Clearing the Noise: Getting Past Your Own BS
How often have you felt that nagging doubt that tells you "no", "don't" or "you can't". The voice in your head that just wants to tell you all the reasons why you're going to fail and how bad that'll be?
Do you find yourself dwelling on past 'failures'? Focusing on what other people thought or said at the time either to you or about you?
Makes you feel worse doesn't it. Feels like crap and it really starts to erode your confidence right?
I think self-doubt has to be our own worst enemy and it can get at anyone at any time. No one is immune.
I've been through experiences both personally and professionally that have a tendency to linger. All too often when a similar situation is evolving or approaching, I'll find myself thinking back on those previous occasions. It can be easy to let those past experiences dictate my response to the present. To assume that what happened last time will either happen again or will affect me in the same way.
It's this doubt and anxiety that can then cause you to freeze, to turn away from opportunities or even to ignore sound advice or offers of help. But why? Should you be concerned about someone else's opinion or the memory of a past failure?
Have you ever looked at an investment fund performance summary? They'll always clearly state that 'past performance is not a guarantee of future performance'. I think this is great advice you should take into your own life.
If you previously didn't succeed and have an opportunity to repeat a similar exercise then what are you going to do differently? What lessons can you take from your past 'failure' to help your approach this time around?
Maybe you actually did all the right things and it was just the wrong time... is the timing better now? Even if you were to just do one thing slightly differently you're now no longer repeating history and have the opportunity to write your own 'future performance'.
If you're focussing on a past 'failure' and putting the blame for that on your own shoulders then I'd suggest you've got two key advantages this time around.
First, it couldn't have been that bad a failure as you're still alive today to have another go!
Second, you have the chance to accept that you were a part of your previous result and now have an opportunity to learn from that and, for the things within your control do something different this time around.
As for the poor opinion of others, should you care? I think this is an 'it depends' question. I think it depends on their involvement.
Are they who you serve, your customer/client? And if so, are they your ideal customer or client? Are they who you really want to build a long-term relationship with? If yes, then their opinion matters - at least to the extent that it's genuinely constructive.
If you're not getting constructive views then perhaps building a relationship with them is not what you want.
If they're outside of that circle then what's their level of influence on your end game? Are you clear on what you're wanting to achieve? If they're not a critical part of that or on the sidelines, then at the end of the day - who cares what they think?
Be mindful of the opinions of those who can materially and actively support (or hinder) you, definitely those who are 'buying' from you in whatever form that takes - these are the people who matter.
The gallery, full of nay-sayers and opinionated commentators who are neither engaged in you or have any experience in your circumstances have nothing meaningful to add other than sowing doubt and confusion.
At the end of the day, whatever you do and whenever you do it, they'll still be there and will likely hold the same views regardless.
As is the case with anything in life, when faced with self-doubt we have a choice. That choice is how we respond to those doubts. I'd not suggest that you ignore them, ultimately you're having those doubts for a reason.
Ask yourself, is your success likely to be on the other side of your doubts?
If so, then ask yourself one question - "How do I harness these doubts to help me determine the best path forward?".
Use your doubts as a tool. If you're stuck on the opinions of people outside your circle then make sure you're focussing hard on the people in your circle. Make sure you're listening actively and seek to add and create as much value for them as you can.
If it's previous actions that are holding you back - then how can you do things differently?
Focus on what you can control and accept there are things you can't. Have some plans for things outside of your control and consider what you could do to widen your sphere of control. Put your energy into what you can control and the action you need to take.
My final thought, if you're clear that success or the next step definitely lies beyond your doubts then the surefire way to get there is a little like the first time you go skydiving - close your eyes and jump!
Take an irreversible action! Create enough momentum that turning back becomes harder than moving forward. Ultimately, what have you got to lose?
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