I’ve been working on my book slowly but surely over the last month or so, and I can tell you without a doubt, it’s a harrowing process. One day, I’m so pumped about this project and really excited to release it into the world. The next day, I’m ready to scrap it all, totally convinced it’s absolute crap.
Part of that is a bad case of impostor syndrome. “Who am I to write a book at all? It’s all been said before by people way better and smarter than me, with superior writing skills to boot.” Part of it is old but rampant insecurities bubbling back up to the surface. “No one cares what I have to say because no one likes me and I’m better off as a loner.”
Most days, I’m able to live somewhere in the middle of that. Well, actually, not true. Most days, I’m able to live at the opposite side of the spectrum from all that, a whole lot more confident about my choices and what I’m writing and doing. (I call it the Spectrum of Choice Confidence, and it’s a cornerstone concept in the book.) But I believe it’s the insecure days, the fluctuating along the spectrum that allow me to live on the confident side of it more often.
I can’t tell you how often I hear from a client that they’re struggling with something similar. You know, “Why would anyone listen to me when they can just listen to X person?” I get it. I really do. I’ve asked myself the same question about a million times in the last few years. Especially among writers, coaches, trainers, self-help and business development folks, there are some amazing voices out there doing amazing things in highly influential ways. It makes it seem that they’re the ones with all the best answers, all the authority, and why are we even trying?
I’ll tell you why.
It is so, so easy to get in our own heads, and even more into our own circles. We then stack our ideas and voices up against those of our idols and influencers, constantly comparing and evaluating our work against theirs. When we think it’s better, we get mad they’re finding the success we envision for ourselves. When we think it’s worse, we get mad they’re finding the success we envision for ourselves. It’s a frustrating cycle, that’s for sure.
But here’s the thing: That’s the bullshit voice of fear talking. It is a way to stay safe in not putting ourselves out there and risking judgment, failure – or success. Put more clearly, the chances the people you’re wanting to work with or influence yourself actually know these people you’re focused on, this X person you consider an expert, are way slimmer than you think.
I’ve fallen into this trap a hundred times before. I’ll be convinced everyone is paying attention the same people I am, I’ll throw out a name or two as an example, and no one has a damn clue. They just look at me blankly like, “I have no idea who you’re talking about. Never heard of her.” And then? They make it clear that I’m the one they listen too. I’m the one they look to for guidance. I am their voice, their person, their expert.
You are the voice. The person. The expert.
This is important. I need you to know it and feel it and believe it. I know that won’t happen overnight, but listen, every time you feel like, “Why would anyone want to listen to me/read my words/work with me/buy my product/etc. when they could just get it from X person?!?” immediately ask the next five people you meet if they know X person. Ask the people in your real-life community. Ask the people in your favorite online community. Hell, email me if you want. But the bottom line is to get out of your head and your circle as quickly as possible, because it will do absolute wonders for your confidence in your strength and purpose.
Certainly, this is highly applicable to entrepreneurs, but it’s applicable to employees or any other kind of professional too. It’s also relevant in personal situations. You’d be surprised how many people look to those closest to them for guidance, rather than books or internet personalities. Everything you learn, all the perspective and expertise you accumulate based on your lived experiences is meaningful. And I can pretty much guarantee it’s going to be fresh and possibly revolutionary for at least one person you interact with.
Each one of us has something useful to contribute to the world, from thought leadership content on the internet to handmade hats at local markets to a shoulder to cry on in the midst of a crisis. X person matters too, but not as much as you – especially to that one person in your life who doesn’t know them but sees you every day.
Please don’t be afraid to be confident today.
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