I remember sitting in a restaurant with some loved ones and one of them says “man, you’re just always doing something different. It’s hard to keep up with you.”
And at first I was upset by this because frankly no one knew how burnt out I was and no one had any idea just how hard I was working to make things work. No one had any idea what all I was doing to make ends meet. And I wasn’t having success at all. And my level of frustration was at a fever pitch.
And it’s taken me a really long time and a lot of healing to be able to talk about this time of my life. How successful, yet unsuccessful, I was and have been over the last few years.
The first step really, genuinely is and was, taking responsibility for where I am and how I’ve gotten here. The good, the bad, the ugly…it was all me.
But the explanation or the reasons for all of the things is both simple and complicated. You see I’m multi-passionate and I have a great many fears. I’m afraid of failure – which you would think with such an intimate understanding of it my fear would have subsided by now…which I suppose to some degree it has. I really think I’m beginning to understand more deeply how I got here more than anything.
You see, I also have a deep fear of success. I’m afraid of how much would be required of me to attain it…I’m terrified of what it would do to my body. And I’ve been deeply afraid of doing anything so well that someone might call me an expert. One could say that I feel completely and wholly like a fraud or an imposter – even though I DO know a lot of things and I have all the capability in the world to make up for any knowledge gaps
Learning that I am autistic and quite likely have bipolar/adhd has helped me begin to recognize my own inability, thus far, to specialize in any one thing. I have so many ideas it becomes challenging to spend a great deal of time on just one. And more to the point, I catch on to things really quickly. I obsess and absorb so much information that I would/could be considered a intermediate level thinker about the subject. And it’s hard to keep learning new things about the subject until new info comes out which can take a while. And so I get bored and move on.
There’s more to this part of the story. Let’s move on though and I’ll circle back around.
In the last decade i’ve spread myself across any number of projects…such as:
- Youtube videos
- Personal Training
- Clean living/Essential Oils
- Interior Design
- Business planning
- Business Strategy
- Virtual Assistant
- Web Design
- House Cleaning
- Real Estate
I’ve managed to spread myself quite thin and it has caused a massive amount of health problems and I’m sure to those who know me – in fact those I’m with in contact with have confirmed how absolutely confusing all of this is because some of these things have nothing to do with anything else.
And I hop back and forth among all these things and study them all and then get bored and move on.
I’m telling you all this to really explain to you how autism, adhd, and other executive functioning things work sometimes.
Would you believe me if I told you I was interested and enjoyed ALL the things on that list in one way or another. That they all light me up! That I truly enjoy watching, learning, and researching about all these things? And that I’ve tried – somewhat successfully to make all of these things a part of my – let’s pay the bills lifestyle?
I once had someone say to me, “you’ve never been really successful at anything have you?” She meant like expert level – knock it out of the park – make a shit ton of money successful. At the time I found it super offensive to be honest but I just answered no and felt like absolute garbage for a good while after that encounter. Truth is she really was right and the two big truths that came from that experience…I wasn’t ready to admit that I was still blaming others for MY problems and I hadn’t healed enough and because of that I was constantly sabotaging everything JUST as it started to go well.
So how do you navigate that? How do I stop the self sabatoge? Well that’s a great question and honestly I’m still working out the answer to that.
I have had numerous clients in different areas – bookkeeping (3 years), house cleaning (2 years), personal training (almost 3 years), VA (currently the longest client I’ve ever had is 1.5 years).
Here’s what I’ve recognized (told you we’d circle back around)…I tend to “get bored” – which in reality is actually scared – just as things start to go well.
I tell myself I need to switch directions and I give up on myself. I’ve given up on myself so much in the last 10 years and that’s caused so much self trust issues which bleeds into trusting others issues that it’s really tough to figure out how to even unpack it let alone course correct.
But here’s what I AM doing about this. I find that I will find any number of things that I “need to do” that have nothing to do with the actual act of finding more clients. I definitely do the work I’m given by clients but I don’t have enough clients currently to sustain me. A few examples of this are something to the effect of, “oh I need to research this topic or that topic” instead of talking to people every single day about what I do and seeking to add to my client roster. I need to run to Target for this or that rather than sitting down and DOING THE HARD WORK! And I’ve convinced myself (until recently) that I was still working on my business and I was doing my very best. I’d sit down to lead generate and I’d end up commenting on friends Facebook feeds or mindlessly scrolling insta instead of starting conversations and getting into fb groups to help. Or of the hour i’d spend on social media i’d comment on one or two posts or ask a question or two and that’d be it.
Boy was that wrong. That was just one more way I’d sabatoge myself. Avoidance! Claiming that I just didn’t know what I needed to be doing to advance my business. When the truth was I needed to be talking to people. I needed to be present and focused and ASKING others what they needed and offering up help and advice and ASKING for the damn sale! I wasn’t doing this enough AT ALL!
So if any of this sounds familiar just know you aren’t alone. But let’s figure out an action plan for us both that will keep us on track.
I decided to create a to do list of income producing activities. For me this meant doing client work and it also meant actual outreach every single day of the work week. It meant actually having conversations with people.
I had set this goal before but it always felt really overwhelming to me so I decided this time I was going to ease in. I set a goal of speaking to 1 person per day. And I did it! YAY! Happy dance. Then I decided this last week I’d bump it up to 2 people a day…you know what happened? Avoidance. I needed a target run and wander the store looking at shower curtains. So here’s the deal. It has to not feel overwhelming and it has to not feel overwhelming for a little bit before you scale bigger. 1 person felt uncomfortable…2, even though I felt I should have been ready for it I was not…so I’m now rewording it. This week the goal is going to be to talk to “at least 1 person” about bookkeeping. You see how that works? It empowers me to do what I’ve been doing but also to do more if I feel like I’m on a roll.
I also started thinking of ways to reach out to others that didn’t have me facing rejection right that second. I asked some questions on fb and was given a brilliant idea to connect with other professionals in my niche to begin finding some people to create a referral network with. So while this is not directly connecting with people this is a step in the right direction and potentially a source of multiple people all at once.
So here’s my list of how to overcome your fears and scale in a way that feels good.
- Decide on how many people you could speak to each day. It needs to be a number that you are actually willing to do…seriously one may be it! The idea here is to create a solid track record of accomplishing the thing.
- Do this for 2 weeks but on the second week open the floor to doing more…so maybe you add 1 and see how you go that week or maybe you just say AT LEAST 1.
- Find other ways to connect with people who could be a solid space for referrals
- Find any local or online associations that hold meetings or online co-working space
- If you are unable to find any that appeal to you try creating your own with the goal of getting 2 to 4 other people to do a co-working/networking session.
- The goal would be to set this meetup for the following week or the week after. You do not want to wait too long as you’ll lose people. Make sure that you set a time that the meet will take place.
- Connect in fb groups and start answering and asking questions. Be aware this is a long game. It does not lead to overnight success.
- See where you can offer a free call to people to help them with a small piece of the larger problem you solve. If it seems like a good fit on the call you pitch. If not you’ve provided value and helped them and gained some experience.
- Start doing coffee chats. These are not sales calls. These are calls to connect with others and learn about other types of businesses and share about yours. I’ve gotten a lot of business referrals this way.