“I’m not sure I’m qualified.” “I don’t have experience.” “I’m too old to try that now.”
Negative self-talk smashes dreams. We look for data to corroborate our fear.
Big Starts Small
I always wanted to run the Boston marathon. The only issue, I hadn’t yet run a 10K. I was decidedly not qualified for that dream. I wasn’t a real runner. I was busy exec and mom. I could have easily talked myself out of it. I’m sure I could have found plenty of friends to affirm my self-doubt. I didn’t ask for opinions. I started running. A few laps around the neighborhood. A 10K, a half marathon, a couple of marathons, many lonely miles in the woods with a timer. On my 40-something Birthday, I ran Boston.
Sometimes, Nike is right.
Forget Qualified, Just Start
What’s your dream? If great seems too crazy to articulate start softly. John Acuff, author of START shares 3 questions fear conveys to “every person who dares to start down the road to awesome.”
- Who are you to do that?
- You’re too late
- It has to be perfect.
I asked John, What is the biggest obstacle that gets in the way of starting?
“The biggest obstacle is fear. I’ve never met anyone who told me, “I’ve never had a single dream, idea or passion.” Regardless of your age or job, everyone has had a dream at some point. What gets in the way most often is fear. We hear these voices of doubt that say, “Who are you to do that?” We feel unqualified. We fear failure but also success. In moments like that we put our dreams back on the shelf for another day or another week or even another year. One day we wake up and say those five powerful words, “How did I get here?”
- Working at it every day
In her research-based book Mindset, Carol Dweck offers example after example of the unremarkable beginnings of remarkable people. Darwin, Tolstoy, Beethoven, Edison, became great by believing they could, working hard, failing, and getting better day by day. Renowned blogger Seth Godin wrote his 5000th post this week. Want to feel optimistic about getting better with time? Read his early stuff. Seth Godin got great at writing by writing.
- Get experience
Volunteer. Give work away. Take a part-time job
- Get help
Ask for feedback. Find coaches and advisors. Learn from every one you can. I love it when I get feedback on my posts. This week a friend wrote, “Strong post with a weak start. You can do better than this.” And then asked some provocative questions. I fixed it with gratitude. When you’re open to learning, people will help.
- Avoid the “haters”
Acuff shares, “someone is going to hate what you do.” That’s not a maybe. That’s a definite. And I don’t mean dislike. I mean hate. With energy and vitriol and a passion that surprises you. Haters are inevitable. Your response is up for grabs.” Learn to manage your trolls.
- What would you add?
Start your dream. It’s not too late. Start small, build to amazing.