Don’t try, just be

I think it could be said that one of the biggest things that holds us back is that we try to hard to be a specific type of way or create a certain kind of thing. Often our efforts go into emulating what we have already seen done and the way that we think or have been told that things should be.

When this occurs instead of just doing our work and creating, we put limits on ourselves.

Suddenly, the ideas you have end up being tweaked and altered because you haven’t seen things done that way and you’d rather go with what’s been seen to work.

I think a reason we do this is because we don’t have enough self belief to really do things the way we want plus, we want things to work out.

When you’re someone that creates, you never want to put your heart and soul into something and it not be well received. People not taking to your work feels personal because it came from you and often we end up internalising that feeling and coming up with stories like ‘I’m not good enough…’.

The way to avoid all this is to just be, just create. The more you create, the more you find your own flow and no longer feel like you need to mimic others. The work you do will become so much more gratifying.

The more you create, the more you lower the stakes. The first time you create something that comes from you might be scary but over time once it becomes more familiar, it will get easier.

Start valuing your voice

The way that you show up in the world is likely to be imapcted by your confidence and self esteem.

Perhaps you play small and avoid doing things that will draw any attention even though you have ideas and opinions to share.

But the reason you don’t share your ideas is because you don’t value your voice and you don’t believe that anyone else will either. You tell yourself speaking up is for other people.

It’s for people that are better than you. They’re better because they’re older, more experienced, more confident, have higher qualifications, are better dressed and have nicer hair. Sometimes our reasoning makes sense and other times we make excuses.

And so next time you want to say or do something, go ahead even if it feels a little uncomfortable. You don’t need to be ‘better’ than everyone else, you don’t need to be older or more experienced either. All you have to do is say something.

Finding a solution to the problem

When it comes to solving problems, there is a big difference between finding a solution and finding a solution to the problem.

When we’re simply just finding a solution we tend to come up with things that are short-term, quick to do and don’t really address the issue.

Lets take the example of being upset with someone. Now imagine that the solution you choose is to go off and take space until you’re no longer upset. Then, by the time you come back to the other person you’re now totally over it. That is a potential solution but it doesn’t actually solve anything.

A solution to that problem could instead be still taking space if you need it but then also voicing to the other person how you felt about their actions. That way you create space for discussion rather than being closed off and holding things in.

And so the next time you have a problem to solve don’t just find a solution, find a solution that is right for the problem.

Updating your comfort zone

Every once in a while you may be forced to come out of your comfort zone.

The idea that what you resist persists is true, some things just can’t be avoided.

You’ve probably been resistant and stuck in your comfort zone because you’re scared, the uncertainty is overwhelming and you’ve become comfortable with what you know.

Sometimes those are good enough reasons to stick with what you know. You don’t need to force yourself to do things that you don’t want to do.

But maybe you feel like you’re holding yourself back or feel are unhappy with the limitations you have placed on yourself.

If that’s the case, embrace the new and get out of your comfort zone.

Of course things that are new and unfamiliar might feel uncomfortable to begin with but over time that feeling will reduce. And maybe in a few weeks, months or even a year those things that once felt uncomfortable will become part of your comfort zone (or at least much less uncomfortable).

The misalignment of us

Most people that you choose to have in your life are chosen because your lives or you as people align in some way.

It could be a similar taste in music, studying (or have studied) the same subjects, enjoying the same leisure activities, similar mindsets and worldviews or maybe you share the same aspirations.

Whatever it may be, when the base of your connection shifts it is likely that you may change your mind about having the person in your life.

Granted you will have built up a connection based on other things over time but when the core bits of you and a person no longer align, the relationship may no longer make sense.

This sort of thing quite commonly occurs once you begin to really figure out who you are and what you want in life. Perhaps the people you used to party with don’t really fit with the life you’re creating. Maybe your corporate aspirations clash with the aspirations of people around you to the point of causing disagreements.

