“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent van Gogh
It seems like a lot of people who write about how to change are the ones who successfully made it happen for themselves. Logically, it makes sense. Who else better to write about how to accomplish something than people who have actually done it?
I love reading articles about how to successfully improve your life and truly appreciate the writers behind them for generously sharing their wisdom. However, it can be discouraging. Before reading an article, I sometimes skip down to the writer’s bio in hopes that they are perhaps in a similar position as myself: just starting out and very green as to how to go about accomplishing their dreams. A wave of defeat washes over me when I read that they are an owner of their own successful business or a well-published author. I shy away from even reading what they have to say because, frankly, I do not even feel like I am in the same arena as them. How can I take advice from such high achievers when I feel I barely have a foot in the door?
What I have come to conclude, however, is that everyone who has aspired to be different, to make a life change, become better, or achieve something great, has experienced these feelings of confusion, fear, self-doubt and well, smallness at one time or another. When you view everything around you as big and grand, it is pretty easy to feel small and meek. It is difficult to work towards what you aspire to be when you lack the confidence and clarity to do so. So many of us often shoot ourselves in the foot before ever taking the first step. I have to believe, though, that the ones who persevered through their discouragement in the beginning stages, are the very ones who have achieved those successful bios.
So as an aspiring writer still in the beginning stages of self-doubt and uncertainty, here are a few things I have learned through the struggle of changing:
1. Stop Self-Defeating Thoughts Before They Start
Most of us are our own worst enemies. We tell ourselves that we cannot do something much more often than other people tell us. Think about it. When was that last time someone told you, “There is no way you could do that.” Unless you surround yourself with some pretty mean-spirited people, you probably don’t hear that too often.
Now think of the last time you heard that remark coming from the little voice inside your head. More than likely, that voice pipes up pretty frequently. The second that self-doubt begins to creep up, distract yourself. Focus your attention on a task that will bring you closer to achieving your goal, go for a walk, buy a cup of coffee, anything that will pull you out of that negative mind-set. One single negative thought can jump start a chain reaction of them so have a defense plan in place for the next time those thoughts sneak up.
2. Find a Support System of People With Similar Goals
Having a group of people that you can reach out to for support and to ask questions is a great way to build confidence in what you are doing and to gain motivation to continue doing it. The internet is a great source to search for others with similar goals and dreams that you can communicate with.
When I decided to get serious about writing on personal development, the number of people I encountered online who were trying to accomplish something similar overwhelmed me. I wasn’t shy about reaching out to them to ask advice and receive a little encouragement. Developing relationships with others will not only help you promote whatever it is you are hoping to accomplish but the support it provides will help you to keep trucking.
3. Keep At It
The phrase “never give up” is cliché, I understand, but it’s true that the harder you work, the closer you are to success. I truly believe that success is about 10% talent and 90% persistence. If you are committed to making a change in your life for the better, you can’t throw in the towel when the going gets tough.
We are all capable of doing so much more than what we think and this can be proven through diligence and determination. It is so much easier to not do something and fail than to actually try and not achieve. But what do you gain from not trying? We have all failed at something in our lives and most of us would not take it back if we could. You learn from it, become better because of it, and keep at it.
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So for those who still feel like they are at the bottom of the food chain, don’t beat yourself up. We have all felt like the underdog at one time or another. Don’t allow the success and hard work of others discourage you from your own. The hardest part of achieving a goal is actually believing that you can do it; everything else is secondary. Become your own biggest advocate for personal change and you will be writing your own successful bio before you know it.