Do you ever have one of those days when you just feel kind of uncertain? You can’t really put your finger on exactly what you’re uncertain about, it’s kind of an underlying hum of something not quite right.
I’m trying to pinpoint where it came from. I had a good week finishing an article for a client I’ve worked with before. All involved were happy with my work, it was a difficult subject that required research and I had to talk with some professionals and then write it in such a way where it appealed to “average people” and the professionals that knew much about the subject. It’s a fine line, but I nailed it. And now it’s over, done.
That must be it — it’s over.
When something’s over, you’re waiting for something else to show up. There it is — doubt.
Doubt that it will (or won’t) and if it does that I’ll have the chops to finish or see it through. Sometimes the waiting part isn’t that long, other times it is. It’s between the waiting and the getting that the doubt shows up and rears its head with a voice that says, “Now what? Who do you think you are?”
I think we all have that inner voice — sometimes I don’t think we’re even aware of it. There are times when we feel like we can do anything and others when we feel (at least I do) where we can’t. I guess my whole life I gravitated toward writing, in some capacity. Even when I had a “real job,” I would devote much of my time to writing. Business, creative, concepts, ideas. I’d constantly come up with ways in which I could improve and show off my writerly skills.
When I was kind of forced into free-lancing, I started out with a bang. I got lucky and was in the right place at the right time and had plenty of work. Then that work died down and something else took its place. That’s usually how it works — this kind of thing, you’re either slammed or you have plenty of time on your hands to question whether what you’re doing is what you’re supposed to be doing.
As a teenager, I wanted to be a writer. A novelist. I thought the best way to do that was to get a degree in English. I told an older relative that one day and he said, “Well, what are you going to do with that? Why would you want to get a degree in English?
He didn’t mean anything by it. It was off the cuff. He didn’t understand who I was or the whys of why that mattered so much to me. But the phrase stuck — did something to me and I began to doubt myself. Question if it was a good idea to get a degree in English. I began to think of ALL the great writers out there and talked myself into believing that I’d never have a chance. I still think that sometimes. I instead got a scholarship to a college with a major in Nursing and I DID NOT want to be a nurse. Everyone else thought I’d be great at it. It was the doubting myself that swayed me into almost becoming what everyone else wanted me to be.
It didn’t happen obviously. I made another choice and because of it eventually went back to school in my thirties to get a degree. Not in English or writing. In Marketing. Anyway.
I hope this post doesn’t come across as whining or complaining. If so, my apologies. It’s not meant to. I’m the only person who can tell that inner monologue to shut up. Put up or shut up. Or find a different dream and figure out how to move through life differently.
So when that voice says to me, “Who do you think you are? You’re in a place where some of the best creative people are, so how you expect to fit in?” I am me and I guess that’s a pretty good start. And during this “waiting” period, I can work on what I say I want, give it my all and tell that voice to go away.
You must do the thing you think you cannot do, said Eleanor Roosevelt. I think she had something there.
What do you do when doubts start to threaten you and sabotage what you want to achieve?
And because it’s Monday and I’m trying to motivate, here’s a little slap-happy song about casting away doubts. It’s goofy, but maybe it’ll make you smile (it did me). Or you’ll be annoyed because it’ll get stuck in your head, I promise.