We often talk about the haters and our critics, but why do we care what they say?
It’s because they are echoing the words of our harshest critic– Ourselves.
We are afraid to take risks because we are worried about being exposed as the frauds our inner voice says that we are. That someone will find out that we don’t have all the answers that we aren’t perfect, and any success we found was a fluke.
The word will get out that we don’t know what we are doing.
No matter what you accomplish in the public eye, behind the scenes, imposter syndrome is a genuine thing.
So, the nagging voice continues to tell you that you aren’t ready for that next big risk. After all, you’ve “made it,” so why risk failure now?
Your comfortable, wasn’t that what you’ve been striving to achieve for so long?
The problem is that the world believes there are three options, get better, get worse, or stay the same. In reality, there are only two, get better, or get worst.
Growth doesn’t come when all we do is what we are good at or rest on past accomplishments. It occurs when we step outside of our comfort zone. It happens when we expose ourselves to the potential for failure, and fail we shall if the task we seek to do is a major one.
No one hit’s home runs every at-bat.
But we are petrified of striking out, hitting a pop fly, or bunting. The crowd came for the home run, and we don’t want to let em down. So, instead, we choose not to step up to the plate.
That voice, powered by fear, has killed more dreams than any other obstacle on Earth.
It’s what forces us to justify quitting. It’s what forces us to settle. It’s what feeds the most insidious thing of all—negative self-talk.
I know about this all too well. For every win I got, I walked into each room petrified that folks would find me out.
No matter what award, top 40 under 40, top 50 CEO, small business of the year, etc., I was always worried folks would ask me a question I didn’t know the answer too, and I’d look foolish.
I remember making the finals for Men’s Health, and despite numerous times telling me that the contest wasn’t just about looks, I couldn’t shut the up about it.
I know they liked me. The used my quote in a toast at dinner. They put another of my quotes on the magazine cover, and to this day, I can’t help but wonder did I lose that win because I failed to display the confidence that they were looking for to run with it. Were they worried that I wouldn’t have the confidence to go on stage and represent their brand?
You see, the most prominent critic you have is often in the arena with you. You’re battling your opponent and yourself. That’s why you must learn how to change the conversation. Here are some typical examples of negative self-talk.
I am just destined to be fat. I am not a reader. I don’t know how to love.
But what if we changed the conversation?
How do we do that? We look at the facts.
Are you destined to be fat? No, you are not morbidly obese. There is no such thing as big-boned. You have simply eaten poorly and failed to move for an extended time.
Both of which you have 100% control over.
I am not a reader. You are not illiterate. You have put little to no time into practicing it.You have plenty of time to do it; you just need to prioritize it. You can become a much better reader.
You’re don’t know how to love. You can listen to your partner.You can accept that you’re responsible for your happiness, not them. You can do more than is required.You can make time for each other. You can put the phone down. You can accept their love. You can finally admit you are worthy of being loved.
I know this because, for years, I fell victim to my negative talk. No one will ever love me. I am stupid. I don’t know how to sell. I am ugly. I am fat.
And every time I walked into a room, I told myself I didn’t belong. It made life miserable, and what’s worse, it has caused me not to take risks, try new things, and ultimately it stole some sweetness from my wins.
But changing the conversation changed my life. Realizing that I may not be a rocket scientist, but I am a genius in my own right. Yes, others can do things that I cannot, but many wish they could do what I’ve done.
Now, no matter what, I step up to the plate and swing with all I’ve got. While not every at-bat connects, when I hit one out the park, I can round the bases with a smile on my face, finally knowing I belong. If you follow my advice so you can do the same. #Justherambingsofanolinfantryman