There’s this thing I do anytime I get attention or praise for work I’ve done.
First, I experience a weird, uncomfortable feeling, like a mistake has been made. Then, I get the overwhelming need to explain:
“Thanks, but it’s not really that good.”
Releasing your work to the world, especially if you haven’t made anything in a long time, can be a real confidence-buster.
Even if you create things all the time, you can still feel this way. I’ve always been a writer so you’d think I’d be thrilled to have people read my work. Nope. Fear regularly shows up disguised as a nagging feeling that I’m a fraud. That I’m not skilled at my profession.
The trip down the rat hole sounds something like this:
I am going create this blog and website on making midlife career reinvention, finding purpose and, doing unconventional work.
It’s not really that good yet, I’m just getting started.
So I made this thing, but to tell you the truth, I’m kind of embarrassed. (I mean, what was I thinking?)
In light of this fact, I’m not going to actually tell anyone about my work, or promote it in any way, just in case they check it out and it’s a bunch of crap.
And anyway, it’s just another blog about midlife. There are so many sites on that already. I’m not adding anything new or better.
Since my work’s no good = I must not be good.
That’s fear talking. And she’s loud.
The problem with fear dressed up as apologies and excuses, is that it keeps you from getting where you want to go.
Want to quit self sabotage? Learn to not say sorry
If your fear shows up by making you apologize for everything, here’s a five step routine that helps you not say sorry.
- Acknowledge the self-sabotage and write down some examples of when you last did this.
But it’s not really that good yet, I’m just getting started.
- For each one, explain why it’s an excuse.
No one is perfect at anything the first time, or even the second. It just doesn’t happen. Ever. Go on, name me one person who made a great thing the very first time they tried it.
- Create a two sentence summary (or pitch) about your work and practice until you can blurt it out at a moment’s notice. Getting the words out of your head helps you get used to the idea of hearing them out loud.
I’ve written a middle grade novel about Welsh fairies living in an elementary school. A literary agent is considering it for representation.
- Write down the worst thing that could happen if your work isn’t good. You’ll find that nothing much happens.
I’m quoted in Worst Blog Posts for 2016. Okay, sun came up, sun went down, I’m still here. Not that bad, really.
- Kick the habit for good by asking a friend to remind you when you apologize for your work. Be aware of your trigger phrases so you can avoid using them.
Leanne, you’re apologizing again. Stop it!
Fear is sneaky. Minimizing your accomplishments can feel like a life-preserver, a way of letting yourself down easy. But in the end, it’s still fear and it will prevent you from moving toward your goals.
Do you diminish your accomplishments in front of others? How do you stop negative self-talk, no matter how reasonable it sounds? Share in the comments.
I’d love to hear.