So here we are.
This isn’t my first blog post.
It isn’t even my first published blog post. About five years ago, I posted some embarrassingly basic economics in a distant corner of the internet. I really hope nobody ever finds it.
This post does feel significant, though.
Perhaps because it’s the first one I’ve posted with any real weight of intention behind it.
The plan: to post useful content, everyday, and see where this takes me.
The aims: help others, practice writing, let go of perfectionism and practice ‘shipping‘ content (in the word of Seth Godin).
Best case scenario: I attract an audience, develop as a writer/person, connect with loads of people.
Worst case scenario: nobody reads it?
Probable scenario: Something good happens, however small.
The biggest barriers to reaching this point:
- Self-consciousness. Like many people, I was/am afraid of sharing my inner-most thoughts with the world. This feeling is primarily driven by my concern for the opinions of others, particularly those who don’t like me or may be critical of me. Often the faces that spring into my mind are ex-girlfriends or people I’ve had arguments with.
- Self-doubt. What if I’m not as clever as I thought? What if I don’t have anything useful to say? This feeling is primarily driven by my excessively critical relationship with myself. It relates in some way to ‘personal standards’. It is another form of fear.
3 ways to stop limiting yourself
I) Focus on your core values. Do you want to be the kind of person who puts themselves out there, provides value, and moves the human race forward? Or the kind of person who hides away in order to avoid ridicule?
World peace, happiness, more money – whatever your goal is, moving towards that is definitely more important than worrying about the imagined opinions of others.
II) Focus on growth. Most of us are scarred by childhood rejection. We fear putting content out because a rejection of our content takes us back to that childhood feeling of vulnerability. But remember, you are no longer that vulnerable little child. The worst that can happen if you put content out there is someone will criticise it. Great. If it’s constructive criticism, you will learn from it. It will help you grow and improve. It will help you hone your craft. If its not, you can forget it and move on. Either way, you will become more resilient.
The world can be tough. Rejection is out there. So is criticism. You’ve got to get used to both sooner or later.
III) The audience are not experts,
unless you’re writing for experts, of course... Provided you are educated/experienced in a particular area, you will know more than the average person. Generally, your job is to provide value to most people. Most people are not world-leaders in the subject. Shut off the inner critic and write something. If its good, great. If its not, no problem. Either way, you will learn by doing.
Challenge yourself, start writing, put yourself out there.
You have nothing to lose but your limits.