How do I: deal with doubt

Progress towards any goal or vision erodes doubt, whether fast or slow. More people will believe it will be when they see it, hear it, understand it, and want it too. Not everyone will share your doubt. Even fewer will share your goal or vision. Don’t let that stop you.

Will I take missteps? Yes, reevaluate when that occurs. Doubt does not result in failure. Failure occurs after starting due to a lack of persistence and forethought. Doubts might derive forethoughts or considerations.

You can move in baby steps, a leisure walk of progress, and eventually, in full sprint forward.

New ideas are sometimes like infants, so treat them like one. Hear, see then move just like a baby does. Remember crawl, walk, run. Yes, there will be falls, and then you get right back up.

Doubt should be a brief pause and think, not endless stalling due to “I am not ready because [fill in the excuse]”. If your target market is not ready, the market will give you clear signs that say so. When we believe in it more than doubt it, we should act on it. Even if we go at it alone until we have something to show for it. Move forward around constraints, obstacles, and most importantly, your own doubts.

If your idea is solving a problem, if it has an audience, and clients willing to pay for your solution, keep pushing forward despite doubts. We will not free everyone from doubts, and that should not be anyone’s goal.

Perfection does not exist. Stop stalling and doubting whether you are ready to launch something if your idea’s minimum viable product (MVP) works and sells. You can continue to iterate and improve it as you move forward and need to in a prioritized manner.

Doing something new is not about waiting for anyone’s acceptance or permission. We do something new despite our fears, uncertainties, and doubts (FUD). We do the uncomfortable things to finish a phase we started, be first, win, and keep moving forward toward what we still need to improve.

Doubt can cause frustration. Frustration can be refocused as fuel toward that progress we need to see. We want that thing to become real to the point that we manifest into some form we need it to be.

Make a list of the pros and cons of doing what you think about doing.

Take account of the ‘what-ifs’ to get them out of your head and note them as documentation in your little book of doubt. Some doubts might be risks or just opportunities to tackle in the future. Many doubts you can laugh at sooner than later. Enjoy the journey even if you don’t travel.

How do I: deal with uncertainty

Take the unpopular perspective that when it comes to uncertainty, I would prefer to deal with uncomfortable unknowns than comfortable knowns. Why? It is more challenging. It makes us think and do more. Dealing with uncertainty is more fun to work with than even chess or puzzles because the outcomes and rules are already known for both of those games. Making things that don’t exist yet is far more uncertain and more challenging. Embrace uncertainty and immerse yourself in it like a pool of water. Bring some hypothesized outcomes to test. Learn to swim in a shallow pool of uncertainty before exploring the deep, dark underwater caves of uncertainty. As you explore the depths of uncertainty, be sure to leave proper markers along that new path to get back to reality as we know it. Document your journey as well as your escape.

Avoid drama and ego. Question all fears, not just your own. What partly matters during the journey is that you are being listened to and valued by the few, not because you are right, for your vision of what could be and/or should be. This will evolve over time into something recognizable, useful, and valued. Clarity and conciseness will eventually hit the right chord.

Multiple perspectives matter more, not to reach a consensus, but because we need to understand multiple diverse points of view of how to see, hear, and feel something new, even if it may be partly familiar. While it could be so new and unknown, does it matter, to whom and why?

No matter how much is uncertain, there will be known unknowns and unknown unknowns. We should plow forward toward incremental improvements, iterations, and baby steps because this is how we get through it and make that new path. This path may be taken by a few others who want to do this work, to follow up, and even improve upon. By bringing the dark areas of uncertainty into the light, we may find possibilities and value to more.

Our future audience may want or need this. Having conversations and experiencing this are the only ways we will know if and when those barriers of uncertainty have been broken. How else will we reveal that certain need or certain desire for this that you build?

Keep making new things and create new paths. New uncertainties will follow up.

How do I: deal with fear

Everyone has fear, however we can question it.

We can negotiate.

We can take precautions.

We can have backups.

We can weigh risks vs. rewards.

We can make a list of pros and cons.

We can ask what if we did the opposite fear tells us to do.

We can line item outcomes to either extreme.

We can fail and learn from it.

We can try again with a different strategy.

We can ask ourselves what we are really afraid of and dive deep into why.

Ask yourself why repeatedly and answer why 5 to 11 times to get to the root cause of what you are really afraid of.

What if you ignore the comfortable, normal, reasonable, and safe?

What if we blow off our own image?

We can ignore what people think of us and other people pleasing efforts.

We can stop delaying and planning to finally move forward.

If we are not in extreme pain nor danger, even if it is displeasing or discomforting, keep going as long as there is a goal.

Nothing that matters happens without discomfort and fear.

Face the fear. Bare the discomfort to make you stronger. Deal fear another hand.

Move forward and ignore it wisely.

We will all die at some point.

Did we live life to the fullest or die in regret due to fear by just existing?

I choose to not simply exist. I move past fear with confidence. What do you choose to do?

How do I: evaluate any work opportunity

We can all find work opportunities for ourselves if we look today. How do you evaluate any work opportunity?

I evaluate any work opportunity based on six factors:

1. Is it remote work?

This first factor was in effect since the beginning of 2019 for me and had nothing to do with the pandemic. This was a realization that unless my own work requires moving physical objects, there is no point in being on-site. And I say this as an extravert.

