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Finally Overcome Self-Doubt and Launch Your Dream in 2016

Finally Overcome Self-Doubt and Launch Your Dream in 2016

As 2015 draws to a close, we take time to reflect on the year’s journey and plan for the future. For most, work and career command the most contemplation, since we spend about 2,000 hours of each year working. Yes, you read that correctly. That time of reflection may leave you frustrated though, since according to Gallup over 68% of us our dissatisfied with our work! Since it’s never been easier to launch a side hustle or go out as a full-time freelancer, why haven’t more people changed the directions of their lives? Why haven’t you started that book, launched your website, or quit your soul-sucking job?

For many, the answer to those questions comes down to one thing: self-doubt. Do you have what it takes? Will anyone read/purchase/buy from you? Don’t let these questions circle around in your head for another year.

Here’s how to break the self-doubt cycle and actually launch your big idea in 2016.

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1. Take One Small Step Forward

Dale Carnegie may have said it best, “Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

However, there is one footnote I’d add to Carnegie’s message: the first action you take to overcome fear and self-doubt can be tiny. Maybe you simply tell someone, out loud, that you’re considering quitting your job. Perhaps your Step One is to purchase a domain name for your product idea. You could share a blog post on Facebook for the first time, or take the leap and stream live on Periscope.

The key is to stop thinking and start doing, because with each little action you take, you realize that doing is not so bad after all. As you feel the excitement of execution, you start to gain confidence.

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2. Expect It To Be Lame At First

This is something we, as a society, don’t talk about enough. When you start a blog, no one reads it but your mom. When you start performing at coffee shops, only your friends show up. When you start writing your novel, you’ll only have a few measly pages at first. Technology and the internet make everything seem fast and simple, but anything worth doing takes time and effort. I have seen many an excited dreamer start on their new project only to bail one month in because they didn’t anticipate just how lame starting actually is.

To stay the course, accept the idea that in the first few weeks (or months) you will feel like a loser. You’ll cringe when someone asks about the project, or congratulates you on the coffee shop gig, or says they saw your Facebook post. When I started posting articles and videos, only my friends and family watched or shared. Now, 40+ videos later, I reach thousands each week. I knew that if I remained consistent I’d gain momentum eventually, and so will you. Starting is a short season, but you have to get through it.

3. Share Small Wins Publicly

When you start to take action towards the realization of your dream, whatever it may be, it’s important to celebrate small wins. I encourage you to do this publicly. If you reach a goal, like 100 blog subscribers or 20,000 words of your novel, tell a few people about it. You don’t have to share specifics, simply saying “I reached my word goal for the week!” is enough.

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This is an important step because it reminds you, and also shows others, that you have momentum. It also demonstrates that you are changing things and moving forward. Momentum is magnetic. People will want to check out what you’re doing because it’s in motion. Later in your journey, after struggling with writer’s block, a low sales month, or hater comments, you can look back and remember that you do indeed have a good thing going.

4. Slowly Pick Up Speed

Taking the first step towards your dream builds confidence for taking more action, and hopefully bigger and bigger steps. Keep in mind that this builds like a snowball. No one expects you to go from one page to a finished novel in one week, or from coffee shops to arenas in one year, so don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Make goals for each week or each day, increasing in size until you’re well on your way.

5. Don’t Stop

Once you are moving at a good clip, realize another thing about momentum: it’s precious.

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The second you have some inertia, I encourage you to double-down instead of coast. If your blog post goes viral, post even more in the days following. If you are in the zone, writing a million words per minute, skip lunch and maybe even dinner. You get the idea.

There will be times when you are barely crawling along. Even when you’re living the dream, there is still grunt work. You’ll face writer’s block, or unhappy clients, or a failed product. It’s going to happen. When it does, don’t stop. Go at a snail’s pace if you have to, but don’t let self-doubt tell you to stop completely. Keep working on your dream a little bit each day, even if only for a few minutes.

6. Anticipate Course Corrections

Once I started studying and interviewing successful people, I realized that very few of them had a straight path to success. Not only did they overcome failures, but many of them also ended up in totally different careers or industries than they anticipated. Be prepared for sudden detours that take you to an entirely new dream. Self-doubt can creep back in, as if changing direction means failure. I assure you, it does not. When I quit my job a few years ago, I envisioned a completely different life than the one I’m currently living. I never thought I’d end up sitting down to interview Al Roker. Never. I had to abandon other dreams and goals for the amazing course I am on now. Dreams change.

Conclusion

If you’re stuck in a life you don’t love, start small, prepare to feel lame, and remember to keep going. Soon, you’ll be confident in your abilities and well on your way to redesigning your life.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on November 5, 2020

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. A rut can manifest as a productivity vacuum and be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. Is it possible to learn how to get out of a rut?

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, or a student, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on Small Tasks

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks that have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate positive momentum, which I bring forward to my work.

If you have a large long-term goal you can’t wait to get started on, break it down into smaller objectives first. This will help each piece feel manageable and help you feel like you’re moving closer to your goal.

You can learn more about goals vs objectives here.

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2. Take a Break From Your Work Desk

When you want to learn how to get out of a rut, get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the bathroom, walk around the office, or go out and get a snack. According to research, your productivity is best when you work for 50 minutes to an hour and then take a 15-20 minute break[1].

Your mind may be too bogged down and will need some airing. By walking away from your computer, you may create extra space for new ideas that were hiding behind high stress levels.

3. Upgrade Yourself

Take the down time to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Go to a seminar, read up on a subject of interest, or start learning a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college[2]. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a Friend

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while. Relying on a support system is a great way to work on self-care when you’re learning how to get out of a rut.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget About Trying to Be Perfect

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism can lead you to fear failure, which can ultimate hinder you even more if you’re trying to find motivation to work on something new.

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If you allow your perfectionism to fade, soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come, and then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

Learn more about How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up.

6. Paint a Vision to Work Towards

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the ultimate goal or vision you have for your life?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action. You can use the power of visualization or even create a vision board if you like to have something to physically remind you of your goals.

7. Read a Book (or Blog)

The things we read are like food for our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great material.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. You can also stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs and follow writers who inspire and motivate you. Find something that interests you and start reading.

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8. Have a Quick Nap

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep[3].

Try a nap if you want to get out of a rut

    One Harvard study found that “whether they took long naps or short naps, participants showed significant improvement on three of the four tests in the study’s cognitive-assessment battery”[4].

    9. Remember Why You Are Doing This

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall your inspiration, and perhaps even journal about it to make it feel more tangible.

    10. Find Some Competition

    When we are learning how to get out of a rut, there’s nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, and networking conventions can all inspire you to get a move on. However, don’t let this throw you back into your perfectionist tendencies or low self-esteem.

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    11. Go Exercise

    Since you are not making headway at work, you might as well spend the time getting into shape and increasing dopamine levels. Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, or whatever type of exercise helps you start to feel better.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

    If you need ideas for a quick workout, check out the video below:

    12. Take a Few Vacation Days

    If you are stuck in a rut, it’s usually a sign that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange one or two days to take off from work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax, do your favorite activities, and spend time with family members. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest.

    More Tips to Help You Get out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Ashkan Forouzani via unsplash.com

    Reference

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