I have to give it to Seth Godin. Just when I thought it was safe to go back to making excuses for myself, his short blogs regularly hit me right in the guts.
If you think you have good reasons for waiting by the sidelines, biding your time and generally avoiding that thing that your heart is pleading with you to do (If you sit still long enough, you’ll hear it’s quiet plea)… well… those reasons are kinda BS.
All of them.
Especially the reasons that come from the voice that you’re pretending doesn’t exist – the one that is terrified of rejection and criticism.
You know the one I’m talking about.
“If your work has never been criticized, it’s unlikely you have any work.
Creating work is the point, though, which means that in order to do something that matters, you’re going to be criticized.
If your goal is to be universally liked and respected and understood, then, it must mean your goal is to not do something that matters.
Which requires hiding.”
I see this fear all the time with the clinicians I work with in private practice.
We are all completely terrified of going out on a limb and trying something new (or heck, even just talking about ourselves and learning how to market properly) because… what if we get criticised? Rejected? Laughed at and judged by our peers?
I know this is true for me too. Lets face it, we as a professional industry can be quite horrible to each other (and maybe we should know better huh?).
Our brains are funny like that. We are so sensitive to rejection and criticism that even a whiff of it can have us wanting to pack our bags, close the doors to our practice and get back in our box.
You see, your ancient brain wants you back in your box.
The guys over at Wait, But Why refer to our need to fit in and be accepted as our Social Survival Mammoth:
“Our bodies and minds are built to live in a tribe in 50,000BC, which leaves modern humans with a number of unfortunate traits, one of which is a fixation with tribal-style social survival in a world where social survival is no longer a real concept. We’re all here in 2014, accompanied by a large, hungry, and easily freaked-out woolly mammoth who still thinks it’s 50,000BC.
Why else would you try on four outfits and still not be sure what to wear before going out?”
Avoiding rejection and obsessively worrying about how other people perceive us was a great idea, a few thousand years ago. After all, being accepted by our tribes is what used to keep us alive.
But it’s 2016 now – and being criticised or rejected by a few people isn’t a death sentence anymore. In 2016, it is almost comically easy to connect with new people every day, and our ideal clients, audiences and friends are out there, just a mouse click and a computer screen away, along with 7 billion or so other people.
Rejection and criticism isn’t a death sentence anymore.
So why are you allowing it to be your life sentence in the Jail of “Doing Really Boring Work That You Hate”, instead of the work you love, the way you love to do it?
Seth dives deeper into this idea in his book, Tribes (a brilliant short read by the way – I highly recommend it if you need a swift kick in the bum and this post isn’t doing it for you):
From Seth again:
“We choose not to be remarkable because we’re worried about criticism. We hesitate to create… because we’re worried, deep down, that someone will hate it and call us on it.
One bad review doesn’t ruin my day because I realise what a badge of honour it is to get a bit of criticism at all… it means that, in fact, I did something worth remarking on”.
Sit with that for a second.
Staying in your box – safe, protected, free from criticism – is a sure path to being a bore who gets ignored.
Living in this type of fear will stop you from making the mark on the world that you were put here to make. You have to be bigger than this.
And it starts with waking up and seeing that criticism can’t kill you! Most of it is unhelpful, irrelevant and has no measurable impact. It just doesn’t feel good. It’s icky.
But do you know what sucks more?
Not doing work that’s worth doing.
You have a choice.
Step outside the box for a bit. It’s nice out here.
And we have mojitos.
Here’s to your success,
Ahem…. PSSSSST! There’s still time to join us in San Fran this October for the Success Mindset Masterclass for Private Practice Owners. We’ll be talking about overcoming fear, rejection and criticism so you can get out of your own way and start growing the practice you actually want. Wouldn’t that be cool? Details over here – only for the brave.
Photo credit: ThaQeLa via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND