Be very afraid. Be very sad. But sometimes, work anyways.
Honestly. There is no escaping running into strange, new, scary, hurtful things in business. Mainly because you are human, the people you serve are human, and for as long as history has been playing out . . . it seems like that’s enough for conflict, for beauty, for fear, for change, for all of it.
I’ll tell you a story on another day about just how much business can hurt, but today I simply want to talk about what our responses to fear can cause in our business, plus the difficulties that being consistent can present . . . and the one thing that you can do to move past both of these blocks.
You know how people always say things like “[insert ‘simple’ task here] is not rocket science” . . .?
Well, what I have for you today IS actual rocket science.
In the sense that a rocket has an initial thrust — exhaust gas — that launches it . . . and then it has fuel for the journey to keep it going . . . or at least I think that’s how it works. Note: I’m not a rocket scientist; I am an author trying to make a point.
And I’m human, so sometimes I say things I don’t know to be 100% true so that I can use them in a light, storytelling manner. Don’t judge me.
So let’s pretend it’s: Rocket releases exhaust (excess it doesn’t need), which propels it forward, and once it’s going, it uses/burns fuel to keep going.
That is literally all the rocket science (true or otherwise) any of us needs to deal with the inevitable fear, lack of motivation or consistency, uncertainty of what to do next, frustration, and pain that all come along with doing business.
1. Exhaust = initial thrust.
Get rid of the things that once pushed out, will make your journey more clear and less burdened.
Let’s not be vague and woo-woo right now. Let’s be practical.
In each moment that you feel afraid or unmotivated to do something (like write the next lesson of your course, attempt to make a sales page, record a podcast episode for the first time, etc.), get rid of three things:
- Any deep (or shallow) attachments to the exact outcome. Literally, forget what this thing is supposed to be so you can create what it’s supposed to be. Yeah, I just repeated myself.
- Thoughts that you’re unqualified to do said thing. If it’s untrue, you’ll only hinder yourself from helping people with whatever you’re about to create. If it’s true, you’re the most self-aware person ever and when you’re done creating it, you will realize it’s not complete and you can keep it as a rough draft until you learn the additional things that “qualify” you. Whatever that means. P.S. I’m also a fan of launching incomplete things sometimes, but maybe that’s just me.
- The thought that if something is scary or uncomfortable, it’s a sign you’re not ready.
If something is scary and uncomfortable, it’s a sign that you’re ready to try it.
If you truly weren’t a good fit for trying this new thing, this thing you can learn from even if it doesn’t go well the first time around, then you would actually feel something more like disdain or disinterest.
2. Thrust begets launch.
You’ll notice you are now moving. Even if it’s slowly. Even if it’s somewhat suckily (as I often move when things aren’t flowing yet). Even if you’ll have to make adjustments later, you are moving.
And just like how I feel with this post right now, you might be moving while knowing you’re not creating the next most pinned, most viral, most profitable thing in the world, but you are creating.
Creating is the best way to teach yourself creativity. Doing and then doing again is the best way to teach yourself consistency.
3. Fuel for the journey = a good thing.
Again, I’m not a rocket scientist, so maybe rockets actually run off of cotton swabs and Twizzlers, but let’s just pretend it’s fuel so I can make my point.
Keep your reason for it all close by. It will be fuel at the hardest, saddest moments.
Every single day I do at least a few things that I don’t feel like doing in the moment. Yes, even things I really like, or love. Do you feel me on this at all?
What can you remind yourself of in those moments? How can you keep going?
I recommend not being all “Oh, it’s the people I serve that keep me going.” when you can instead think of a specific person you know exists and would love/want/need what you have . . . and create it for them.
I write to a guy named David who I know from Austin, Texas and I make products for a woman named Eve who I know from the Internet.
And it works.
Today, when I started to write this content, I was literally so sad, hurt, and upset (from a business thing that happened in a group I operate) that I felt unable to move. And I remembered back to the feeling of finishing my first book in early 2013. It was PAINFULLY hard to write at times. Even though I’m a writer . . . and I love to write.
Finishing something when I had no idea how it would be received . . . something that I had never done before . . . that I felt unqualified or unworthy of at times . . . that I finished at a time when I had no bed and was sleeping on a hole-y air mattress . . . it was PAINFULLY hard.
But I had real-life students in mind back then. Students that I taught in person at The University of Texas at Austin (through an adult education program). So I worked. Through intense forces that wanted me to quit.
And I remembered that feeling today. At a moment when I wanted to just cry and watch movies instead of write, even though I knew that would be giving a situation “too much power” over me (or whatever yoga thing I’m supposed to say as a registered yoga teacher), I remembered that feeling of taking weeks and weeks to write the last chapter of my book.
Why did it take so much longer than all the other chapters?
Because the last chapter meant that it would be done. It meant that I would launch it into the world (as in: send it to my editor yet again and then launch it). It meant that people would soon read it. It meant that my struggle journey would be over. It meant that people would either like it or not. It meant that I WOULD be judged — there’s no escaping that as creators.
It meant so many things. 90% of them I was scared of. But somehow I published that book. And somehow I wrote this article through the sadness and slowness I was feeling and through the fear that this article would be so boring you’d never read another word I wrote.
So . . .
Be very afraid. Be very sad. But sometimes, work anyways.