A few years ago, I published an episode on grit.
At the time, I described grit as the ultimate ingredient for success as a self-employed creative professional. I still feel that way.
Since then, however, I’ve come to recognize that courage is a necessary precursor for grit. It takes courage to knock on doors, risk rejection and get the ball rolling.
Unfortunately, people today are turning their backs on courage and risk-taking—and turning to conformity and perfectionism instead. Which is a recipe for a boring life.
In today’s podcast episode, I share my thoughts on courage, fear, risk, and perfectionism—and encourage everyone to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smartphone, tablet or iPod.
Growing Your Business is an Act of Courage
Launching, growing, and running a creative business requires a heavy dose of courage— because you risk failure, ridicule, and hits to your self-esteem whenever your work is rejected.
Sure, if your goal is to merely eke out a living, then you won’t need as much courage. But if your goal is to grow your business and make a real difference for your clients, then you need a heavy dose every day of every week.
You need courage to put yourself out there, knock on doors, raise your fees, and try new ideas. You also need it to hold client boundaries and highlight why you’re the best choice.
That’s why owning a business—especially a business where you’re selling your ideas, talents, advice and thinking—is one of the best things you can do for your personal growth.
The Problem With Risk Aversion and Perfectionism
Unfortunately, we’re seeing an overall decline in courage in our society, which is troubling. Today, millions of people are paralyzed by fear. And we’re rapidly becoming a very risk-averse people.
We’re aiming for perfectionism rather than growth. But perfectionism isn’t a virtue. In fact, it’s dangerous—and can lead to a long list of health problems.
An article in BBC Future explores just how bad it is. Perfectionism has been linked to a laundry list of clinical issues: depression and anxiety, self-harm, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders—and the list goes on.
Interestingly, perfectionism isn’t really about behavior. It’s more about how you think of yourself. It’s the story you tell yourself when you choose to not go after something important . . . or when your white paper draft isn’t coming together . . . or when a prospect says you’re too expensive.
If your self-talk is, “I suck at this!” or “This is hopeless!” . . . you discourage yourself from taking healthy risks in the future.
Welcome the Setback
Nobody enjoys experiencing a setback in their life or business. Whether it’s losing a client, having a project go wrong, or getting a “no” from a prospect you thought was a lock. None of these are fun.
These setbacks can make us question what we’re doing. It might even prompt us to ask ourselves if we should do something else for a living.
But are setbacks really something we should dread? No, because the more we succeed, the more setbacks we’ll experience. They’re a positive sign!
What if we started thinking about setbacks differently? What if, after the initial shock and disappointment, we changed the conversation from “Why is this happening to me? This is so unfair!” to:
- How can I extract value from this experience?
- What can I learn?
- What is God or the Universe trying to teach me?
- How can I use this to get better, stronger and smarter?
In a world that rewards conformance, discourages risk, and ridicules those who try “crazy” things—the obstacles in our way are an advantage.
So don’t make safety and comfort your ultimate goal. Learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Because that’s what courage demands.
By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my book.
It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here
2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]
3. Work with me privately.
If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.