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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 March 13, 2019

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. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well 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. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

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, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which 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 a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up 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. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

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.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

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.

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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 end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

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

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

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.

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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 why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

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, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

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

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. 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. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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