Thursday August 17, 2023
As business owners, we constantly juggle a range of emotions and challenges.
Personally, I’ve noticed I have an impressive ability to procrastinate.
Sometimes, it’s because I don’t know where to start – or because the task itself is so big, it’s intimidating.
But often, I’ve realised, it’s because I’m worried I will screw it up.
More importantly – I’m worried other people will see that I’ve screwed up. And they’ll work out that, actually, I’m not as good (or talented/smart/wise/funny etc) as they originally thought.
In fact, whatever I do, I’m worried about what other people – what YOU – will think of it. Of me.
I’m pretty sure this means I suffer from a ‘fear of failure’. Probably with a dose of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ thrown in for good measure.
But I'm also pretty sure I'm not alone in this … that, despite how confident and self-assured everyone else seems to be, maybe they - maybe you - feel something similar.
For me, it means I’m a bit of a perfectionist. A LOT of a perfectionist, in fact.
Which I'm pretty sure annoys the hell out of my team.
But it also means I procrastinate – I put off doing things that I KNOW will benefit me and my business. Especially if that thing exposes me to other people's judgements...
So I have also tended to hide from public scrutiny – to hide behind our brand.
Because what if I screw it up? What if you don’t like me?
I read somewhere that these fears are here to protect us - because, from an evolutionary perspective, we need to be part of a tribe to survive. So we desperately want to be accepted.
But they're not really helping us any more - at least, not in business.
So it's time to confront them and to master them.
Over the past year, I’ve been trying to push past this fear and put myself out there for the world to see.
I've written articles for business magazines, I've spoken on stage, and I’ve been sponsoring and attending more industry events.
Writing these regular emails is part of that journey.
And, you know what? It feels pretty good.
Slowly, I’m getting less afraid.
When I talk to people and share my knowledge, I see light bulbs flicker on above their heads. The things I take for granted are new insights for others, and I realise – I’m actually pretty good at what I do.
I’m getting invited to share my knowledge more and more now… it’s helping others AND it’s helping our business to grow.
So... if you’re holding yourself back, I’d like to invite you to join me.
Because giving in to these feelings is limiting us – it’s preventing us from helping others and reaching our full potential.
I’m not sure if it's possible to banish these feelings entirely – but maybe, with enough practice, we can learn to ignore them.
I’m finding that if I shift my focus from ‘doing this for me’ to ‘doing this to help others’ – then it makes it a lot easier.
So if you feel the same way – I challenge you to put yourself out there and do something, anything, that uses your unique perspective and skill-set to help others.
Write your own email or blog post. Host a webinar. Volunteer to speak at an event. Record a video. Make that phone call. Offer your assistance.
And see what happens.
It may be hard, and it may be uncomfortable. But it will be worth it.
Till next time,
Tim Freed, Co-Founder of Toddle About