Impossible Project: Volume 1
If there is one thing I think most of us entrepreneurs have in common, it’s a love-hate relationship with the impossible.
On the one hand, we LOVE accomplishing the impossible with ridiculous panache in an unrealistic amount of time, with not enough resources. This is our hero side rooted in ego.
On the other hand, we HATE feeling weighed down, bowled-over, drowning in a sea of overwhelm: too many tasks, very real potential for failure, totally unrealistic expectations from our clients or peers and never enough time or money. This is our victim side rooted in fear.
From what I can tell, based on my own experience and as well as the journeys that I’ve watched my clients walk – this is a fairly universal battle of the creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit… We want it all, we want it now, and because of these remarkably high standards and goals and the hummingbird-pace we usually function at, sometimes it’s all just too much and we have to occasionally spend a day or two hiding under the covers.
So here’s the good news:
- If this is you, you’re not alone
- The sooner you accept the fact that this cycle exists and will probably continue, the sooner you can move on to mitigating its symptoms rather than beating yourself up because it’s happening
- There are steps you can take to prepare for the highs and lows of your entrepreneurial journey
Impossible Project: Solutions
impossible project series I will highlight some of the symptoms I encounter most often myself and with my clients when it comes to trying to accomplish our goals – so you can have some actionable solutions to use to navigate your own rising and falling tide of confidence.
Be sure to read all the way to the end, because I have a proposition for you…
V.1 | Imposter Syndrome
Paralyzing fear of not being good enough
Here’s the bad news. The fear of not being good enough never really goes away. Especially if you’re continuing to push yourself into new horizons where you’re expanding your skills and are surrounded by the unfamiliar. It’s like you’ll be battling this dragon for the rest of your life.
Here’s the good news. Once the fear itself is familiar and you can see it for what it is rather than the huge monster it seems to be, you can take it from ‘paralyzing fear’ to ‘present but unimportant’.
I love these words from Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic about this particular fear – she describes her creativity as a road trip and her fear as a passenger – fear can come along quietly for the ride, but it cannot drive [pg. 26-27]
“This was a really battle for me to be fighting. Defending my weakness? That’s seriously the hill I wanted to die on? As the saying goes… Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them”
“There is nothing particularly compelling about [fear of the unkown]… You don’t get any kind of special credit for being afraid of the unknown. Fear is a deeply ancient instinct… and an evolutionarily vital one… but it aint especially smart”
“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter the realm of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome”
“The clock is ticking, the world is spinning and we simply do not have time to think so small”
The cure for turning ‘imposter syndrome’ from a giant dragon into a silent passenger is a combination of
- Daily work on your deep-rooted beliefs
- An emergency mantra to cling to when you’re sinking
- Setting small, acheiveable goals for the day/week
- Phoning a friend [or your coach / consultant]
The best thing you can do here is give yourself lifelines when you’re feeling good, so when you’re feeling shit you have something to hang on to. For most of myself and most of my clients, these actionable solutions work to help moving past this very common fear so you can get back to work and operating squarely and vibrantly within your genius.
1. Daily work on your deep-rooted beliefs
This is the most important work to be done, because it is the only way to deflate that fear demon. Of course we are often our own worst enemy and no matter how we would like to some days, we can’t escape our own mind. The nasty things we say to ourself, consciously and unconsciously, are to blame for a huge percentage of our ‘failures’. We get in our own way. There are many, many ways to process the beliefs you have yourself wrapped around. The way I’ve found to be the most effective, is EFT, ’emotional freedom technique’ or ‘tapping’.
We actually created some content around tapping that is super informative and can explain it FAR better than I can – so that’s worth check out ** [ This content is for members only, but it’s worth joining just to hear it, it’s a tapping session with our expert Claire on this exact topic of ‘imposter syndrome’!!]
Basically though – like most symptoms in the impossible project, ‘Imposter Syndrome’ comes down to the villain in your own head. This is one of my favorite quotes on the subject.
Can I get an Amen!?
2. Positive mantra to cling to & repeat.
Here are a few that I really like, that you can steal:
“I have everything I need to be successful, I don’t need to wait anymore.”
“Exactly what I am, is exactly what I need to be today. Nothing more, nothing less”
“I am the only person who lives my life. My decisions are mine alone and I choose to make the ones that will lead me where I desire. I am the boss.”
“Today I will choose to focus on what I have and I will use my resources to the best of my ability today. Tomorrow is a new day’
Be careful about language here – try to use only positive language to reinforce your positive thoughts – rather than the reverse, for example:
“Today I will focus on what I have which I am grateful for” instead of
“Today I will be grateful and will not focus on what I do not have”
Language is such a powerful thing and you want to be putting energy into the words ‘what I have’ rather than ‘what I do not have’. That is why this is called ‘Possible Project’ or it is suggested to focus on ‘Financial Freedom’ rather than ‘having no debt’ – check the language you are using – could it be more positive?
1. Set Goals
Set long term goals, monthly, weekly and daily goals and objectives – if you can get yourself into this habit, you can put your head down and do the three things on the list instead of getting mired in the sea of ‘it’s all too much’ and wallow in self-pity.
Even if you want to give up and crawl into a hole, you can often force yourself through the three objectives on your list for the day – and this will help you feel a sense of accomplishment and also permission to run and hide and lick your wounds once they’re done without feeling guilty.
You might find this too goes in cycles – you do it for a while – feel great – and then find yourself in a downward spiral and realize you stopped setting your weekly and daily goals + objectives. Time to force yourself back into the routine!
4. Phone a Friend [or a mentor]
A friend can be a personal friend, a weekly mastermind group, a coach, an accountability buddy, your partner – someone who can talk sense into you when you’re listening to the ‘not good enough’ monster in your head.
One of the best things I did when I was really struggling to find myself and my way a couple years ago, was start a weekly mastermind with an entrepreneur friend. We had similar struggles and lived near each other – and every Friday morning we met for coffee and a ham + cheese croissant and had a 90 min mastermind meeting. We tried very hard to stick to a schedule: 15 min chat at the beginning – 30 min on her stuff, 30 min on my stuff and 15 min to chat at the end. This way we both got to vent, get the others’ opinion on our obstacles and usually, when one of us was feeling hopeless, the other was feeling good – so we could counter our negative attitude, fear or self-doubt by saying things like ‘well last week you told ME to do this and I did it and it worked – so now you need to listen to your own advice!’
This was a miracle cure to get us out of our funks quickly – and since we have complimentary skills- we were genuinely able to add value to each others’ businesses, marketing plans, ideas and products. Even if you can’t meet with someone in person, consider finding an accountability buddy or a little group to meet at the same time each week. Genuinely this is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business. My friend now lives in Hong Kong and I live in London and when we’re not travelling we still manage to have our weekly meetings!
Of course you can also work with a consultant like myself – here is a checklist for finding the right mentor.
Join me in the
If you haven’t read it yet – check out the first post in this series that lays out the challenge. Here’s a little reminder if you’ve already ready it: if you say yes, you have to commit to these three things:
- Make the list of
- Identify at least the first 5 that seem the ‘easiest’
- Start on ONE of them ASAP [like, this week]
I would LOVE to hear what some of your
impossible tasks are… Tell me over on Facebook or on Instagram or right here in the comments below. Tell me what you’re going to take on first and DEFINITELY share your wins – be sure to tag #iampossibleproject – let’s start to acknowledge our awesomeness!
Check Back Often
impossible project post is the start in a series where I will be sharing insights into how to tackle the impossible one little niggling self-doubt at a time. I will be providing real strategies to help you work on petpreneur enemy #1: fear.