsters relish in attacking when you least expect it, heck, I think they lay in wait for
when you’re at the top of your game and then they attack to bring you down to earth.
What’s prompted me to write this is a number of things. It’s coming through a period where I was rattled. It is also looking back on conversations I have had with friends and clients and realising that something just isn’t getting through.
I by no means believe I am the first or am I alone in addressing these gremlins, nor do I think this list is comprehensive. What has become clear is an issue I was unable to see, it often sits at the centre of this.
I believe that we spend far too much energy putting the emphasis in the wrong place.
Emphasis on competitors
While speaking with a new coaching client, she mentioned that she was feeling incredibly inadequate because she was looking at others in her industry, seeing how they were succeeding, and wondering why she wasn’t. I told her that I too had been there (and I sometimes slip back) and the only way to stop feeling like this is to stop looking. Stop looking at the Social Media, unfollow them or unfriend them, just don’t put yourself in that position. Why? Because the vast majority of us only put the best achievements out for the world to see, we don’t publicise our struggles, and that gives you an incredibly biased perception of their achievements. (I also learnt that a lot of the success out there is funded by debt and I don’t value success at any cost)
Emphasis on valuing the wrong people
In a recent coaching session, my coach reminded me of some work by Brené Brown. Now Brené is one of my favourite speakers and my favourite speech of hers is the one from 99U – The Man in the Arena. Now Brené did not write that famous speech, but she uses it to demonstrate how we hold ourselves back due to fear (these gremlins).
There is one sentence in this Brené Brown speech which jumped out at me in my discussion with my coach. In the speech she says:
If you’re not in the arena, also getting your arse kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.
Too often we, me included, give our energy to people who don’t deserve it, not because they are ungrateful or treat us poorly, but because they’re not on the same playing field. Remember, we show people what we want them to see, and that can include family.
So my coach told me of a Brené Brown exercise, where you take a small square of paper, no more than 5 cm², and you write the names of four or five people whose opinions really matter to you. Now some will say that they don’t care what others think of you, that’s not what this is, this is whose opinion you really value. Now I want you to stop and consider the next thing, are they also in the arena? If they’re not also in the arena, are they someone whose opinion should really matter?
Now I was told to keep the list in my purse for when my gremlins came knocking, I actually keep it under my laptop as my gremlins attack when I am online. So I suggest you write your list and keep it where you are often visited by your gremlins. When the gremlins come knocking, look at that piece of paper, is the person delivering the gremlin on the list? There’s a good chance they’re not and so you can discard the gremlin (and maybe even the person).
In the end, I want you to be mindful of where you expend your energy as every misspent piece is a piece you can not use yourself to do what you want to achieve.
So it didn’t go the way you planned. You researched, planned, wrote, and launched your course and no one came. You received a new client booking, only to have them cancel. You designed and developed a new product and everyone said it was too dear. You’ve spent months planning your business, open the doors and no one is there. You write a blog post and no one reads it.
How do you feel? Like crap right? Like a schmuck that’s been taken for a ride? How’s about the feeling that you have no idea what you’re doing and you might as well give up now? What about the thought that they might be right and you’re too dear?
I can tell you that I have experienced every one of those and more. It hurts. It’s a kick in the guts and it has you wondering why you bother at all and if you’re actually cut out for this business/entrepreneur thing.
Here’s what I know from being in business for the past 6 years. (Wow, it really is that long and I know to some reading that makes me a baby in their experience)
Keep getting up!
There is a Japanese proverb which says ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight’. You have to keep standing up and showing up. Sometimes you need to lick your wounds, fix your proverbial ponytail and get back in there. Even if you have to pull yourself or have yourself pulled back up by the bootstraps!
Why do you have to?
You have to because we have a dream and to give up now is giving up on your dream. You deserve that in this one life you have to live. You deserve to live to your full potential. It’s your dream for a reason. It is always darkest just before the dawn, likewise, your goals will push you to your limit just before you succeed. Keep going!
You have to keep going because ‘No’ doesn’t always mean ‘not ever’, sometimes it means ‘not now’. We all know about that invite out when you’re too broke or too tired and you just say ‘no’. You don’t want your friend to stop asking you out because you said ‘no’ once. Give it time and ask again. The skill in being in business is having the right product in front of the right person at the right time. You mess any of these up and the answer is likely to be ‘no’.
You need to forget those naysayers who refuse to get in the arena. Simple! If they don’t have skin in the game your playing then they don’t truly know and they don’t get a say or have influence on your decisions. It’s your game and your arena. Play on!
You need to stop the negative self-talk.
All you are doing is reinforcing to your brain what you think is happening. Thing is, your brain will find more evidence for that and then that will make you think worse thoughts. So it will find evidence for that too. But going back to what I said about timing, skin in the game etc, it’s not true! You were kidding yourself, but not in the way you imagined. You had it all backwards.
So find examples of where you totally rocked it. When clients said ‘Oh my god yes!’. When you were in the zone and totally hitting your goals. Think about those. How did you feel then you legend? You rocked it! You smashed it! You were on fire! They loved what you were doing! It all came together! You’ve got this! Now your brain will find more examples of when you totally crushed and 10x’ed (is that a term?) it! Then you are going to feel on top of the mountain, back in the game and racing out there to keep on going!