Whether you are already an entrepreneur or you're thinking of taking the plunge, any time you want to achieve something meaningful in life, you will encounter resistance at some point. From yourself and others.
In the following, I'll give you simple strategies to help you fight for your right to create and therefore achieve goals that excite you but need some courage.
1. Your right to create starts with yourself
To overcome resistance and fight for your rights to create, you'll have to check yourself first. Meaning, being aware of when you start doubting yourself before others do. Because people doubting you are reinforced by your insecurities.
If you're honest with yourself, you might have discouraged people from achieving goals in the past just because you projected your fears on them.
It might have been intentional (I hope it wasn't) or intentional but the fact is, that it surely didn't help anybody. It didn't help you feel better even if you thought it would. And it certainly didn't help the other to feel better. Instead of elevating the both of you, it tore everybody down. And if you want to earn the right to create, that's the kind of vibes you want to avoid. Indeed, negative feelings like fear and jealousy are a Creativity-Killer. And also not helping to live a fulfilling life.
It's normal to have negative thoughts but know that not everything that crosses your mind is the truth, wise, or worth been taken seriously; not to mention verbalized. Sorry to break the news, but something that you think is just nonsense.
That means that you should check yourself twice before you express any form of objections, whether to yourself or others.
Of course, you can assess a situation, think about the odds and a better way to do things, but in the end, you don't have a clue if something is going to work or not. You might hope it will, you might fear it won't, but you don't know for sure.
Instead, of interfering with everybody else's business, you should mind your won first, and at the same time, encourage people to achieve their goals as often as you can.
2. Stop beating yourself up, if you’re not succeeding right away.
If you do something for the first time, don't expect rainbows and unicorns 24/7. Now, please don't understand me wrong either. Expecting hardship isn't going to help you. If fact, you might pay attention to this because it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of making prognostics, be prepared for eventual setbacks.
That means you'll need to find the right strategy to succeed in the long run.
Lots of people give up because they’re not seeing immediate results. They often think they've tried everything and give up as soon as they encounter adversity.
The fact is, that you need to be extremely persistent.
I didn't say being delusional (whatever that might look like) or persisting in something that feels wrong all the time. What I meant was that a big goal won't happen within two weeks. And if it happens within two weeks, it means that things were done before that led to that point.
So, stop beating yourself up if it's not happening right away. Nothing is wrong with you. You might whether need more patience or change your strategy.
2. Stop sabotaging yourself
It doesn’t matter if you want to make a dresser, become an excellent cook, a brilliant actor, or write a bestseller, you’re probably going to question yourself at some point. And that's perfectly normal.
But the fact is, you'll have to learn to take control over your inner critic.
To learn more about this, read my article on how to stop doubting and start trusting in your capacity to achieve things in the long run.
But, in a nutshell, it's about listening to your inner critic instead of repressing it. Because that negative inner chatter had a crucial function at some point in your life. It protected you from the pain of rejection and the withdrawal of love.
In other words, your inner critic was your best friend once.
However, as you evolved, your friend turned out to be a nightmare because he didn’t evolve with you. Now, instead of keeping you safe, he's suffocating you.
That's why it's important to not fight that inner voice but to understand it first.
Once you’ll start to accept your inner critic, you'll notice that things will flow easier to you and that this inner voice will become quieter.
As a result, there will be more room for creativity.
3. Identify your lack of motivation
Now, in some cases, your lack of motivation can be related to another problem: the fact that you're avoiding a situation you associate with pain. Whatever the reason might be.
To be more concrete: you might dream of writing your first novel before you kick the bucket. You can see yourself imagine a great story you can't wait to write down, all the excitement of creation, and in the end, holding a completed manuscript, or even a published book in your hands.
But you also might imagine the setbacks, and long hours at the desk, the blank page and all the work that is tied to the act of writing a novel from beginning to end. Or being rejected by people who read your manuscript.
Whatever negative emotions you associate with it, it can be a good indicator for recognizing the true nature of your motivation.
Let's say, if you love the idea of yourself at a book signing or on a podium, but can't stand the idea of being alone in front of a blank page, then you might review your motivation.
Also, maybe your motivation isn't deep enough. You "kind of" like an idea, but not to the extent that you could commit to it for the next two to three years, to make it work.
4. Work towards your fear
That's why bestseller author, Tim Ferriss, recommends writing your worst-case scenario down. If I'm correct he didn't invent that concept but borrowed it from the Stoics.
The trick is to be as specific as possible about what you fear might happen so that you can find perfectly tailored solutions to your "future problems".
In other words, have a plan B.
And here is how it works:
For every “disaster” that comes to mind, write a strategy down, on how to reverse your “mistakes”.
You’ll see that lots of "hopeless" situations are reversible.
5. Use tricks
Tim Ferriss also prescribes combining the achievement of your goals with an incentive.
For example, betting money on your goal. The possibility of losing or gaining money can work wonders.
