Pretend you’re on the phone with your life coach.
I know, I know. But imagine for my sake that you hired one. Then, imagine that your life coach tells you that there’s only ONE question that counts. And the question is this: “What is standing between you and [major accomplishment] in 2011?”
Ditch your highbrow skepticism for a minute and think about it. How would you answer her? And what would you put inside those brackets?
I thought about it. Actually, I’ve thought about it all year. And my life-coaching consultation would go like this:
Life Coach: “What is standing between you and doubling or tripling your business income in 2011?”
Me: “Crippling doubt.”
I know it’s a little early for New Year’s Resolutions, but can we talk about this, please?
For me, the end of the calendar year always signals a period of reflection. Or obsessive analysis, depending on your choice of words. And the end of 2010 is big: it coincides with the one-year mark for Well Versed Creative, as well as my first full year back in the U.S. after three in Mexico.
This was a year of major transitions, obviously, but I’m still here, goddamnit, and I’m doing it. And that says a lot. With only a part-time effort, I’ve managed to create a viable small business that puts food on the table. Not a lot. Scraps, for the most part. But, hey look, food! And I’m ramping up; I intend to double our revenue in 2011. Tripling it would just be gravy.
Intellectually, I’m certain I’ll reach my goals. But emotionally, I’m two beats from throwing myself face-down on the floor and screaming WHY GOD WHY.
But seriously. Why?
I love my work, I love my clients, and I love what I do. I love working through problems with my clients. I love helping them get to the next step. In fact, now that I think about it, I spend a lot of time convincing them to take the plunge, to pursue their goals. So what the hell is my problem?
- We pair “crippling” with doubt for a reason. Don’t let it cripple you. I’m going to counter my own advice. Sometimes crippling doubt is just fear. Nothing more, nothing less. And it’s holding you back. Discipline— getting up, going to work, and executing– is the only cure.
- Perspective is big. Change it. A cognitive exercise (as simple as repeating, “you can do this” to yourself) can rock your world. In July, I told you about why being authentic is important. And how in stepping back, I’ve been able to change my own life. It’s like the tired adage about smiling when you’re unhappy. Infuriating advice when you’re in the dumps, but guess what? It works.
- Stop waiting. It’s killing you. The most pernicious side effect of doubt is waiting and wallowing instead of acting and learning. Jen Gresham just wrote, “Recently, I started forcing myself to leap before I felt fully ready (a moment that may never arrive).” Acting will get you somewhere. Inaction will bury you.
- Learning is forever. Lorraine Thompson just wrote, “Commit to learning. Forever.” This post is about new media marketing. But it’s also mostly about doubt. She quotes HBR writer Peter Bregman: “People with a growth mindset feel smart when they’re learning, not when they’re flawless.”
Doubt is about uncertainty. It’s about hesitating to believe. It’s no more “real” than blind faith, but it sure feels real, doesn’t it?
Listen. Your imaginary life coach is betting that he or she can solve your issues without a shred of financial data, without a single fact or figure. She’s not a CPA or a tax preparer. She can’t rewrite your business plan.
But she’s charging you good money anyway, because her method works every time: identify goal. Destroy doubt. Execute plan. Repeat.
And there you have it. The only resolution you need in the coming year, or the coming week, or, hell, the coming hour. But I don’t have to convince you– you do.