This might sound like a funny thing to consider, but it can be very true. If you USE self doubt as a motivator for one more rep, practicing in the rain, rehearsing that speech one more time, then you are putting a positive spin on a negative habit of yours. One of my athletes on the racquetball team is a highly accomplished person in general, and has played racquetball competitively for over 30 years, and yet she still is visibly shaking before each match she plays. I do my best to get her calmed down so she can relax and play, but usually she just has to play through the nerves for a few points and then she settle in to do her thing. When I asked her about this, she laughed and said she is never sure about anything, and that is her motivation. It makes her hone in and focus on the task at hand. She uses it to her advantage.
If you can’t train that voice in your head to play nice and say nothing but good and positive things to you, then at least understand that if you use that negative self talk as a driver for more preparation, you are going to be fine in your task. You cannot let a little thing like being unsure of yourself hold you back from finishing a project, or worse yet, ever starting to undertake a large task. As the photo for this blog reads:
Doubt kills more dreams than Failure ever will.
The key to accomplishing anything new is this: start. You can’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from getting things started. You have to understand that the voice in your head that whispers in your ear that you can’t, you won’t make it, you won’t be good enough, is a liar. That voice doesn’t know the future any better than you do, so why do you listen to it? While I am a big advocate for having a well thought out plan for getting something accomplished, you can’t wait until you have every answer to every question. There will always be some unknown parts to the process, and things you are going to have to deal with once they present themselves. The key is to start. Do the things you know need to be done, and when the unknown things arrive you can deal with them as well. There is no perfect time to become a parent; if you do when you are mentally and emotionally ready, you are likely too physically old to keep up with the kid. Life is a lot like that as well.
In Blog post #85, I wrote about using Negative Visualization as a motivator, but what I am talking about today is different. Negative Visualization would refer more to something like losing a race in the last 100 yards because you didn’t train enough. That feeling sucks; when you know you haven’t put the work in, or you just lost focus and fell short, it is a hard pill to swallow. That is a great motivator to put in the work necessary to avoid that feeling ever again. In this instance, I am talking about being locked in your own head and persevering over the future which is unknown. Yes, sometimes your fear do come true, but how often do you avoid even starting something because you are fearful of the possible outcomes? This is the kind of thing you need to work through. There are times when you trepidation is warranted, but far less often than you think.
Set yourself up for success by doing the legwork ahead of time, and mapping out a solid game plan that you can follow. Certainly if you have an idea for a business, for example, you need to do a lot of prep work and research in advance of starting a company and carving out a business. You need to know the demand for what you offer, the competition, the market status and many other factors. You might do a lot of work and discover that the idea is solid but it is not bankable. That is a different story than you kicking around an idea in your head but never taking the next step. You can’t be bitter and pissed off when you had an idea that someone else brought to market.
You need to take action, or suffer the consequences.
Knowledge is power, but only action will get things done. If you doubt your abilities, your knowledge, or whatever it is that is holding you back, you need to take a real deep look inside and see if you are correct, or just afraid. Survey your closest friends and see what they think about your ability to execute on your idea. Ask where they think you weak spot(s) might be, and then evaluate the responses. If your friends do you the courtesy and the favor of being totally honest, you will learn a tremendous amount from those discussions. If you have what it takes, go for it. If you don’t, can you fill your gaps by hiring or partnering with someone who can offset your deficiencies with their own set of strengths? Can you hire a coach to acquire the knowledge you need? Should you find a mentor first before diving in on your own?
All of these questions are specific to each situation, and I am not going to prescribe a solution that will work for everyone. But I am going to tell you that if you don’t take action, the regret of that is likely going to eat at you the rest of your life. Diving in too soon is a recipe for disaster, but sitting on the sidelines and watching someone else do what you wanted to do is no picnic either. Do the work now, and forge ahead if the signs point you in that direction.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.