5 No-Fail Strategies to Stick With It (Even When You Feel Ridiculous)

by Amy on August 10, 2016



When I was in college I wanted to be a communications major. My communications advisor, during our first meeting, asked me what I wanted to do in communications. “I’d like to report the news,” I told him. “Oh that’s not really journalism. It’s more for models.”

In an instant, right then and there, I let this man — a stranger, who knew nothing about me, dictate my future.

I decided I couldn’t report the news. And I never pursued it.

Likewise… years ago, I sent a friend something I had written. I admired her as a writer and wanted some feedback. “That’s not really writing, that’s more of a rant,” she said.

Her opinion of one (albeit long-winded) paragraph shaped my opinion of myself as a writer. I didn’t write for years after that.

Now I’m working on a memoir. It’s a totally new kind of writing for me, something I’ve never done.

Sometimes I feel ridiculous…

“How self-indulgent.”
“My life isn’t interesting enough.”
“I’m no Liz Gilbert.”

These are the things I say to myself. My own thinking! It can be just as bad — worse — than the most irresponsible guidance from others.

And in the past, I’ve let it shut me down, the same way I’ve let feedback from other people shut me down.

But not this time. One, because I’m on to myself (a benefit of being a life coach) and two, I have support.

When You’re At Your Most Vulnerable…

It’s important to learn how to use other people when you’re working towards a dream. This is when you are most vulnerable. Self doubt in this stage is different from self doubt at other times because you are embarking on something new. You don’t have the skills yet, there is no evidence that it might go well.

This is when other people and their misguided feedback can derail you. This is when your own voice can stop you in your tracks.

Luckily I have a writing coach. So far all she really does is tell me to keep writing. So I do. Almost every morning.

I tell her all my fears and doubts along the way and, each time, she tells me some variation of the same thing:

“It’s normal. Keep going.”

So I do. And it’s starting to feel better. Magical things are happening. I actually wrote a paragraph that made me cry. And now it’s all I want to do.

How NOT to let other people (or your own voice) derail you:

  1. Don’t Tell Them
    Or at least be very choosy about who you tell. Some people will give you bad advice because they don’t know any better. Some will think they are trying to help you. Others are just being mean. Whatever the reason, the things they say will influence you to rethink your choice to work towards your dream. Because you are so vulnerable right now. Keep it quiet.
  2. Don’t Believe Them
    If you do get advice from other people that makes you rethink your big plan, please don’t let it stop you. There will be a lot of people out there who will want to talk to you about the more realistic thing to do. But that’s because they have lost perspective. They forget that life is short and we will all die someday. Let them live with their regrets. You won’t.
  3. Watch out for “The Voice”
    The Voice is your inner voice. It is more powerful than any crappy advice you might get from the outside. You can’t let it stop you. It will try. Don’t let it. Wait for it. When you hear it, just say something like, “Thank you. Your opinion is noted.” Then keep going.
  4.  Give Yourself Space
    It wasn’t until I said goodbye to a whole lot of other stuff in my life that I was finally able to work on my book. There is a lot of stuff you are doing in your life that you can let go. Having all this stuff to do gives you a convenient excuse for never working towards your dream. And saying goodbye to these things is scary, I know. But you have to. You need the space to do your work in the world.
  5. Enlist a Cheerleader
    Other people can really derail you if you open up to the wrong ones. But there are people out there who will do the opposite. These are your cheerleaders. They will believe in you even when you don’t. They will listen to your fears and tell you some variation of “it’s normal. Keep going.” Sometimes it’s a coach. But it can also be a really great friend, or partner or family member.

Ok. That’s it. I’ve got to go write my book.

And you’ve got work to do too.

Just remember one important thing:

It’s normal. Keep going!

P.S. If you write and need a coach… Mine is Ginger Moran. You should check her out. She’s FANTASTIC.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolina August 10, 2016 at 6:13 pm

I have been using those excuses for a long time to avoid doing the things I say would bring me joy. This muscle is weak and I need to work on it. Thanks for your words of encouragement!


Amy August 10, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Do it Carolina!


jessamina August 11, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Thank you for sharing your coach-wise self and your inner critic with us. I have been keeping quiet about my goals and projects to protect them. I was feeling lonely about that, only to hear you say today, that it is a self-honoring heroic act. Being afraid to step forward with a vision, because of others’ nasty, self righteous opinions, or their seemingly protective advice to quit…is unacceptable now. I must keep going. WE must keep going.


Virginia Reeves August 11, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Amy – congratulations for continuing on your journey of writing.

I wrote articles for 30 years, amassing over 900. Perhaps a third of them got published in local newspapers or my own ezine (years ago). Kept saying: I have to do something with all of these. Now they’re going into eBooks and I feel good that I now have 33 up on Kindle. I’m not pushing any marketing strategies. Validating myself was #1. I do have plans to combine the books into softcover versions and get sponsors to buy them to send to at-risk people to help them increase their interest in ‘acting on your own behalf’.


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