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You could also declare publicly (on social media or wherever you like) that you're going to finish by day XX. Having a deadline for yourself is going to help you focus on the most important things right away and sort out everything irrelevant to your goal at the moment. instead of distracting yourself with irrelevant information.
Besides, creating an external commitment can be helpful if you tend to break promises you make to yourself.
6. Persist and develop a strategy
If you try one thing and it’s not working, change your strategy. If the second thing doesn't work either, change your strategy. If you try a third thing and it still isn’t working, change it again.
Change your strategy until it works, instead of giving up every time it's getting difficult.
There are many ways to achieve the same thing, but if you give up, after the first difficulties, you’re not going to achieve anything at all.
A way to develop a better strategy is to read a lot, go to seminars, watch webinars, talk about your projects with people who know what you’re talking about and/or find a role model.
But, after having absorbed all the information, you must put it into practice.
Otherwise, you can't expect results.
However, the right strategy for you could be the exact opposite. Meaning stop to listen to experts and reading thousands of books, but just rely on your intuition and common sense for a while. I have an article on that topic that might help you.
7. Stop looking for permission
This one is super important.
If you're waiting for other people to validate your dream, good luck! Because it's never going to happen.
To become a successful entrepreneur, writer, or creator, you should have understood it by now, you need to take your life in your own hands.
That also means that you can't rely on approval and acceptation from others. It might happen along the way, that you encounter someone who is as driven as you are, and cheerleads you, but the reality is, most people won't give you approval. They'll whether disapprove what you do openly or say nothing at all until your success is so visible that it can't be denied. But that will be at a moment where you won't need those approvals anymore. So, why not permit yourself to succeed first?
Here is what fictional character Frank Costello (based on a real person) has to say about waiting for permission. This quote is part of a monologue during the opening of "The Departed". And just in case: I don't endorse any of the opinions or values of the character. I just find this quote unbelievably true and powerful:
"(...) no one gives it to you. You have to take it."
- Frank Costello in The Departed
8. Do the work, even if you don’t feel like it
Unfortunately, there is no secret recipe for this, no fairy, who is going to do the work for you, and no magic potion that is going to solve your problems in an instant. I’m sorry to bring you this sad news, but if you want to achieve anything at all in life, someday, you’ll have to get up off the couch and discipline yourself to achieve your goal.
But don't panic if you're sure about what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it, it's going to be easier. However you'll need some kind of discipline to stay consistent in the long run. And...
Discipline needs to be trained like a muscle.
The less you do, the less you’re going to feel like doing something. So start with something, anything to get you out of the funk (if you're in one right now) and get yourself rolling.
9. Write everything down
Keep a record of your progress and of your setbacks.
Make to-do lists you actually use. Read them later and notice the tasks you're consistently postponing. It might be a sign that you should take if of your list, because it's not important, or that there's something behind that scares you to death.
9.“Thanks for sharing”
Finally, you have to free yourself from people who tear you down.
You don't have to hear from your uncle for the gazillion times how many people won't make it the first year of their businesses, or from your unsuccessful wannabe author friend that only writes during solar eclipses, that it's hopeless to make it as an author.
You also don't have to stay polite to rude strangers or friends of friends that you didn't know two hours ago but pretend to know you, your talents, and your chances of succeeding as if they'd given birth to you. (Spoiler: Even your mother doesn't know for sure)
Just throw them out of your life as soon as possible. If they are family members, see them as less as possible until you're so strong that it has no more effect on you.
Worry about being compassionate towards difficult and unhappy people later. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. There will be a time and place for doing this, but not, when you're still vulnerable.
I'll give you one more tool that will help you in case you're stuck in a situation where someone tries to exercice his/her power on you:
- Know that, you don't have to embrace their point of view. If you do, it might be a sign that their attack resonates with your insecurity. Meaning they speak out what you already think about yourself. You can meditate on that and try to work on it.
- Know that people, when they act like this, are expressing something within themselves that has absolutely NOTHING to do with you.
The fact that you want to achieve something out of the ordinary freaks them out. Otherwise, they wouldn't bother making a fuss about it.
Their intention might be hidden under logical arguments, what seems reasonable to them, or even passive-aggressive humor, but it's about their insecurities FOR SURE.
What you want triggers something within them. Sometimes because they'd like to do the same but aren't brave enough, to be honest with themselves. Instead, they prefer to tear you down to feel safe because otherwise, they'd have to take risks and rolling up their sleeves to make it happen.
That also applies to experts and successful people in your field by the way. If they bother taking the time to tell you why you're not going to make it, but also don't share valuable tips on how you could make it instead, question their intentions. Maybe they just can't stand the idea of other people being successful, because they still are, despite their success, insecure and unhappy.
As a rule of thumbs, you can check from which place advice you haven't asked for comes from and what language is used. Words like ALWAYS or NEVER are a red flag, as well as assertions that begin with "YOU ARE LIKE THIS" or "YOU ARE THAT", based on their own biased judgment.
If their intention comes from the right place, reassure them and move on. If not... Well, "thanks for sharing".