fear of success

Why are insults stickier than compliments?

I got my first client for Brutal First Impressions yesterday! She wrote to me today telling me how useful my service was and how much she appreciated the unbiased opinion. I read her sweet words and was flattered, but then I went about my day as usual. A few hours later, I checked Facebook, and noticed a stranger had shared my BFI facebook page with a message saying “who would ever pay for this?” After reading that I was in a bad funk for hours.

Why did the great words someone went out of her way to write to me affect me for a few short minutes, but a mean comment lingered in the back of my mind for hours? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all dwelled on compliments the way we dwell on insults.

At the end of the day I have to embrace any insults hurled at my business because it means that I am growing. I’m leaving the safe bubble of people who care about my feelings, and entering a larger playing field where, yes, some people might not like me or my ideas.

It’s ironic that I have such thin skin when I have a business where I brutally judge people; however, I think it’s my thin skin that makes me better at consulting. I know how to give feedback in a caring, sensitive way that motivates someone to improve themselves not tear themselves down. I want to continue helping people be the best versions of themselves and grow my business so I know I need to thicken my skin so I don’t waste hours in a funk. The only way to thicken my skin is to expose it to the elements and that includes insults. But it also means surrounding myself with supportive people as well. Please follow Brutal First Impressions on Facebook, and remind me that I have an amazing support network 🙂

The Best Kind of Butterflies

Last week I stood outside a building in midtown, feeling like I was going to throw up. I had a meeting set up with an executive from a large publishing house, and I prayed desperately that he forgot about our meeting and I could go home. Was it too late to run away?

I had only ever felt this overwhelming physical anxiety once before and that was when I was going to meet my now husband for our second date. I knew in my gut that he was exactly the kind of guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. As I waited for the train to take me to his town, fear swept in and I began to question if I was ready for this next step. I had only ever been in unsatisfying relationships before, but at least that was comfortable and known. I didn’t know what it would be like to date someone who I was wild about.

Sometimes our fear of happiness can be greater than our present discontent. Fortunately, I got over my nerves, got on the train, and we had one of our best dates ever. Thank god I didn’t let fear stop me.

I remembered that train ride as I waited for the publisher, and reminded myself that it was good to feel fear: it means that my life is about to expand into a greater comfort zone. Eventually the executive from the publishing house came down to meet me and we had lunch. It was an incredible meeting. He was so positive and encouraging. He agreed to read 50 pages of my manuscript and if he likes it, he’ll put me in touch with the people who can help me get published!!!

If you ever feel fear before you do something new, embrace it. As Paulo Coelho wrote in The Alchemist, “Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”