I’m about to get really real here.
I had a bit of a moment last week, involving this very blog.
I send these posts out to my email list, and occasionally people unsubscribe. This is Basic Email 101 – some people are going to stay and some are going to go.
But my cardinal sin is that I haven’t been actively looking for people to ADD to my list. I’ve only been emailing people I’ve already got… which means my audience is shrinking.
To grow it, I have to do something terrifying… put my work out in front of a bigger audience.
Subject myself to criticism and challenges and potentially even *GASP* internet trolls.
This might actually surprise some of you to find out that I’m scared of this next step.
I know I come across as pretty confident, like I’ve got my shit together.
But like most creative people, I can be pretty neurotic.
There, I’ve said it.
Now can you just own it with me?
Because the fact is, you’re never alone when you feel that way.
Every time you try something new, every time you do work on something meaningful, every time you expand beyond your comfort zone…
You and every expert ever, from the rawest rookie to the most seasoned expert speakers, are probably going feel a few moments of sheer and utter terror.
Those inner demons have a way of piping up and making even the most logical, rational person a quivering bundle of nerves:
What if it’s a massive flop?
What if I embarrass myself?
What if they hate me/this thing I built?
Bad news for all you Buffy fans (pretty sure I just dated myself there…): there’s no killing these demons. They can’t be vanquished and they never really go away.
The best you can do is enjoy those long runs where you’re experiencing some success… because that’s when they go to sleep.
But they always wake up when you’re just about to do something new. They feed on that uncertainty and take delight in throwing all your faults in your face.
That doesn’t make them right.
You have the power to tell them to shut up and go sit in their corner.
Because the fact is that you’re the only one on the planet who’s experienced your particular combination of experiences in your particular order.
That means your perspective is rare and valuable and worthy of being shared.
So the next time you catch yourself staring down those demons and getting caught up in “what ifs”… ease up the tension by inviting the demons to dance instead. And then remind them their place is in the corner.
You got this.