Louise and I ‘met’ on a Screw Work Let’s Play 30 Day Challenge, in 2013. Like Louise, I’ve disagreed with the advice of so-called gurus in the past and realised the importance of doing things your own way, regardless of how loudly you’re being told “THIS is the ONLY way to be successful”…
~ Julia Barnickle
Over the past couple of years, I’ve read more books and articles than I care to remember, watched countless talks and interviews online, subscribed to blogs and signed up for courses, all in the hope that they’d tell me how to make a living out of doing work that I love.
With each new ‘teacher’ I’d try to follow their words to the letter. After all, these guys had been there and done it all. They knew what they were talking about. All I had to do was follow their instructions exactly and I’d be guaranteed success.
A while back, I watched a video on You Tube about how to succeed by someone whose name now escapes me. In fact, there is only one part of the whole video that I can actually remember, and that was when whatshisname said that if you really want something, you need to want it so much that you’re prepared to go without sleep to get it.
Daring to doubt the expert
Immediately I was worried, because this didn’t tally with my experience. As an introvert, my energy levels are easily zapped. I can’t cope with doing too much in one day. And I certainly can’t function without a decent night’s sleep and perhaps a cheeky afternoon nap thrown in too.
And the thing is, since I began writing, I’ve discovered something slightly odd; that I achieve more when I don’t try so hard. When I left my job last year, I wrote for maybe two or three hours a day, and since I’ve gone back to the day job, it’s about thirty minutes. And yet, it’s only since I started doing less that I’ve seen my writing take more shape. My book’s published, my website is up and running and I’ve got the vomit draft of my second book done.
However, after watching this video, I began to question my attitude to work. Was I deluding myself? I mean, this person was on You Tube; he was kind of famous, he must be awfully important, whoever he was. He must know more than me. Could I really ignore him and go my own way? Wouldn’t that be like purchasing a one-way ticket to Loser-Ville?
Follow the leader?
A common problem for introverts venturing into the world of self-employment is that we’ve been used to being overlooked, to not having our ideas heard, or not having the courage to voice them at all. We get used to thinking that other people know better than us.
When we want to try something new, it seems obvious that we should seek advice from those who have already been successful. But when we do that we can easily fall into the trap of hanging on to their every word. We become focused on trying to fit all their tips and strategies into our routine instead of just getting on with what needs to be done.
Even when we seem to be achieving our goals, we’re so accustomed to doing what we’re told, that the doubts too easily creep in when we hear that we should be doing things differently. But if we want to be successful by ourselves, surely we need to have the courage to go our own way?
Learn to trust yourself
I’m sure You Tube Man was very successful with no sleep. Perhaps he worked better under pressure; maybe the adrenalin kicked in and carried him through his tiredness. All I know is this; if I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t write anything. My brain goes on strike and I get incredibly cranky. Really, don’t mess with me if I haven’t slept much the night before.
So I won’t be following his advice. I’ll be going for my dream in a way that works for me and I’d suggest you do the same. By all means, research those who have ‘made it’ and listen to others’ opinions, but be flexible. Take what works for you and leave the rest. And if you see something working, have the courage to stick with it.
Just because someone ‘made it’ by going one way, it doesn’t mean that way will work for you. If you want to be successful on your own, rather than becoming more ‘them’, it helps to become more ‘you.’
Over to you
Have you found yourself following someone’s advice, even though it didn’t suit the way you work, simply because they were famous? What happened?
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