Stop taking yourself so seriously

If I had one wish for all the businesses, freelancers, start-ups and companies standing on their lamb legs, working towards success, it would be this:

Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.

I feel as though a lot of people have listened to Eminem’s Eight Mile on repeat because it feels like everyone has one shot, and even only one approach to get it right.

This kind of “all or nothing” thinking makes for great tension in a Hollywood biopic, but it’s rarely how any of us find success.

A lot of what happens in business is a surprise. Granted, not all surprises are great. But I can’t help wondering how many wonderful surprises we deny ourselves through needing a sure-fire plan?

Like flypaper, the idea of “this is how you do it” articles trap good, creative and deep thinkers all the time. And why not?

When you have saved hard for your money, you have built your idea, you want to know that at some point, it becomes easier.

Business challenges are like tentacles

a squid washes up on the beach to show business problem tentacles
Photo by <a href=httpsunsplashcombryannukeutm content=creditCopyTextutm medium=referralutm source=unsplash>Bryan Burgos<a> on <a href=httpsunsplashcomphotosbrown octopus on seashore U4HiqAjsq3outm content=creditCopyTextutm medium=referralutm source=unsplash>Unsplash<a>

The minute you think you have it all figured out, kablam! Out shoots another arm.

Your grasp slips as you face the next slippery business problem.

A sucker cup attaches itself to your head, draining your resolve.

Wrestling with the squid-like monster of business takes a very nimble thinker indeed.

When we take ourselves too seriously, we make it harder by:  

  1. Putting so much pressure on our projects, business, website and marketing, we make failure impossible. When failure becomes impossible, so too does taking a risk. Less risk means less innovation, and more “playing it safe” ideas. Then the failure we wanted to avoid becomes the reality we experience
  2. Being indecisive. As the comfort zone shrinks, we become less inclined to make the next decision. When we don’t decide, our thinking gets ever more dulled and constrained
  3. Becoming hell on earth to work with. If taking yourself too seriously is your poison, surely unrelenting standards become the by-product. No one can fully open up to you if you approach the situation with a mindset of blame, shame, and nit-picking
  4. Procrastinating to the point of rooting ourselves to the spot in the strangling vines of fear. To try is to risk failure as you become stuck on the blocks with a failure to launch

Here are some points to consider:

  • Let the audience decide. No one expects you to be perfect. Don’t burn yourself out trying to anticipate every outcome. Keep 70% of your brain-space free to respond to customer interactions after the launch. Learn by doing and save yourself time, money, and energy to serve your customers better
  • Marketing is not all-or-nothing undertaking. You can always rewrite a website, a social media bio, a marketing plan, an investment memorandum, a newsletter, a tagline, or an email. Heck, you can pivot an entire product if you find your baseline assumptions were wrong. But you can’t un-ring the bell attached to your working relationships
  • Continue to learn as you progress. We learn through the process of collaboration. Every transaction and relationship you build with a freelancer is an opportunity for you to do better next time
  • If you’re paying someone for their expertise, give them the freedom to apply it. If you don’t understand their rationale, question it. If they don’t quite hit the target, give them a hand to get closer. Give them the chance to use their knowledge and take what you do to the next level. But that whole “I’m going make you feel bad until you do it right” or one-shot mindset is just another form of bullying at work

Want help unhooking from your unrelenting standards and connecting better with your work? Get it touch now.

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