I’ve been making myself crazy this week.
I’ve been working on launching some new business things. Content, site, etc.. and it’s driving me up a f…..g wall. Why?
Perfectionism, overthinking and that GD voice in my head. You know the one, the judgmental one. Tell me if you relate.
I’ve worked, reworked and scrapped more things that I can even count. I’ve devoted so much attention to minutia that I swear to God I felt like a teen hopped up on Adderall.
At one point I’d focused on a single paragraph so much that I looked up and a hour had passed. WTF?
There is “wordsmithing” and then there is obsession.
When I would finally get something finished and looking good, I became paralyzed with fear about putting it out there.
"Should I hit enter or send? Oh hell no, I should definitely think about this more."
Pressfield calls it “resistance" and it takes many forms.
My form of resistance shows up as judging myself 10x harder than anything than anyone has ever or would ever say.
- You suck
- Your work sucks
- Nobody will think that’s useful.
- That’s been done before.
- You look and sound like a dork
- How do you define “imposter syndrome"?
- WTF is wrong with your hair.
- Since when did it become ok to go in public in work out clothes 24/7 you fat F***.
So I overthink, overanalyze, compare, wonder what people think and ultimately FREEZE.
…. and I’m actually accomplished. Jesus, I’ve written best-sellers and been successful and I’m freaking out like this.
This morning I woke up and began to feel the wave of "overwhelm" rush over me.
I thought, "Why do I think everything has to come out fully formed and polished like a diamond and that anything less is a failure?”
It doesn't do anyone any good if my work and ideas remain in my head or my dropbox. It doesn’t make me any money. It doesn’t help anyone. It is as if it never existed.
When this happens I think of the word “potential.” “Oh, you have so much potential." You could 'potentially' help people.“
The truth is... potential is bullshit.
Potential means, “you haven’t done it yet."
I know I’m not alone. Why do we think like this?
Because it’s easier to play it safe and prevent yourself from being judged or fail when you keep it all in a box. (In my case a Dropbox)
It is convenient to lie to yourself and believe that you are protecting yourself, your family, your delicate inner child, your ego and your work, etc. in the name of "making it perfect." or "doing great work."
But you’re not protecting yourself.
In fact, it is WORSE, because not only do you fail to move forward or progress, but you ARE getting judged by the harshest critic of all... yourself.
The criticism and judgement you fear and are trying to so hard to avoid is actually in between your own fucking ears.
You do anything to avoid failure, but the REAL “failure" is in not even giving it a chance to live or be seen and experienced.
Yet, rather than DO something and hang it out there, you continue to stay in your apartment or coffee shop "perfecting your work. Meanwhile, someone less talented than you is taking the shot. YOUR SHOT!
So you keep it hidden, bitch, moan and whine about "why not me... ", “they must be doing something special", or"how is that "no talent ass clown" making all that money?”
I'll tell you how.
Because they give zero fucks and actually have the balls or ovaries to authentically put themselves and their work out there.
And they are rewarded for it.
The people who I like, respect and learn the most from aren’t always polished or perfect, or at least they didn't start out that way.
Their blogs don’t read like a small novel or an 8 page dissertation. Their websites, podcasts or videos are simple but most importantly they are BRUTALLY themselves, hanging it out there with little filter.
As a result, people love them and their work. Not all people, but "their" people.
And I’m not talking about the “super stars” or the “Gary Vaynerchucks” of the world. This can apply to anyone in ANY field or profession from business, art, etc.
There is one guy I really like and think his message and content are awesome, but this dude is “rough” around the edges. He is super in your face and honest about his checkered background and was even STONED in a recent video.
He specializes in a business topic, consults with companies and makes a legit seven figures. I know this for a fact. Do I care about the fact that he is blazed in a video. No, not really. It's not bag. (or dime bag... kidding) I'm sure he offends or bothers some people, but I watch and read the guy and think his message is valuable. as do millions of others.
Disclaimer, don’t worry, I’m not going full Snoop in my messages and content."
... and yet, here I am, overthinking and worried about putting myself and work out there. WTF.
Everyone has their people. And you can’t find your people if you hide your light, your message and yourself.
My "people" are out there somewhere and they're waiting for me. So are yours.
Let's go find them.
I leave you with two thoughts to hang onto whenever you begin to "overthink."
Pretty is the enemy of effective.
"Done is better than perfect and undone."
Get the f*** over yourself and get it done.
That’s a personal message for myself btw, but you’re happy to jump on this bandwagon.
If you agree, relate, empathize or think you might be “my people"… let me know. Leave a comment.
But what would be better than that… subscribe. Show me what you think. And I’ll continue to let myself, my content and my work out of the box.. The dropbox 😉
Now go make it happen!
I’m hitting “enter” now!
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* Steven Pressfield is the author of War of Art - MUST READ.