It’s been a while since my last post. Work has been busy, I turned a work trip into a mini vacation with the family. It was amazing.
What I am most happy about is that Mallory and I were able to spend a great deal of time together talking about the future that we want for each other, ourselves and our son. An amazing thing happens when you have a kid, your mortality kicks in. You start to realize that time is finite and that if you want to build something you can pass down, then you have to take action.
Whether you are fifteen or fifty, we will always have dreams about what we want our legacy to be. I think one of the factors that stop us from chasing down those dreams is that we say the following things to ourselves when we’re alone. Being realistic about our abilities is not a bad thing, but due to pride, or insecurity, we only have these conversations inside our own heads. So here are the 5 things we say to ourselves that hold us back and the responses we need to hear to get over them.
1. I Am Not Talented Enough to Succeed.
Sure, maybe you are not the Sidney Crosby of this idea. But a lot of non-talented people have succeeded in this world. If you think about it, you can probably think of a few examples from your town that have made things work out despite not being particularly talented.
It’s incredible how much slack hard work and dedication can make up for. Also, if you know you lack skill in a particular aspect of your dream, the world of the internet exists to help you develop that skill set, or you can find a partner who thrives in that area.
2. That Would Never Work In (Insert Hometown Name Here)
Right now at least some of your neighbours are paying Jeff Bezos and Amazon an inflated fee, plus delivery to get the Artisan Candles, all natural soap, beach glass decorations, almost anything, so why are they not buying it from you, and why are you not selling it to them? Sometimes our perspective is limited to what we can see right in front of us. This limited scope of vision leads us to believe that certain dreams are impossible and doomed to fail.
The most dangerous thing about this pattern of thinking is that we don’t only apply it to our ambitions, but also to others who are trying to create better lives. Our internal negativity is transferred in some schadenfreude (taking pleasure from the suffering of others) mentality to go out of our way to disparage the efforts of those around us. I’ve been guilty and now have to be vigilant when I find myself falling into this trap.
3. I Don’t Have the Resources (Time/Money/ Materials) to Make This Work
Start small. I know it’s tempting to buy the storefront and realize the dream all within the first few months. Unfortunately, this is how most ideas die. You should take great pride in developing a Minimal Viable Product or MVP. If you’re making decorative wooden signs, don’t make 1000 thinking that the orders will come in and you will need them. Make one of each model you want to sell online or at Farmer’s markets, then take orders. By starting small, you’ll save your resources and build the nest egg you’ll need to scale up.
4. What If I Fail, Everyone Will See Me As A Failure
This one is a tough one to kick. All of these are based on fear, but the fear of losing face or being negatively viewed by our friends and family is quite possibly one of the deepest and most primal fears.
I honestly believe that with a combination of answers to statements two and three, we have a chance to get past this one. If we start small, the failure won’t be so big that anyone could blame you for trying. And if we cut out those schadenfreudian tendencies in ourselves, and genuinely wish the best for our neighbours and others in the pursuit of their goals, maybe we can hope that they will support us in the same way.
5. But I Wouldn’t Even Know Where to Start
Realizing your dreams is not a straightforward path is a tough truth to wrestle with. You can’t find the way forward on Google Maps. If you could then everyone would be living their best life. So what you have to do is admit to yourself, regardless if your dream is starting a business, losing weight, curbing your consumption of alcohol, improving your community or anything else, “You are probably not able to do this on your own!”
This isn’t meant to let you off the hook. It is not my responsibility, nor am I accountable if you do or do not realize your ambitions, and vice-versa. But as someone who wants to benefit from the support of others, I need to hold myself accountable to offer that same support to the people I hope will help me. If I have knowledge, skills or equipment that can help you, I should do my best to provide it. And if I lack those things I need to put aside the pride that would prevent me from asking for help in getting started.
These are the things that go through my head almost daily. Trust me it can be hell inside this skull. The voice is almost always my own, but knowing that there are good answers to the questions that the negative side of my psyche keeps bombarding me with, helps immensely.
I hope they can help you too.