Despite how it may feel, it’s a natural thing for relationships to change. It’s much better to allow things to be than to restrict your development or the development of someone else because you’d rather hold on to something that was never meant to last.

Reacting to mistakes

Here are 2 options for how to react when someone makes a mistake.

The first is to get mad as if the person made the mistake on purpose, maybe shout at them and ask why they did it.

The second is to let them know what they could have done better.

It’s similar to the idea of criticism and feedback. One of these reactions is useful whilst the other is simply someone using it as an opportunity to take out their own anger or frustration.

The first reaction will likely have someone feeling bad for doing something wrong and overtime could contribute to a fear of failure.

The second reaction will help someone understand what they can do differently next time and encourages growth.

Vulnerability and having your needs met

Do you really know what you want?

Often we go around telling people what we do want and even what we don’t want. Doing so can help you feel like you know and understand yourself because you’re able to articulate your needs.

What can end up happening is, when the needs you voiced are met, you come to find that it’s not what you really wanted at all.

Suddenly, you find yourself going back on your previous statement or displaying emotions like frustration or annoyance at the person who has done what you asked.

For example, you may say that you want to be left alone. However, when everyone leaves you end up getting upset.

The truth of that matter is that you didn’t really want to be left alone. Perhaps, it’s that you felt misunderstood, wanted someone to sit with you and listen or just wanted comfort. However, voicing these kinds of needs isn’t always easy because they show your vulnerable side.

It’s much easier to just say that you want to be alone, particularly when you’re not sure if the people around you are capable of meeting your real needs.

But, if you give the people around you some credit and allow yourself to be vulnerable for just a moment, you might find that you’re able to get exactly what you need.

If it doesn’t work out

We’re often brought up to believe that risk is a bad thing.

But the truth is it depends on the risk.

Packing up and moving to a new city could be considered risky but it’s not a bad thing. On the flipside, gambling away your savings hoping to hit the big time is risky and it’s not a particularly good idea.

I think when it comes to taking risks you know whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on how you’ll feel if it doesn’t work out.

When the risk not panning out means your safety at risk it’s probably not something worth pursing. Let’s take the gambling example.

If it turns out well you could walk away with more than your annual salary which is enticing. However, if we look at what happens if things go wrong you’ll realise that you gain nothing. If you gamble away thousands of pounds you don’t leave the experience haven’t learnt a lesson.

Those kinds of risks aren’t worth taking.

But when you try something new, push yourself and get out of your comfort zone, even if it doesn’t work out as planned, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to grow and develop into the kind of person you want to be.

Perfection, perception and possibility

I once wrote that perfection is a falsehood. I stand by that statement. Perfection doesn’t really exist becuase of 2 things: perception and possibility.

What may seem perfect to one person will be viewed differently by another. Perceptions of others might end up changing your own view of your work. But perfection will never be universal because not everything is for everyone.

The end result of anything you do is based on picking one option out of several. But if at certain stages you found yourself caught between perhaps 2 out of the 5 options, when you’re finally done you may wonder about the possibilities of the other options. You might find yourself thinking, maybe it would have been even better if you chose the other option.

So why not let go of the perfectionism, something you’ll never truly achieve. Instead focus on the joy joy of creating your work and getting better and better over time.

Internalising boundaries

You can learn a lot from someone by simply observing them.

I recently noticed in a particular relationship that the other person had very clear boundaries. It wasn’t anything that had been explicitly stated but through this persons actions it was very clear what they were and were not open to.

Sometimes a persons boundaries can feel personal. You might feel that they’re being harsh and closed off toward you. On the other hand you might internalise it and end up thinking you need to put in more effort.

In the situation I experienced I could have taken it personally, in fact 5 years ago I would have. I’d have thought this means [insert monologue of dramatic over reaction here] and maybe this person doesn’t like me.

But I now understand that a boundary is for the person setting them, it has little to do with the people on the receiving end.