You’re Doing It Wrong

We talk a lot about “getting out of your own way”. What does that mean? 
It means that business (and life) are hard enough without making it even harder on yourself. That it may be easier to make the journey if you put down the baggage you’re carrying around. 
1) Stop Worrying So Much
The Art of What-If has created more wrinkles, gray hair and ulcers than all our real problems put together. When you allow yourself to drift into worry you build walls around your ideas, eat into your time, smother your creativity – your personality even changes. It can eat you alive. When you catch yourself drifting down that road, give yourself a mental slap, and walk away from that room in your head. Worrying takes you out of the present and propels you into a future that doesn’t (and probably won’t ever) exist.
Alton Brown said, “All of life’s big problems include the words ‘indictment’ or ‘inoperable’. Everything else is small stuff.”
Wise man, that Mr. Brown.
All you can control is your here and now. Be present here today, and tomorrow will be well taken care of.
2) Quit With the Over-Thinking
Do you over-analyze everything to death? You make a decision, but then you have to go back and decide if your decision was the right one… “am I doing the right thing…. what if (omg there’s THAT one again…) this that or the other thing happens?”
So what if it does? So what if you’re wrong? Unless you’re a pilot or a surgeon, odds are that being wrong is turnaroundable. Really – what are the real consequences of picking the wrong show, the wrong color for your logo, or getting a design not quite-as-awesome as maybe you could have?
That’s what I thought. Perspective, people.
Once you’re there, stop. When you’ve solved the problem, finished the piece, or made the decision… move on. 
3) Hold Off Jumping to Conclusions & Making Assumptions
Funny how our brains work, isn’t it? 
When we’re in the process of making a decision that affects us, we scrutinize every tiny piece of evidence before coming to a conclusion. But when presented with a scenario we know virtually nothing about, how often do you – in a flash – apply a set of assumptions to what you’re seeing that has zero grounding in anything?
It’s a useful life skill to drop these two little “tools” out of your bucket. It’ll lower your blood pressure. 
4) No More Comparing Yourself to Other Artists
Stop me if this has ever happened to you….. you see an awesome designer in your niche with a big beautiful website, a huge social media following and a store list a mile long. “Oh wow, look at so-and-so… her business is booming and mine sucks. She’s making all kinds of money. I’m broke. I might as well quit…”
Ever had THAT lovely little script playing in your head? I know I have! Not my favorite channel, I’ll tell you that.
But let’s unpack this. 
The Evidence: A nice website. 
Everyone should have a nice website. Maybe yours is nice too and you’re sick of looking at it. Maybe it needs work. Think so-and-so’s was always awesome? Or did it maybe go through stages of “sucky” through “meh” to “not-bad” before making its way to “awesome”? Guess what? You can do that too.
The Evidence: A huge social media following.
Think so-and-so crawled out from under a rock with 100k followers? Or you think maybe the day they hit “Create My Account” they started at zero? Just like you. Hmm…. Enquiring minds…
The Evidence: A store list a mile long
Awesome! Are they ALL actually active accounts? How big are they? Are they spending $10k/year or $500? Or have a bunch of them not ordered for three years and never been purged? (shoot me. I’m a cynic when it comes to retailers lists) But guess what? Once upon a time, that list was ZERO too, just like the social followers.
…or is Awesome Designer leveraged to the eyeballs and owes millions? You’d be surprised…. Getting there is only part of the journey. Getting there the RIGHT WAY is the other part.
Quit comparing yourself WHERE YOUR ARE ON YOUR JOURNEY to someone else who’s AHEAD OF YOU ON YOUR ON THEIRS. 
Aspire. Don’t covet.
5) Not Everyone Has to Love You and Your Work – and That’s OKAY
Not everyone is your client. Not everyone will love or want your work. This is normal. Get over it. If you’re trying to build a business or a brand that serves everyone you’ll end up serving no one – so stop taking it personally when you get nay-sayers, haters and folks who say, “no thanks”. Focus on the people who say “YES!” You’ll get fewer gray hairs. The bonus is that when you ignore the “no’s” you can fine tune those “yes”s – 
6) Let Go of Perfection Procrastination
“The logo isn’t quite right.”
“I’ll order packaging when I’m 100% are of my colors”
“I’ll do a show when my display is good enough.”
“I’ll call stores when my website is ready.” 
“I’ll send linesheets out when my photos are better.”
Boys and girls, there is no such thing as perfect. We are imperfectly perfect human beings. The Bible has typos. And you know what? Somehow we just KBO – Keep Buggering On. 
Done is better than perfect – and the next round is a chance to make it better. No matter what. 
7) Say Goodbye to Impostor Syndrome
To paraphrase the unfortunately and seemingly immortal Stuart Smalley, “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!”
Own your talent. Admit it. You have a spark. You don’t have to be The Best. You only have to be Your Best. If you’re better than you were yesterday you’re winning your own race. 
Permit yourself your gifts.
8) Hubris. Just No.
The near opposite of Impostor Syndrome, although oddly, sometimes exhibited by those deep in the throes of it….. “I’ve always done it this way”-itis.
Resistance to change. Refusal to move the needle. “I don’t need a course/coach/book – I know exactly what I’m doing.”
Well of course you know what you’re doing buttercup. That’s how you got the shingle. 
But does that mean there’s zero room for improvement? No space for a second set of eyes, another point of view? It’s hard to see what we’re so close to. 
Everyone needs someone sometimes. Even sports heroes have coaches. 
If you’ve stopped learning, and have closed yourself off to the possibilities of doing things in a new way… If you refuse to acknowledge that there may be weaknesses in your fortress… there probably are.
9) The Negative/Positive Imbalance. It’s a Problem.
Thoughts become things, so if your head is clouded with an over-abundance of negativity… well, how good is that for you or your business? 
Likewise, who do you surround yourself with? Cheerleaders who believe in you and your mission, or naysayers who think you’re nuts and ought to put your initials on the nearest cubicle? 
They say you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about that…
10) Stop Wishing You Had it Easier 
“If Only” is an insidious disease. I’ve suffered from it periodically. Several times it was damn near terminal. If this hadn’t happened… if that hadn’t gone that way… if this one hadn’t let me down/stolen me blind/broken my heart… If only this then obviously that. A twisted self-flagellating Boolean dance we play in our own heads that serves no purpose other than making us hate who and where we are.
Really, how effing STUPID is it to do that to yourself?
Whatever it is, large or small – It is what it is. We all have our own demons and our own angels. We choose which one to feed. Feed your angels.
11) Have You Lost Sight of Your Vision?
Remember why you started down this bloody road in the first place? Bet it was some variation of, “Ooh! I can do THAT? AWESOME!” Exploration of our own creativity fueled with the delight of discovery. Somewhere along that path we slowly begin to realize that there’s a way to be that’s different from the usual. That there doesn’t have to be a cubicle with our initials on it, and that we can answer only to ourselves. 
And we begin to dream.
But in the execution of that dream, reality, detail and daily life become the rust in the mechanism, slowing the gears and gumming up the works. If we’re not careful the dream – and our vision of what could be, of what we want our lives to look like – begins to fade, and we forget our own “Why?”
Keep your eye on where you want to be. Envision what you want your life to look like. Fuel yourself with where you’re going, don’t drag yourself down with where you are. Stay your own course.


Want some support along the journey? Come check out F3, our(free!) kickass, toughlove Facebook support group. Apply here for membership.


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