Everyone’s blowing smoke behind a mirrored backdrop.
Corporate executives wear power-suits to cufflink their insecurity. Beautiful websites are bashed out by a single person behind a laptop. 100K following social media accounts are run by socially awkward 23-year-olds who just learnt a few growth hacks…
Fair - they worked hard, but scale is all projection and leverage. So stop being intimidated.
We’re all in the same boat, made of the same beans, with access to the same bag of tricks.
After a gargantuan revelation - I feel I owe it to everyone to uncover 5 lies I was telling myself and kicking them in the bum with 5 equal counter-truths.
Journey with me. Be set free from the soul-sucking parasite that is self-doubt:
1. First Lie: “But they’re this huge organisation!”
Counter-Truth: It's just one person behind a computer.
Recently I approached a huge established organisation with fear and trembling.
I enquired about a General Workshop Facilitator position after a good friend push-texted me. Nervously, I bashed out an email to the organisation’s Producer, and to my surprise, she was extremely keen to meet me for an interview.
When I met her, I walked into a three storey high, 500 square metre, bustling creative arts building and had a stimulating chat about literary opportunities for children and young people in their very professional-looking conference room.
After an hour of easy banter, clear chemistry from aligned values and great rapport, I asked her in context to the subject at hand: “Do you guys have a Marketing Team?”
She said “What you saw upstairs was our whole organisation. I am the Marketing Team. Tim* and I just rent out hot desks here in this building.”
I realised that they successfully projected scale. There were 2 people in their whole organisation. They created the illusion of being the elephant, when in fact they were the mouse.
So I was super intimidated for nothing.
Beautiful websites are created by one person behind a laptop. Huge organisations are really 2 people sharing an office space for $100/week and leveraging their connections, getting surprised when a “yes” is the response to throwing out questions to the universe. Even huge firms with long-standing reputations need great management over smaller teams to maintain order.
And might I remind you - McDonald's was a start-up in 1955.
If you’re honest-to-God bringing valuable goods, no company should be too big to look at you.
Lesson: Everyone, to varying degrees, is faking it.
Action Step: Just go for it. Write an email and ask a Mentor out for coffee. All they can do is say no.
2. Second Lie: “Everyone else is so accomplished.”
Counter-Truth: Everyone else achieved things by saying no to things that didn't fertilise the soil of their goals.
How is a great resume built? With a succession of single yet related, connected work experiences.
I used to be so intimidated by the person with an Honours Class 1, Division 1 degree from a top tier university, who won a fancy medal from a fancy guild.
I used to say “they’re just so much smarter than me!” Maybe so. But I’ve learned enough about the brain to know that what you feed yourself is what you’ll poop; and input/output is something we can all control.
In reality that person just had study hacks. They figured out a better time management system, learned to prioritise assessments and readings, and lucked out with a supportive environment conducive to achieving the above accolades.
They managed their weaknesses by outsourcing essay coaches to sharpen their writing and capitalised on their highlighting + note taking skills. They said no to organising Chocolate Society Nights or watching Mad Men on Netflix or having 10 beers on a week night - the non-essentials.
They were purpose-driven, not scatter-brains.
Lesson: Accomplishments start with private resolutions to move forward.
Action Step: Figure out your goal and focus solely on it. Cut out non-essentials. Other than God, your family and relationships with your significant other and close friends, ensure your decisions keep you one-track-minded and on-course.
3. Third Lie: “But he's Bamidele Onibalusi! Of course he's successful.”
Counter-Truth: We're all just human beings with access to the same things.
Nigerian Writer and Entrepreneur Bamidele Onibalusi was once a 16-year-old kid with no access to electricity. He struck up a partnership with a local coffee shop owner with an internet connection wanting to make money online.
Freelance writing and blogging was a happy accident. Eight months later, he published 270 guest posts on reputable business websites and was making $3000+ per month.
When Bill Gates was a teenager attending Lakeside High School, the Mother's Club held a Rummage Sale. They bought a computer with the money they raised. That set him on a path to found Microsoft, which led to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, subsequently changing the world.
Lesson: You can't do it alone.
Action Step: Ask people who are warm leads. Opportunities are with your immediate and natural connections.
4. Fourth Lie: “I can’t deliver x like that person can!”
Counter-Truth: Your unique personhood is enough to contribute value where another person can't.
Think of yourself like a type of gummy candy. You're the statement making sour worm, and your competitor is the smooth-talking teeth-and-gums. Who wins?
You both do. You can write code, but they can design the website you coded. You can organise a festival, but they can rally huge crowds to attend it. You can sing like Mariah, but they can sing like Whitney.We’re all on equal playing field, with complementary skill sets.
Lesson: You add value where they can’t. They add value where you can’t.
Action Step: Write a list of what you're good at. Choose the ones you enjoy most, and sharpen them. Market out your skills like a crazy person. No one else will do it for you.
(Shameless plug! I’m running a workshop tomorrow night on personal branding, social media platforms and digital marketing for Writers. I’m confident in this because you’re on my website now (right?), and I’ve had enough people praise the work that I’ve produced.)
5. Fifth Lie: “I’ll never achieve that in my life.”
Counter-Truth: You were created in God's image, including possessing the mind of God Himself.
It sounds corny as heck, but whatever we believe about ourselves acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our minds become the subconscious compass for our daily direction.
I want to publish a best-selling novel. How do I start? By writing. Pumping out 200 words a day. Finishing half of a first draft, getting a writing coach I admire and respect to dish out straight up truths to me about my sentence structure, plot movement and character arcs.
Continue writing, drafting, and the brutal process of editing. Making the decision to show up every day at my computer to complete 200-word chunks of writing a day.
We all have access to the same bounty. It’s just a matter of focus, commitment and discipline. And the best hack to achieving great things is REALLY wanting it, clearly visualising this desire, and replaying show-reels in your head of this desire materialised.
That desire will motivate you to stay consistent as you climb the uphill slope toward your mountainous goals.
Lesson: You were made in the image of God! That means your mind is brilliant and has the potential to achieve anything you choose to fill it with.
Action Step: Ask yourself what you really want, take the first step, and commit to reaching the finish line.
So let's recap:
1. We have no reason to be intimidated, everyone else is the same size.
2. We can accomplish anything with focus and saying no to things that don't line up with our goals.
3. We are never alone, a tribe is always within reach.
4. We add value first by uniqueness, second by capitalising on our unique strengths.
5. We are capable of utmost brilliance, because we were created this way, to contribute to the advancement and improvement of the world.
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