Commuting is a colossal waste of time and natural resources that could be used more productively on anything else you see fit. Seeing/experiencing new places because you want to do so on vacation rather than because you have to commute to work. We saw this very clearly in 2020. I do not see the point of doing any digital work “on-site” for any reason, regardless of who I am working for. Ever. If you have not evolved your thinking, you may be:

A. In survival mode (in an unstable company that is not likely hiring).

B. Trying to justify your commercial office real estate (as it remains mostly empty instead of repurposing it or letting it go).

C. Falsely believing we will all run back to a “normal” shared office space.

D. Failing to realize that we did not need to commute to do digital work in the first place.

E. Forgetting that both global and local relationships can thrive without any physical proximity, thanks to technology.

F. Ignoring the options of scheduled communication and virtual collaboration, regardless of geography.

G. Limiting your own choices locally instead of having more opportunities globally.

H. Restricted because you are still working on digital transformation.

I. Unwilling to work from anywhere.

The smartest companies, those that want to attract and retain the best talent from anywhere (and not limit themselves to local candidates nor people forced to move), realize their employees can be more efficient and effective as a distributed workforce. Back when I traveled for work, I saw travel and commuting as a chore. And it still is. Travel and commuting are not luxuries. Who misses long lines, crowded planes, heavy traffic, or looking for a parking space? Instead, count all the wasted hours that you will never recover. Think about it. Why do that today when you do not have to?

2. Am I paid well?

Some companies are under the illusion that we have lowered our rates because the work can now be done virtually. Those same companies fail to realize that the work has not changed and was able to be done completely virtually for over a decade. My rates have only gone up because I make it easier than ever for clients to engage my services. Simple supply and demand economics. More demand, higher fees. Pay the price or keep looking.

3. Are they listening to me? 

Why should I stay if who I work for doesn’t listen/read/pay attention to what I tell them? I can either help a client or I move on to others that want my help. Obviously, we need to listen, read, pay attention and speak up too. Makes sense? Keep reading.

4. Can I make a difference?

If people are not listening/reading/paying attention to what we tell them, we likely can not make a difference unless we assume we know what they need (which can also backfire) or clarify the goals after changes occur. I am a consultant to make a positive difference for clients, not just to collect billable hours.

I do not speak for my other consulting brethren where some have a drug pusher mentality for clients that can not function without them. Who put themselves in that spot? Who needs help getting out of that?

5. Is it what I want to do?

Priorities change just like many other things change around us constantly. We have control over some of these things, and we do not control many other things. We also choose how we spend/waste our attention. Where we work and where we live is something we do control as adults. How did you decide where to live? Why? Why are you working where you do aside from the pay? What company we work for is something we do control. Who applied for the job? Is it still what you want to be doing? Are you good at it? Are you effective? Or is it just a matter of collecting a paycheck? Does it still give you a sense of accomplishment? Is it fulfilling? Do you like it, or is it painful?

6. Am I treated well?

Yes, being treated well by co-workers is important and it starts with treating others well. Being effective can be more important than expecting friendliness. Work is not supposed to be easy, otherwise, we will get bored quickly.

Who are you serving? Does it matter to them? Is it painful to deal with some people? Why? Are certain colleagues interpersonally manipulative or emotionally abusive? Most of the time that does not happen; otherwise, it becomes a serious HR issue. Are you and your supervisor clear on expectations? Do you remain responsive? Do you remain positive? Sometimes remaining positive is a matter of reframing an open conversation. Having respectful conversations is part of the job.

At any point, we will likely learn something new.

When these six factors erode, it is time to evaluate whether to move on, especially if factors #3 and #4 vaporize. 

What factors matter to you when you evaluate work opportunities?

How do I: Start a mastermind group

After reading Eric Moeller‘s book Levelling Up: The Complete Guide to Starting a Mastermind Group, I started several virtual masterminds:

Writers’ Mastermind Group

A group of writers who all have the common goal of completing their own book project and self-publishing it before Thanksgiving.

I had the idea of having a group of writers who want to complete a book and then pushed them forward (including myself as a peer) with:

  • Creating a daily habit of writing – a manageable 30 minutes every day
  • Holding weekly accountability sessions online for peer accountability and peer support over the summer. This changed to meeting twice a month in the Fall due to other meetings for the same group.
  • Setting realistic goals for each of us (example: write 1 page per day) and declare them
  • Share online resources for design, editing, layout, self-publishing, and other helpful tips to accomplish the ultimate mastermind group goals

Started with an online survey in June to have writers opt-in with qualifying questions.

Two weeks later, I followed up with a scheduled Q&A session via group Zoom call for those already committed and anyone on the fence. Locked in the group that night and we got started. No more procrastination.

We wrote during July, August, and September. Then we had the books edited in October. Pushed for cover designs, formatting, layout, and marketing.

Pushed to finish their book projects and ready to publish in late November.

Podcasting Mastermind Group

During the summer, I also started a mastermind for podcasting with a few podcasters.

Want to join a Mastermind Group? 

Schedule a complimentary call to discuss if it is right for you and get your questions answered today