Entrepreneurs and people in any kind of kind of creative field (like me!) often hear the statement, "Believe in yourself, if you don't then no one will." I know I have heard it a million times already.
This statement is largely true except for one fact: disappointment, failure, discouragement all are a part of life. If anything, they are more important than success. Doubt creeps up on me like my shadow would; it is always there, sometimes big, sometimes small. And sometimes people around me add fuel to the fire. All this leads to fear. To me, fear is second nature, and I fear everything. I have achieved all the goals I set for myself last year and that should have made me pretty happy, right? But no, once I hit the finish line, I became more critical, judgemental and doubtful.
I realized that the truth with most people is that they fear the consequences of winning more than losing.
And then I got called a fluke and lucky, while all the while I thought I was working hard toward my goal. See how doubt creeps in... it was as if my achievements did not matter at all, even to me. And eventually I realized that the truth with most people is that they fear the consequences of winning more than losing. Winners are looked at differently, and expectations out of them are different. I did not want to win.
Slowly I started telling myself that I could not do it. The end result was a loss of confidence and tasks left unattempted - things that failed before even starting. It made matters worse, because truth be told, even if you fail, just the effort of trying to make your dreams come true makes you more confident and more poised toward succeeding the next time you try. But sadly, self-sabotage is the destroyer of many dreams.
But all this truth is difficult to remember when you are down and out. We all have our moments of despair and that is what will lead us to our 15 minutes of fame. Because nothing in life is ever permanent! So how did I get up and move on toward that good that is waiting for me. How did I believe again when it seemed like nothing or no one wanted me to?
Having a clear picture of my ideal life
Having a clear picture is half your battle won. It won't let you go off track and will never let others drag you down. I must confess though, this is the hardest step. It is so easy to get distracted, to believe what others say and to just not make up your mind and end up confused.
The more I judge myself, the more others will too. Yes, really!
The more confused you are the easier it is for you to lose perspective. I have been there; sometimes I still feel I am back there. But then I take a break and I write down what I want my ideal life to be.
Taking the time to understand my feelings
I take time to understand what I feel and why. Is it fear, anxiousness, intuition or just a block? Is it because of who is saying the negative stuff, or is it because I don't really want to do it? Knowing the difference between good intuition and bad intuition helps a lot. Following something that your gut tells you to follow will always lead to good results and vice versa. Know the difference between the feelings that tell you to stop or go.
Stopping the negative self-talk
The more I judge myself, the more others will too. Yes, really! I learnt to be confident and happy by stopping (for the most part) the one thing I do most often - self-criticism and self-judgement. I believe that when I am at my worst moments of self doubt, there are only two people who can help. One is me -- I can obviously help myself and do better when it comes to being self-deprecating -- and the other anyone who understands me. Another important lesson I learnt is to stop trying to explain myself. Just stop, it never ever works.
Banding together with my tribe
Yes everyone won't understand your ideas, your dreams and your struggles, but there will be a small group of champions. Call them whatever you like -- your posse or just friends you can't live without. They are the ones who will be there to lift you up when you are down. I have a very, very small group of people who get me and I share with. They are my rock solid strength when I am weak and my correctors when I falter and the ones that raise me up when I fall. We share and nourish each other's passions and dreams. We are there for each other. Find your tribe -- that is the best way to survive the negativity.
You never regret your failures; you always regret the unsaid and the undone.
So the parameters on which I judge whether a thing is worth doing and believing in are:
1) Whether I can picture it in my perfect world and what my intuition says about it.
2) Whether I need to justify or explain myself and my choice (and to whom).
3) Whether I will regret not doing it.
Because life is too short to regret the things you haven't done. You never regret your failures; you always regret the unsaid and the undone. I have spent 30 odd years regretting the choices I didn't make. Much like a lot of people who choose plan B, and somewhere deep inside them lives a little bit of regret. I grew up on my regrets and I don't want my son to regret the choices I didn't make. I want him to know a life that is full of purpose, passion and dreams. He is my purpose, writing is my passion and my dreams aren't a clear picture yet, but I am getting there.
Also see on HuffPost: