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This Is What Happens When You Let Other People Get In Your Head

This week I’m in Houston staying with my parents because I’m a great daughter and winner of all brownie points.

I was meeting a friend for dinner when my mother said, “I’m not sure you should take the car. You haven’t driven in a while.”

She was right. Living just outside Manhattan I never drive, never need to. The last time I’d driven a car was maybe 10 months ago.

I was nervous about getting back behind the wheel, but I had faith in my instincts. I’d been driving since I was 14. I knew I’d be fine.

Until my mom expressed (very reasonable) doubt in my abilities.

It got in my head. I thought, “SHOOT. I’m going to crash and kill a pedestrian and have it on my conscience AND owe my parents a ton of money for messing up their car.” Which is crazy because there aren’t pedestrians in Houston, but this is fear talking and it isn’t rational.

In an instant, I went from cautiously confident to full on self-doubt.

This happens in our businesses all the time.

Someone makes a snide comment about your approach, you read an article about “How I Lost $600,000 in a Weekend,” you talk to a colleague about their experience with the software you’re about to buy and how it messed up EVERYTHING.

Suddenly, someone who isn’t you is in your head.

It’s like a cold. You catch it without realizing it and then all of a sudden you’re doubting yourself and 3 weeks have gone by and you haven’t moved forward on anything.

It’s easy to be derailed by other people’s doubts in your abilities, ideas, and direction. And most of the time, what other people say isn’t wrong.

It’s just not helpful.

If you want to try something weird or risky with your platform (or just new), you should.

The thing on the other side of self-doubt is that some things work out.

No one tells you those stories.

They tell you about the crash and burn. How they lost a ton of money in XYZ deal. How they messed up and ABC happened. “I want to prevent you from making my mistakes.”

I don’t, I want you to make all the mistakes.

Otherwise, I’m robbing you of the opportunity to learn. Plus there is no “right way.” I want you to think there is so you buy whatever I decide to sell you via email one day (which you will because you want to believe there is a right way. And you’ll find whatever you want to believe, that’s the only thing I know for sure).

But the truth is there are many roads that lead to Rome.

For example, do you want to build your business off Facebook ads? GREAT. I think that well is going to run dry and I have a million examples of people who lost money doing that, but don’t listen to me – make the mistakes. maybe it will work – PROVE EVERYONE WRONG.

You want to grow your Insta following using bots? Go for it. I get to judge you for being lazy and nearsighted, but you get to prove me wrong (btw, if you know anyone who uses bots and has more than 5k-10k followers, email me. I want to meet them).

You want to grow your list without pop-ups? Great – tell me how you did it.

Prove everyone wrong. Make your own choices.

I am terrible at this btw. I have the disease to please and am scared of everything. If you plant one tiny little fear seed in my brain it will germinate and I’ll be paralyzed for weeks. It’s why I was a good kid in high school and always DD. I was scared, not smart (though, I’ll take credit for both).

We have enough fear in our own heads that we don’t need to take on other people’s.

That’s why I got in the car and drove to dinner. Hands clenched at 10 and 2 like a 16- year-old taking her driver’s test for the first time.

But I got there and back and no one died.