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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 December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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