My mother, God bless her, has always been my biggest fan. I’m lucky to have someone so supportive in my corner, but sometimes her blind support is a little unrealistic. If I applied for a job as, say, a neurosurgeon, she would say something along the lines, “They’d be CRAZY to not hire you!” And she’d believe it. (If it’s not apparent, I couldn’t be any further from neurosurgeon caliber. Write clever taglines, yes. Operate on brains, not so much.)
I’m a mom now, so I get it. I think my daughter is pretty perfect. I finally understand why my mom has such blind faith in my abilities. Having supportive people in our lives is important, but if you motivate yourself with the same uncritical belief — and don’t back things up with real action — you’re likely to stumble, fall, and give up entirely.
To be fair, I’m all about the power of self-talk and believing in yourself. But often, when it comes to doing and not dreaming, it’s not enough to simply tell yourself, “I think can do this” or even “I can do this.” First, you have to SHOW yourself WHY you can do it.
To avoid puffing yourself up gratuitously, make sure you’re answering some honest questions:
- What have you done to prepare yourself?
- Have you done enough prep work or simply busy work?
- Are you just telling yourself that you’re ready?
- What else can you do to set yourself apart?
If you’ve only taken Biology 101, you wouldn’t dream of applying for a neurosurgeon position at the local university hospital, right?
So why are you attempting to call on prospects when you don’t even know your value proposition?
Why are you sending out email blasts when you’ve never evaluated your list?
Why are you championing your differences when you’re acting like everyone else?
If you’ve told yourself that you’ve done enough, but barely scratched the surface of actual, real hard work, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And that failure will not only set you back now but can also make it more likely you won’t try in the future.
A little legwork goes a long way. You don’t have to have all the answers to start, and not everything needs to be perfect.
Just make sure you aren’t about to attempt the final step when you haven’t actually even taken the first.