The Gift And The Curse of Self-Doubt, And How To Overcome It
Self-doubt is a bitch, but I kinda have a thing for her.
She plagues my thoughts and tries to steal my dreams.
The crazy ex-girlfriend, who just when I thought I’ve finally abandoned her for good, shows up unannounced and uninvited, to taunt me as I move on to bigger and better things
As I write this, she tells me that no one is gonna wanna read it. That it, like everything else I write, sucks.
Maybe she’s right
Every time I read my own writing I do cringe at how bad it is. All I see are the faults, holes and what needs to be fixed
She tells me I’m too stupid, too shallow and too weird. That I should just give it up.
Now, in reality, I know my writing can’t be that bad
I mean, I’ve had some pretty decent success writing persuasive copy that’s gotten people to spend millions of dollars online.
So I must have some kind of skills… right?
You see, I’m no longer fulfilled just writing stuff that gets people to click big ol’ orange “Add To Cart” buttons.
I wanna write stuff that stirs something deep inside of people. I wanna write stuff that gets people to look at the world a little differently than before they read it. I wanna write about shit that matters.
But because I’m chasing after something greater than just putting a few dollars in the bank, something greater than what I’ve known, my mind plants the fear of failure, and allows it to take root deep within
It constantly pesters and mocks me “Stick with what you know… leave the important stuff to important people who actually have something important to say”
“If you’re are paralyzed with fear it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.”
― Steven Pressfield
How Self-Doubt Tried To Kill The Personal Trainer
Back in 2002 I wanted to become a personal trainer. To me, it sounded like the coolest job in the world.
I made the decision that I would leave my job at the print shop and go after it.
Right away my mind starts acting like a bully, pushing me around talking all kinds of shit
“You’re too fat and weak and you just don’t have what it takes. If you try to get one of those certification things you will fail miserably… remember school? That thing you sucked at? Just stay at the print shop and be happy with your little $7.85 an hour before you make an ass of yourself… capiche?”
Walking into my interview at ’24 Hour Fitness’ I trembled inside, I dreaded that interview, waiting for it like watching the clock run down until the buzzer rang so I could meet the bully in the high school parking lot where he would dish me out a beating right in front of all the other students
“You’re gonna lose” the bully said
Turns out I got the job. I was there 3 weeks and hated it, so I quit and started my own training business. Within two years I was making more money training than the total combined income of all the 10 or so trainers in that 24 Hour Fitness put together, including the guy who hired me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the trembling I felt that day as I walked into that interview was a good thing. It meant I was knocking down the walls of the little box I had been living in… and was about to make a bigger box.
When in Self-Doubt, Keeping Moving Forward
Fear and self-doubt are two signs that we’re headed in the right direction towards something greater
My mind telling me I’m a lousy writer is proof that it’s time to write my book
The limits of what I think I’m capable of are being pushed, and there’s a part of me that pushes back
My soul wants to expand into unknown territories, and to do so, it must defeat it’s enemy.
That enemy is me. It’s the part of myself that says I “I can’t”
The part of me that just wants to freeze-up, sit on the couch and do nothing except watch other people pushing the boundaries of what’s possible… all on the television set of course… yes, much safer to just stay on the couch
There’s a war inside between the little me that doesn’t want to leave the safety and comfort of the known, and the bigger me who wants to do something great, impact lives and leave a legacy
The bigger me knows I’m capable of great things, and has no use for critics
No matter how loud they heckle
These two parts of the self need each other. For there can be no legacy, without self-doubt. And no self-doubt, if I just sit here and do nothing.
If I were content to just do what I’ve always done, and never journey into deeper waters, self-doubt wouldn’t be staring me in the eye
It’s a challenge that summons it, and it’s an important part of the process
In fact, there is no moving forward without it
Action, is the greatest weapon against it. The only way to truly fight it, is to keep moving forward
Positive self-talk and positive mental imagery can help a ton, but nothing comes close to just getting out there and doing it
Trudging through the soggy terrain, rising from the quicksand and fighting one more day
Even when the entire world seems to be against you, or at the very least don’t believe in you or what you set out to do
“Most people can’t imagine what hasn’t been done before. What they imagine instead is a crappy version of what has been done before. Then they reject that.”
- Steven Pressfield
This Is The Time To Give It Everything You’ve Fucking Got
… To believe in yourself when no one else will and do the work that lays in front of you
The war is fought at ground zero, right here, right now
People who don’t long to create something beautiful, something more, something greater, don’t get the constant ambushes of self-doubt and the questionable looks from their peers
The comfort of a nice safe routine acts as a barrier that keeps those dark creatures out
But if one is gonna blaze new trails, those monsters are gonna rear their ugly heads and tell you “You Can’t” every god damned chance they get
There is no way to get to Awesomeness without first walking through that dark night
The valley of the shadow of death is located right under the mountain of your legacy
No one is just dropped off on the mountain top via helicopter ride
You climb that fucker like it’s Everest
The steepest parts of the climb are those parts of ourselves that tells us we can’t do it, we’re not smart enough, not good enough and simply don’t have what it takes
When your mind tells you those things, congratulations, you’ve left the safety of your couch and found your mountain
Now climb that mother fucker and prove to yourself and the world just exactly what you’re made of
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