There’s only so much you can learn about yourself by thinking.
Am I good enough?
Are my ideas good enough?
Am I ready to go public, speak, launch, write?
Who’s really going to listen to me?
What if I fail?
What if I succeed?
What if my assumptions are massively wrong, or right?
You can spin these questions in your head ad nauseum. Most people do.
But, you know what’s happening while you’re lost in the process of arguing both sides of every conversation ever had in your head?
Life is happening.
But not yours.
Your life is on hold. Being kept from happening by the merciless cacophony of conversation that spirals and splinters through your brain, leaving you incapable of action. Paralyzed.
Among my close friends, colleagues and those I’ve been blessed to work with, I’ve gotten a bit of a reputation for being, how do I say this…kind, but blunt. I try to be gentle, but I don’t sugarcoat. One of the things I’ve ended up saying over and over is…
Get out of your head and into the world.
A bit of introspection, contemplation and internally-birthed wisdom is good. But all too often, we try to find answers in the world inside us that exist only through engaging with the world around us. We choose guessing over testing, because we’re terrified of failing, or being wrong and then being judged.
Here’s the deal.
You will be wrong.
You will be judged.
You will be awful as often as you are awesome.
People will know when you mess up.
Will that hurt?
If your ego and your metric for success are tied to being right, then yes. It’ll suck.
If your ego and your metric for success are tied to action and learning, then the suck-factor becomes overpowered by the fact that, in moving an idea from that cerebral pit of despair known as your mind, and putting it into the world to generate information, data, knowledge, you’ve already won. And the data that comes from your “test,” whether it validates or obliterates your assumptions, lays the foundation for growth.
Only when you get out of your head do you create the opportunity to know, not guess, if you are good enough, if “it” is good enough. If you are, how wonderful. And, if you’re not, how wonderful that you now know, and you can stop frittering away your life with merciless self-talk…and DO something about it.
Life is a contact sport.
It’s about engaging with, rather than hiding from the world.
You can’t avoid the contact, without also avoiding the life.
Does that mean you run recklessly into it?
Some people do. It’s the running with scissors or running with the bulls approach. Too much machismo and risk for me. And likely for you.
I tend to take a more “artisanal” approach to engaging my ideas with life. I start in my head, let the concepts gestate, but not for too long. Then I choose a palate or channel or medium or outlet to begin to test elements of my ideas and my own personal capabilities.
Example? I test concepts for books and articles, for media and art, for future merchandise and shows on social media all the time. I do calls or impromptu meetings, gatherings or workshops to both offer value, but simultaneously test snippets.
Standup comedians are legendary for this. They’ll workshop an act for months or even years to get a single set nailed down. Seinfeld is famous for working a single line for years to refine it. And I’ve no doubt, his joke graveyard exponentially outsizes his list of epic snort-laughs.
We’re like those comics, doesn’t matter how funny the line is in your head, if the audience hates it, it’s gotta go. All the contemplation and introspection in the world will not tell you how it’s going to land. Only one way to get your answer.
Get out of your head and into the world.
So, here’s my invitation…
You know that thing you’ve been arguing both sides of in your head?
C’mon. You know. If you don’t, I can virtually guarantee your lying to yourself.
What single action can I take today that will replace my assumptions with information?
Then take that action.
Test your ideas in a safe place – One of the most powerful ways to get out of your head into the world is to do it in a “safe” environment, with a group of people who are all-in, committed to shared vulnerability, accelerated growth and elevation. If you have that group, awesome. If not, come play with me and your hand-picked family of world-changers in this year’s Good Life Project Immersion.
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