My first book, What Clients Really Want (And The S**t That Drives Them Crazy), has launched today. It’s been a LONG hard slog to get there but finally it is out and it’s both terrifying and exciting all at the same time.
(Although the excitement at this point is probably more to do with getting few days rest now rather than anything else!)
And it’s terrifying because putting something out into the world that you created, like a book, an album, a painting, anything that you created yourself, feels like exposing a little part of your soul to the world. But not only exposing it. Exposing it and then leaving it there for people to scrutinise and criticise as they see fit.
So it’s terrifying. But actually what I think is harder than sitting here now wondering how the launch is going to go is starting in the first place. Finding enough belief in yourself to think it is worthwhile committing your time to doing and creating something which you will be judged for in the end.
The amount of people who, on learning I’ve been writing a book have asked me:
“What made you think you could do it?”
Is absurd. And kind of sad. But I get it. I really do, as my honest answer is:
That’s the truth of the matter. For a long time I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t believe in myself. I had the idea for the book months before I started writing it. But every time I’d think of it, I’d tell myself something along the lines of:
“You’re never going to be able to write a book. Stop being so stupid.”
Yep, I had a pretty healthy dose of self-deprecation going on. And I listened to it for a REALLY long time.
But the thoughts wouldn’t go away. The idea and content for the book kept coming back to me and going round-and-round in my head. Until one day I thought:
“Why don’t you just write these thoughts down when they come to you and see what it turns into.”
I still didn’t think I could do it. I still didn’t believe I could write a book. But here’s what I discovered :
“Sometimes you don’t have to believe in yourself to achieve your goals. You just need to start”
I didn’t make a commitment that I was going to write a book just that I would start writing the ideas about it down and see what it came to.
When a goal seems too big it can make it seem impossible to ever start, especially if that goal involves putting yourself out there in someway and exposing yourself to potential criticism. If you have any form of self-doubt, which unless you’re a narcissist I assume you do, the thought that you can’t do it is likely to hold you back from even starting.
The way to silence that voice is to stop looking at the big scary thing and just look at the first step. Start that first step and see how you do. If you enjoy it, move onto the next step. Often the steps to achieving something aren’t that bad on their own.
Writing down what I was thinking each time I thought about the book wasn’t scary and it was easy to start doing. So I did. And then once I’d done that I started organising those thoughts and structuring the content of the book and then re-writing etc. etc. etc. I don’t think I ever made the conscious decision that I was going to write a book because I still thought I couldn’t do it but before I knew it I was writing a book.
“Breaking things down into small steps helps get over our self-doubt as you’re then no longer focused on what all those little steps together make, just the task at hand.”
You don’t always need to believe in yourself to achieve something as long as you believe you can achieve the smaller thing you’ve set out to do right now.
Nothing made me think I could write a book. I didn’t believe I could. But I have.
And however it’s received I’m happy that I did it rather than continuing to tell myself I couldn’t do it and letting the self-doubt stop me.
Whatever happens at least I get to tell myself I tried.
So contrary to what people might expect I’d say, I’m not going to tell you stop believing you can’t do it on this occasion. Sometimes that doesn’t matter. Instead my advice, if you don’t believe in yourself yet, is:
“Just start. And start now. You never know what might happen.”
In case you’d like to have a look at the book that inspired this post click on the image or link below: