For most of my life, I have been nervous and shy and insecure.
It took me years to build the confidence to put myself out there and to share my ideas with the world.
It is almost impossible for you to be successful, until you break the mental barriers and the limiting beliefs that hold you back.
This week’s article is a bit different. I’m going to share with you the personal journey I went on that allowed me to rid myself of the limiting beliefs that held me back for most of my life.
Letting go of the outcome
What keeps most of us up at night is the illusion of control. It is the false belief that we have utility over the outcome.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The only thing you can control in your life is your actions. To be even more specific, all you can control is your reactions.
Control is the thorn in your side that makes it hard to sleep. You’re disturbed because you think you have control.
I learned this lesson by getting sober.
As I went through my journey of sobriety, I came to understand the reason I did drugs was because I felt out of control with my life. I was resentful about my situation and angry about some of the terrible things I had experienced.
Ironically, the solution IS NOT to gain control.
The solution is to let go of control completely.
This is the biggest advantage I have as an entrepreneur. I have come to terms with the illusion of control. All I can ever do is put in the work and put in the action. I can analyze the strategy and put myself in the best position to succeed. But ultimately, the outcome is not up to be.
There is something bigger than me which has control over the outcome.
The best way to succeed is to let go of control and focus all your attention on what it is you can control.
You can control your effort, your action, your decisions, and your quality of work.
Do the best work you possibly can and then let go of the outcome.
Do that over and over again, and you will discover that success comes to you. Success will find you, because success always gravitates to those who are demanding the best from themselves.
No one really cares about you, everyone cares about themselves
This has been one of the most difficult obstacles for me to overcome.
It has also been the most liberating lessons I have learned.
I’ve always cared too much what people think about me. I still wake up in the middle of the night and agonize over stupid things I’ve said at parties or all the times I was embarrassed in front of others.
I don’t know why this feeling sticks with me. I’ve always second guessed what I say and when I finally built up the courage to speak, I would immediately cower in a corner and think to myself “that’s why you don’t speak up at parties Tim.”
Here’s the thing.
No one actually cares.
All anyone cares about is themselves.
It’s not to say that people are selfish or self centered, but rather it’s to say that everyone is busy living their own lives. Everyone is thinking about their own problems and trying to find solutions to the challenges they experience.
Granted, when you put your work out in front of others, you may make mistakes, you make become embarrassed from time to time, and you may end up saying something you regret.
But the totality of the situation is that everyone else is too busy thinking about themselves to be spending time thinking about you.
This gave me the freedom to be myself
When I realized this, I suddenly had complete freedom to publish my work and to grow my business.
I stopped being so self conscious about it. The nagging voice in my head went away. That voice that says …
“People are going to think you’re a hack or like you’re a fraud. People are going to laugh at you.”
No one is laughing at me. In reality, when people see my work they become inspired.
Because everyone has something to share. You have a voice and a mission and a calling that lives in your heart. You may read my articles and watch my videos and think “I wish I could do that.”
Well you can, you should, and you must.
When you do, you will quickly discover that people are much more willing to support you on your journey than they are willing to tear you down.
You’re going to die
I’m 36 years old.
I was 30 when I met my wife. I was 24 when I got sober. I moved to Nashville 4 years ago and I left Philly to move to Florida in 2010. What happened?
Just the other day, I was 17 years old, skateboarding in LOVE park and riding the train back and forth.
I wasted too much time living in fear. My fears kept me from chasing my dreams. It makes me sad that I lost that time, but I am also grateful that I was able to break those mental barriers and free myself from the burden of expecation.
Life goes quick and before you know it, you will be on your deathbed, thinking of all the things you wish you did.
That won’t happen to me.
When I die, I will be empty. I will have nothing left to give. I will have spent all my energy in living the life that I want to live. I wake up every morning with an appreciation that I get to do what I love for a living.
I will never do anything else.
Why would I?
It is irresponsible of you to do anything other than sharing your gifts with the world and having the experiences that make you feel alive.
Your most precious resource is time. You don’t know how much of it you have, and you have less of it than you think.
To remind myself of this fact, I automated a tweet be sent to me every morning that tells me that I am going to die. It’s called The Daily Death Reminder.
When you remind yourself that life is short and temporary, suddenly all the fears and doubts in your mind seem irrelevant.
Who cares if your Instagram video only got 10 likes? Who cares if someone read your blog post and shared it with a friend to make fun of you? Someday, sooner than you realize, you are going to be dead.
It’s a tragedy to waste time and emotion on situations that don’t matter.
What matters is that you share your work and you live your life in service to humanity, to the planet, and to others.
What matters is that you share the work that reduces suffering in the world and helps others. You don’t have to do this on a grand scale, you don’t have to be Elon Musk, but you do have to commit to putting yourself out there.
Maybe this means simply being a great parent, or participating in the local YMCA, or creating a garden and sharing your food with others less fortunate.
You have a responsibility to do whatever it is that calls you.
If you don’t, it will be your greatest regret.
It won’t happen overnight
Believe me, I wish I could have snapped my fingers and instantly became more confident and sure of myself.
That was not my journey, and I don’t think it will be your journey either.
So what does this look like from a practical standpoint? HOW do you start to break these mental barriers that get in your way.
I did it one day at a time.
I’ve never had an instant “AH-HA” moment where my fears and doubts and insecurities suddenly vanished. It was much more of a continuous process.
First, I started recording videos in my office after everyone left. I was too embarrassed to record them in front of others, so I would stay late at my office and tell everyone I was still working.
I would record alone and then I would force myself to hit publish.
After a while, I discovered that I was in fact still alive and that no one was throwing tomatoes at my face.
After that, I started tweeting and openly expressing my views at business meetings. I started attending conferences and I even was asked to speak from time to time.
The possibilities that are in front of me are endless, and that is only because I gave myself the permission to get out of my own way.
The best way to face your insecurities is to simply face them. But don’t face them all at once.
Do one thing every day that scares you. You will soon realize that all of your fears and doubts were never actually as powerful as you made them out to be.