I have the best job in the world.
All day long, I get to crack myself up, talk to fascinating online business owners, and pump my creative muscles by tapping into my innate talent for using words to splash personality all over the damn place.
I now understand what it means to have a calling. I’ve found mine, and I feel so happy to finally embrace what I’m actually good at. (Rather than try to become a lawyer or something “useful” which I would have been AWFUL at).
And the cherry on top? (As if you didn’t already want to punch me in the face). I absolutely ADORE my clients. I couldn’t have picked better clients if I’d had a magic genie with a crude sense of humor who sounded oddly like Robin Williams.
“Finally I’ll wake up thrilled to get to work in the morning!”
That’s what I told myself when I landed my first client.
And I am thrilled to wake up in the morning.
But there’s also a pervasive emotion that I’ve come to realize EVERY artist, creator, entrepreneur, and dreamer feels when they start doing work that utilizes their god-given gifts:
Boom. I said it. And I’m not ashamed.
I feel anxious before I begin my work because I’m terrified of hearing, “No, your writing is just not that good.”
I’m terrified that people will judge me.
I’m terrified that they’ll forget I’m human and leave mean-spirited comments on my blog posts.
I’m paralyzed by the unsolicited advice that I get every time I make myself vulnerable and try something new.
I’m scared that I’ll launch my pride and joy and….CRICKETS. CHIRPING. THAT’S IT.
So instead of putting myself out there, I wait. I wait until my ideas are full grown and absolutely PURRFECT. I wait until I’m so good that everyone will love me. They won’t be able to help themselves. I wait until it’s not 99% good enough but 100% without error.
Despite the glowing reviews, it’s that ONE annoying comment that gets me down for days.
Right? You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
As you sit there nodding your head, I hope that you realize you’re not alone! JOY.
I’d already written this post when I turned on ABC’s “The Chew”. The cast was discussing social media and anonymity in the interwebs. Daphne Oz said something along the lines of, “I think people forget that public figures are human beings with feelings.”
With the internet, we all tend to forget how much of an impact our words have on others. The internet makes a great space for entrepreneurship and business freedom, but on the flip side, it makes each of us more vulnerable.
The best in the world get bogged down by nerves, fear, and perfectionism, too.
Barbara Streisand famously has stage fright.
Adele once said, “I’m scared of audiences. One show in Amsterdam I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit. I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels I projectile vomited on someone. I just gotta bear it. But I don’t like touring. I have anxiety attacks a lot.”
And I’m sure you’ve heard the data that says that more people are afraid of public speaking than death.
Every project has to finish cooking at some point. And it’s never going to be perfect.
If you’re lucky, a couple of super smart people will tell you how IMPERFECT it is. (Can you sense my sarcasm?).
But for real.
Someone will tell you X, Y, and Z thing that you could have done better.
They’ll tell you all the parts of your blog post that they find offensive.
You’ll turn in your dissertation for feedback and receive a pile of red-marked paper.
You’ll hear the word, “no”.
So let’s break it down. If you’ve got work to do, you have three choices:
(A) You can stay silent. Don’t do the work. Wait. Don’t even try.
(B) You can do it half-assed. Don’t put too much work into it so that you won’t feel bad when people don’t like it. You can always say, “I didn’t even care about that” when you get negative feedback.
(C) You can go all out. Balls to the walls. Authentic. Say what you have to say. Fuck conformity.
BUT WHEN YOU PICK OPTION C AND STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN, YOU WILL ALWAYS GET BOTH NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE FEEDBACK.
Look at it this way: because the concept of “good” and “bad” are relative, you literally cannot have one without the other.
And it’s because of this rule that getting your first “hater” is A SIGN OF SUCCESS. Because if someone finds your work that upsetting, it only means that there is an equal and opposite group of people who find your work that amazing.
AND THOSE, MY DEAR, ARE YOUR PEOPLE.
So please. Stop trying to please everyone. Figure out who the hell you are and what you have to say. Don’t compare it to Oprah or Adele or Steve Jobs. Don’t compare it to your parents or your coworkers.
The right people are out there waiting to hear what you have to say. So say it.
That goes for you and every other human being on this planet.
Do you feel revved up and ready to roar?
Oooh, very nice. You're so right. I love the part about a hater meaning you have people who love you too 😉
Haha, me too, Nat. I had to remind myself of that just this morning! One hater = roughly 50 lovers 🙂
I do feel revved up and ready to go. + super excited for the TKO copywriting course. No crickets girl, You've got a group lined up and chomping at some more than dry kale chips waiting to begin. I can't wait! Thanks for the pep talk!
"You can go all out. Balls to the walls. Authentic. Say what you have to say. Fuck conformity." I LOVE this!!! Thank you so much for being you Courtney. I definitely try to please everyone when I write and I end up being totally dissatisfied. I have copy to write for a new program and a presentation to prepare for and I'm going to say what I have to, no apologies, no doubting myself or my message. Thank you 🙂