Scared to Death, But Doing it Anyway

There’s a saying in self-development circles:

New level, new devils. 😈 😈 😈

Basically what it means is you will never get to the point where you’re so accomplished you don’t have to deal with shenanigans anymore.

There will always be shenanigans.

For me, as a creative entrepreneur, these come in the form of face-offs with my inner critic.

And even though I’ve fought these devils my whole life, I’m always surprised when they pop up.

I’ve achieved things, damn it!

I’ve spoken on stage at a virtual summit. I’ve published 124 episodes of the podcast. I’m on a first-name basis with some semi-famous people, for crying out loud!

Isn’t it high time my inner critic just bugger off?

This has been my exact train of thought for the past six weeks as I’ve prepared my book pitch to enter into a contest. I’ve been a professional copywriter for 15 years. I put into black and white what others can’t convey themselves – and get paid for it.

And yet, at least 92% of the time that I opened that Book Pitch Google doc to work on it, the voices started in:

This is actual shit, you know.

The publishing house hosting this contest doesn’t even publish fiction; this is such a waste of time.

How can you possibly call yourself a serious writer if you don’t have a professional edit of your chapters?

Why did you think this story was compelling again?

My inner critic is part Leslie Knope, part Hermione Granger, ALL stickler for the rules.

And the rules seem to be simple:

Talk. me. out of it.

Which is why I’m pretty frickin’ excited to tell you that I did it.

I submitted my book pitch into the contest this morning.

I even attended a pitch session with the publishing house’s president a few weeks ago to workshop my pitch first. As I waited with my virtual hand raised for my turn, I kept thinking to myself, Who even am I?

Because, three years ago I was not a gal who stood up and read her writing in front of total strangers. I wasn’t a person who showed up and did the work anyway, even when the voices were diligently doing everything in their power to stop me.

So what changed?

Well, I committed myself to learning everything there is to know about imposter syndrome, for one. And then, I developed a series of hacks for getting myself to do the thing even when I’m scared out of my mind. I return to these again and again throughout my life when I need to force myself to take action in spite of my fear.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say these practices have been game-changing for me in going from dreamer to doer.

So my question to you is, does imposter syndrome stand in the way of whatever it is that you long for?

When was the last time you pushed yourself to do the thing, and then celebrated that delicious feeling of agency it gives to prove to yourself that you can do anything?

If you need a little nudge, check out the companion episode.

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