Do you ever have those moments where you feel like you can do anything, all options are wide open to you – only to feel the crushing sensation of self defeat a moment later? I am in a never ending war with my dreams and my self confidence where I am my biggest fan and my worst critic.
Lately, I have been thinking hard about my future. Where do I want to be in the next ten years, the next five years, the next year, tomorrow? What are my passions? Can I be doing more today to better shape where I want to be? There are so many ideas swimming around my head that I can hardly keep them straight. I want to buy and manage apartment complexes, I want to play my songs for people in every state, I want to be financially independent by the time I’m 35, I want to start a small farm, the list goes on and on.
While the future is bright, there is that little voice in my head that tells me I can’t do it. I want to invest in real estate, I tell myself. The voice replies, You can’t afford doing that, what if you get terrible tenants, what if the market tanks on you. Do you really want to have to deal with that? I want to go on tour with my music. What makes you think that anyone wants to hear your awful singing, the voice says. I want to be financially independent. The voice scoffs, America is built by people who work 9-5 every day until they’re 65. What makes you think that you’re any different?
Looking to Experts (or at least to people who have written books)
As I mentioned previously, I have completely abandoned Operation: Read All The Books in order to fill my head with home buying strategies and motivational business texts. I finished The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss a week ago. While it was hard to focus on the automation of your business when you have no business to speak of, Ferriss offers plenty of advice for the layperson. My absolute favorite part of the book is this section called “Doing the Unrealistic is Easier Than Doing the Realistic.” The gist is that most people think that they are incapable of achieving extraordinary things so they settle on the mediocre. Since everyone is aiming for mediocre things, the competition for the extraordinary things is not as fierce as you may think. Ferriss goes on to explain that there is much more momentum around doing great things than doing mediocre things and that momentum drives you to make lifestyle changes in order to reach that greatness. “If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort.” He writes, “I’ll run through walls to get a catamaran trip through the Greek islands, but I may not change my brand of cereal for a weekend trip through Columbus, Ohio.”
I am very guilty on settling for the mediocre due to fear of the competition for Something Big. That little voice of mine gets louder and louder the larger and larger I dream. Another way that I am trying to shut it up is by reviewing my previous track record.
I’ve Done It Before, I Can Do It Again
In order to get a job, you need to submit a resume in order to convince the hiring manager that you’re perfect for the position. The same goes for me whenever I want to step out of my comfort zone and try something extraordinary. I need to prove it to myself (and that little voice) that I’m more capable than they think I am.
Last February I recorded an album of music that I was really proud of and I received some very positive feedback. It was inspiring to know that my art was being received and being received well. I wanted to take things to that next level and start performing the songs live in venues around town.
Eek! said the voice.
While it took me several months to take any action, I finally booked a show. In order to quell my internal haters, I had to amp myself up by recalling past successes. You’ve played no less than 15 shows in your lifetime. You get invited by friends to play music for their art shows, comedy benefits, etc. all the time. All you have to do is send an email. You’ve had success in getting what you want by sending one little email.
And it was true, one email is all it took and next thing I knew I was on stage at one of my very favorite cafes in LA. Easy peasy.
For every negative thing the voice says to me, I can counter with something positive. You have no idea what you’re doing. When starting out, you never know what you’re doing. You have to do in order to learn.
I Believe I Can Fly
I’m reading Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” right now. He advises that if you think it, you can do it. It’s no wonder I keep humming R.Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly to myself as I read. That notion, though, is such a powerful force.
I’m trying to quiet that voice by proving to myself that I have the proven track record to achieve whatever I put my mind to. If I can see it then I can do it. If I believe it, there’s nothing to it.