“I think it's healthy for a person to be nervous. It means you care – that you work hard and want to give a great performance. You just have to channel that nervous energy into the show.” – Beyoncé Knowles, Born Sep. 4, 1981.
When I mentor people or consult with them, I frequently hear people who are full of self doubt.
If they are beginners, it is a lack of confidence in their own value. If it's veterans, it's impostor syndrome where they feel overvalued and are worried of being “found out”.
They are both full of shit.
And I say that with love.
You think your nervousness and self doubt and lack of confidence EXCUSE you from trying? I don't see a doctor's note for that, people. You have to dress out and run your fucking laps anyway.
Run them nervous. You might trip or go slow or otherwise fuck up. Guess what, though?
You're still ending up yards or even miles ahead of the cowards who DO allow their nervousness to get in their way.
So stop being a little coward. What are you scared of? Succeeding? Or else improving slightly toward an eventual success? Because those are really the only two possibilities.
Either it works. Or you learn something about how not to do it next time.
Like Queen B says. Nervousness and self doubt mean you actually care about what you're doing. That's ingredient number one in being fucking awesome.
Ingredient 2 is getting out there and rubbing your awesomeness against every surface of the world that you can.
Do it. Tell me how you will. Then SHOW me.
Today’s exclusive blog-only content are my top three tips for overcoming fear of publishing or promoting yourself at the level you want to be…
If you struggle to push past a certain point and push yourself out there, you can definitely feel stuck and stifled, and that feeling only drags out more anxiety.
Here are my own tricks for getting over that. And full admission – I am not a confident person. I don’t think I’m great or special. But what I’ve learned to do is ignore that voice of doubt, because all it does is PROTECT AN UNKNOWN.
What I mean is, that voice may whisper to me “what if people don’t like it?” Well, they might not. But what if they do like it? The only way to find out is to show it and see. That’s a certainty. If they don’t like it, NOW you know. And can find out why, and do better next time. And if they DO like it, remember that the next time that inner critic speaks up, and tell it how wrong it was.
But that’s all mumbo jumbo. Here are three hard tactics.
1. Fear requires mental bandwidth. If you busy yourself on the work, the brain can’t worry. It only worries when you stop. So plot the work out so the point at which you can stop and allow the doubt to bubble up is AFTER you’ve posted. Post the first draft and edit after it’s live.
2. Write down your worst-feared potential outcomes from whatever activity you’re pursuing, and then read them out loud to yourself in the mirror, but in a stupid voice. I do my imitation of Skeletor from the early 80s He-man cartoon. This is an incredibly silly exercise. You will feel goofy, and laugh, and even feel embarrassed despite being alone. But what it does is frame those negative fears in a voice that is OUTSIDE yourself. It makes them sound stupid and laughable. It puts them into a presentation where you would never take them seriously if someone said it to you like that. And you remember it. And over time, when your internal critic always sounds like a whiny skull face cartoon villain, you listen less and less.
3. Acknowledge your fear. Admit to your worries and confess to your audience. But add this one twist: exaggerate it. And then ask them. “I’m new to posting here, so am I doing okay or am I a bloated gas bag of ass gas, spewing stinky idiocy unfit to print?” This invites those who appreciate you to correct you. And if those who are haters chime in, you’ve already outdone the worst they could say. “Yeah you suck,” hurts a lot less than the ass-gas bag insult you levied.
These are all dumb mind hacks. But they work. At least short term. And that is what you need. Because there is no long-term fix. I’ve worked with the most successful, beautiful, most fit, smartest rich people you can imagine. And they suffer from self doubt just like you and me.
It won’t go away. So practice ignoring it, or clowning on it, and making it distracted enough to push “post” and let your audience decide.