Two methods can get you off the metaphorical pot and restore your faith in your abilities.
Every day, I talk to people who work for themselves. People whose work I have read, or viewed, or admired and when I speak to them, they all turn into apologetic garage sale shoppers.
“Oh, that thing I wrote? It took me two minutes.”
“Which design? My client hated it.”
“Pffft! That was one of my earlier pieces. Yuck.”
Sound familiar? “You love this sweater? I got it on the bargain table of crap that won’t sell. Two bucks!”
Why do we talk about ourselves in this way?
I recently signed on to edit a book about living with beauty.
As in, taking pride in the fact you are beautiful.
When I talked to the author, I asked her if she thought she would alienate or offend her readers by referring to herself as good looking.
“No,” she told me, “There’s nothing wrong with it.
As she explained further, I thought about my own responses initially when I had heard her talk about her book’s premise. I had felt defensive for her…and then I stopped and asked myself why am I acting like this?
When did it become a bad thing to take pride in yourself, even in the gifts you don’t have a lot of control over? Like your genetics.
Why can’t we tell people, “Thank you, so much! I thought I did a good job, too”?
What is wrong with acknowledging the talents we have?
To do so puts you in a place of confidence. It better prepares you to take the next step: deliberate and proud action.
Taking action is one of the best remedies for self-doubt. When you take action and succeed you know that you are capable, you are valuable. You prove to yourself that you have the creative chops and the professional savvy to hold your own against competitors.
Beyond that, taking action can be viewed as a stepping stone. One, do one thing. Two, do it again.
If you are truly frozen and stuck in a cycle of self-recrimination, I want to tell you about two tricks I use to urge you to get your mind and body moving.
1. Stop thinking, or rather, switch your focus. Pay attention to what you are doing, not the reason for doing it. If you are afraid to email a prospect, for example, instead of ruminating on how you feel less than the potential client you are fangirling, turn your attention to yourself. Now, I am opening my laptop. I am clicking on Chrome. I am opening my email and starting to write. Okay, I am pushing “send.” You can apply this concept to anything that spikes your fear. It doesn’t matter what it is: texting your love interest, negotiating with a bank, jumping out of an airplane. No matter what gives you fear, you can move through all the layers of terror holding you in place.
2. Remember your glory days. Sometimes, we get into a slump when nothing goes right. Even our proven processes fall flat. When this happens we get stuck in the present, in a moment of non-productivity. In moments where all we can think of is how we aren’t meeting our goals. At these times, it’s like quicksand and we just wish someone would stroll by and hold out a big, gnarled tree branch. But you can help yourself. You can boost your opinion of yourself and your results. Simply, remember. Remember the time you nailed that contract, the huge one you never thought you would? Remember the time you killed it in your client’s project and they couldn’t stop raving about you? How about the day you solved the problem no one else could? You do have a rich history of succeeding and from time to time, we just need to go back in time to rediscover our greatness. As humans, we are all too familiar with our vulnerabilities, but if we are not cognizant of the power of them, we may wind up stagnant, unable to reignite the belief in ourselves that we can accomplish anything at all.
Let’s work on getting overly cozy with our strengths instead.
We are going to experience “valley” periods in our lives. Unfortunately, bad days can turn into bad weeks. Life is a learning game and so we won’t always succeed, but the goal is to figure out the tools we have to resolve our situations.
The next time you are struggling and dreading the outcome of the proposal you need to write, or the publication you want to pitch—whatever it is, take action to reaffirm you’ve still got it.
Original article appeared at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission.
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