It’s Pop Quiz Time

You probably weren’t aware when you came to read this blog post that there would be a pop quiz. Sorry for the surprise. I promise it will be easy, it’s only three questions, and they’re all multiple choice. There are no wrong answers. And the truth is you won’t have to answer the questions at all because I have a feeling you’re already going to know the answers.

So let’s get started.

Question 1:  When you think of starting a business, do you feel:

  1. Nauseous
  2. Afraid you’ll lose your shirt
  3. Afraid you’ll fail and look foolish
  4. All of the above

Question 2:  When you think of getting your message out there to the world, do you think to yourself:

  1. “Who am I to tell people how to live their lives?”
  2. “What do I have to say that people haven’t heard before?”
  3. “Who do I think I am? I’m screwed up…how can I tell other people how to live?”
  4. All of the above.

Question 3:  I have a hard time telling the difference between:

  1. Fear of failure or just being cautious.
  2. Perfectionism or just doing my homework
  3. Being willing to just START or being reckless
  4. All of the above

So how did you do?

There is one fourth and final question on this pop quiz, but I’ll get to that a little later. But let’s focus on your results so far. If you are like most people, your answer was “4” to all three questions.

In fact, if you are like just about anyone who has ever tried to become a blogger, podcaster, business owner, consultant, freelancer or independent producer, you have answered “4” to those questions.

It’s not just you; everyone feels like that. I feel like that. Everyone has questioned what they have to offer the world. Everyone has looked inside their own heart and felt inadequate or ill-prepared to speak their thoughts to the world. That includes the big guys, the little people, successful and up-and-comers, millionaires and wannabe’s. We have all questioned our competency, usefulness, or qualifications. Any less makes you a complete narcissist.

So what do you do with this information? Now that you know you’re not alone in your feelings of inadequacy how to you proceed? If others have felt those feelings and thought those thoughts yet succeeded, what does that mean for you?

That’s where question four on the quiz comes in.

Question 4:  In a year from now, where will you be?

  1. Right where I am now, wishing things were different.
  2. Regretting I didn’t get started a year ago
  3. Resigned to living a life of unfulfilled dreams and potential.
  4. All of the above.
  5. None of the above.

I said earlier in this post there are no wrong answers. But I was wrong. Any answer to question four other than “5-None of the above” is just the wrong answer. It’s wrong for you. It’s wrong for your family. It’s wrong for the people in the world who are being robbed of the contribution ONLY you can make.

Today’s technology has removed the gatekeeper and leveled the playing field. It has removed the barriers that once allowed only the select, anointed few to pass. But that is no longer the case. Anyone who wants to speak can. And anyone who has something worth saying should. That includes you.

What are your gifts? What are your talents? What are your interests? What unique voice do you have to add to the conversation? There is a perspective only you have, and only you can provide. There is something you can do in a way no other can. The world needs you.

Here are three keys to remember

You don’t have to be perfect

Don’t let perfectionism get in the way of getting started. For most of us, perfectionism grows out of fear. We fear failure and perfectionism is a useful tool in delaying having to launch and take the risk. We can’t fail at what we don’t begin. Or at least that’s what we think. Here’s the real truth: if you don’t do what you were made to do, you’ve already failed.

Also, perfectionism is rooted in a feeling that we are not worthy to do the work. We feel inadequate or ill-prepared, so we dive into trying to make everything perfect. You don’t have to know everything up front. Jump out of the nest…you’ll learn to fly before you hit the ground. I promise.

It doesn’t matter if others are doing it already

Does a musician not make an album because someone else has already recorded one? Does an artist give up on painting because others have already done so? No, because each artist brings a unique vision and inspiration to their art.

I don’t care how many others are out there doing what you do. Do it anyway. You bring something to the work that nobody else can. Sure, if you launch in a crowded marketplace you’ll have to work to be heard. But say it. Say it loud. Say it continuously. Don’t stop until they hear you, because you bring something valuable to the world.

You deserve it

This is the one I struggle with the most. I look in the mirror and can come up with dozens of reasons why I shouldn’t be writing this post, or hosting a podcast, or any of the other things I do. I know me better than you know me. Trust me, I don’t deserve it.

You may look in that figurative mirror and see a nobody. You might see yourself as a poser, an imposter, a wannabe. But how does anyone else start? We all start from the bottom. Every influential person you have ever known or admired started with the same fear, self-doubt, and feelings of inadequacy you have.

I have often wondered what separates successful coaches, consultants, experts or authorities apart from others in their industry who might be just as knowledgeable. The “experts” are just those willing to stand up and say, “I know what I’m talking about, listen to me.”

So why not you? You don’t have to be arrogant about it. Speak with humility, but speak. Don’t be a blowhard, but speak. Don’t act like you know everything. But you do know something, and it’s ok for you to say so.

Where will you be in one year?

Let’s review question four:

Question 4:  In a year from now, where will you be?

  1. Right where I am now, wishing things were different.
  2. Regretting I didn’t get started a year ago
  3. Resigned to living a life of unfulfilled dreams and potential.
  4. All of the above.
  5. None of the above.

Please make “5” your answer. Anything else is less than your best. Don’t let fear keep you stuck where you are. Don’t let the fact that it’s not perfect keep you from doing it. Don’t let your past failures prevent your future success.

You deserve better. Your family deserves better. And the world deserves to hear what you have to say.

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