I didn't for a second doubt that I've made the right choice to wave goodbye to full-time employment. Not for a moment.
But I did have moments where I sat and questioned myself, and that's when the lovely feeling of Self Doubt popped in to say hello.
Now, Self Doubt doesn't care when she makes an appearance. I've noticed she seems to strut into my thoughts at any point in the day, and particularly likes to pipe up at night just as I am winding down and getting into bed
When I was first starting my business Self Doubt liked to mostly ask the following questions of me:
- What if I don't have the knowledge and skills to make my business and books a success?
- What if I focus on the wrong part first and it all flops?
- What if it starts to go well and then all goes wrong?
- What if I put my heart and soul into this and it doesn't all turn out how I'd hoped?
- What if I really struggle to motivate myself on some days and am not productive at all?
What if, what if, what if!!!
She can be an insistent pain in the backside who at times just doesn't know when to shut up.
I decided on a game plan - I introduced her to some other characteristics of mine that do quite well at holding their ground. In moments when was making me feel like putting off writing a blog post/chapter of my book/researching for my business plan I brought the following guys to the party:
So how did these above party goers help me exactly?
These group of characters just uplift you simply by spending time in their presence. No matter what time of the day it is they have great energy.
- Creativity: She brings pure excitement and flair! When Creativity is in full flow everyone else just waits to see what she'll do next and what random thoughts and ideas become exciting avenues to explore. When she's doing her thing Self Doubt will have no choice but to sit in the corner and pick chewing gum off the underside of the table to keep herself entertained.
However, on occasions when everyone's got a little too drunk and merry off of Creativity's free pouring of ideas and dance moves, Self Doubt can start to get a bit loud. Right at the beginning of my journey she took this opportunity to strut up to the DJ and unplug the turnstiles from the wall and shout to a silent room 'Okay great, good idea! What now though? You don't even know where to begin with all of this!'
Having heard enough of her whining (as this wasn't the first time) it's at this point that Resilience decided to take matters into her own hands. She marched across the dancefloor and punched Self Doubt right on the nose. She wasn't knocked unconscious, but is at least quietened down and decides to go and sit back in the corner again with the chewed up chewing gum.
- Resilience: Is not one to mess with, ever! Of course she has her weak moments, but generally she's solid. If ever there's a problem, a hold up, or something that needs to get done, then Resilience is always the top of the list in your phone book to call to handle the situation. If she gets knocked down, she'll get straight back up again.
Following up close behind (and restraining Resilience from throwing a second punch) is Curiosity. She came over to see what all the noise and commotion was about because....well...she's curious!
- Curiosity: Is absolutely fabulous, and when something really sparks her interest she wants to know more! She's at her most engaged when abroad taking in new cultures, and has a keen interest in food (ice-cream is her weak point and if it is red velvet flavour then it is game over). Curiosity has become a much louder member of the group in recent years. It's no coincidence that she's been speaking up more since I started making a mental shift about how I wanted my life to change and the ways I was going to make that happen.
Whilst Curiosity had Resilience in a restraining arm-lock to prevent her swinging any more left hooks, she looked around for her best pal Knowledge to come and provide some much needed assistance. However, to no-ones surprise she was sat at one of the corner tables reading a book.
Curiosity has become incredibly close to Knowledge over the last few years too. They seem to bounce well off of each other.
- Knowledge: Freely admits that she likes to be right, but also loves learning new perspectives and opinions. In the past, when a topic came up for discussion on a subject matter she wasn't well versed in, most times she'd just write herself off saying she doesn't have experience in that matter and readily defer to someone who does. But recently Knowledge has turned over a new leaf (thanks to Curiosity), and wants to keep learning about everything and anything she can. Due to this, she's become the one you can't rely on to have your back in a fight. She prefers to be in bed by 10pm with a good book rather than swigging a Vodka and Coke and dancing to The Black Eyed Peas.
Resilience had been subdued and goes back across to the other side of the room to continue the conversation she was having with her sister-from-another-mister Perseverance.
These two have been inseparable for years and always push each other to achieve more, particularly when it comes to anything sporty and competitive. Speaking of such, Perseverance had gone out into the alleyway to try and beat the bartender at kicking a football into the dumpster thirty yards up the street.
Resilience knows Perseverance wouldn't be back for at least another fifteen minutes, as she needed to master the technique and do it three times in a row to prove that it wasn't a fluke before she came back indoors. When she finally returned Resilience told her about what just happened on the dance floor and they both glared at Self Doubt on the other side of the room.
- Perseverance: Is the backbone of the group. When she finds something that she's good at, or something that she's not good at but wants to be, she won't quit until it's been mastered. She's lives by the mantra of 'if first you don't succeed then try and try again'. She's also been taking her cue from seeing how children interact with the world as they see and learn new things each and everyday. She concludes that if they eventually succeed after endless failed attempts at learning to walk and of toilet training to not shit themselves, then she can learn how to code and build a website.
Once again Self Doubt is the odd one out at the party, with no friends and no-one to talk to who will listen to her. As I'm writing this I actually feel sorry for her! She's only talking from past experience of when I started something and didn't finish it. Or when I tried something and it didn't work, which ultimately left me sad, upset and questioning my abilities and worth.
When I break it down the reality of it is that Self Doubt has my back, she's looking out for me. She wants me to be safe and secure and happy and knew all of those decisions I made to go it alone (and continue to make) don't guarantee that.
So decided I'm not going to shut her out. I won't allow her to get silenced at the party by the others who aren't wanting to hear her and who simply want to shout over her. Or in the case of Resilience, who just wanted to knock her out.
I needed to embrace her.
It's important I made an inclusive space in which she could voice certain fears. Sometimes she does have valid points and problems that she raises, and I need to take the time to look at these in order to find the right solutions. Regarding the 'bigger picture' worries mentioned at the start of this post, if she's listened to about those it'll mean in turn she'll be more likely to listen to everyone else in the room and their reasons too. At which point they'll explain that those doubts that she spoke of, although are good to be aware of, do nothing more than cause analysis paralysis. Ultimately, these thoughts aren't compatible with moving forward and building the future I saw for myself.
In time she'll see.
She'll see that I can do this, that I am doing this.
She'll see that I will succeed on this path as the years continue to roll.
Then she can retire young and laze on a beach with a Pina Colada.
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