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295: Get out of your own way

If you’re struggling to grow in your creative business, you might be the thing holding yourself back. Learn how to get out of your own way at TaraSwiger.com/podcast295

Are you getting in the way of your handmade business moving forward? Yeah, it’s time to get out of your own way.

Lately we’ve been doing a series on how to make your 2020 goals come true. In episodes 292 and 293, I gave you lots of applicable, step-by-step advice on how to increase sales, so be sure to head over to TaraSwiger.com/launch if you missed that.

But as I said in those episodes, only a small percentage of people will follow through with the action plan.

Why?

Well, for some listeners, what I shared just isn’t applicable. Maybe you don’t have a business.

Maybe you are just starting and you don’t have any products yet.

For some listeners, growth isn’t their primary goal in 2020. Maybe you have more demand than you can supply. Or perhaps your work day has gone wonky, and what you want to work on this year is working LESS or taking more time off or stopping work at a certain time.

We’re not always in a place of growth.

Or maybe you’re like I was in 2019, where your life has been upended and your main goal is to just HOLD ON and try to figure out a new way to move forward (or even stay in the same place) with totally new circumstances. Last year my own focus wasn’t the growth of my business, it was the growth of my family.

Wherever you are is perfect.

But what about those listeners who DO have products, who have a way to sell them, and who have the goal to increase their sales in 2020?

Why don’t they follow through?

We hit on some of the reasons last week (in episode 294) – you may feel unfocused, feel like you don’t have enough time, or feel overwhelmed and stuck in self-doubt.

In other words, you’re not moving forward because YOU are holding yourself back.

Last week I gave you some homework – to write down HOW you were holding yourself back and WHY you might have done that.

(If you skipped the homework you can hit pause now and write it down, or even record it as a voice memo to yourself!)

Why are you doing this? Well, without hearing your answers, I can make a guess, because this is what stops me: Fear.

Fear of the unknown.
Fear that I won’t be safe.
Fear that everyone will realize I have no idea what I’m doing and they (you) will think it’s all a scam and everyone will hate me (and I’ll be broke and alone).
Fear that I’ll get it wrong, that people will see me get it wrong and then will all leave and my business will fall apart (and I’ll be broke and alone).

That’s kind of intense, right? 

But that’s why this fear is so good at holding us back – we never look directly at it, so it just bubbles up underneath the surface and we feel a kind of uneasiness or nervousness or self-doubt. We don’t feel “quite right” so we don’t step forward.

What do you do about it? 

Good news: We’ve already done the first step! The first step is to bring it to conscious awareness so we can SEE the fear, so it stops running the show from the background.

Then, we need to acknowledge it for what it is. It isn’t that WE suck. It isn’t that we need to do more or learn more or get more confident.

Fear holding you back is a NATURAL part of growth and exploration. Your fear is your sweet little brain trying to keep you safe. That’s it’s whole job! It’s saying “Hey there, I don’t know about that, I need to keep you alive so BACK AWAY FROM THE UNKNOWN.”

If you’ve experienced trauma (whether it was one-time acute trauma or ongoing trauma like an unsafe childhood), your brain is a SPECIALIST in spotting danger (maybe where there isn’t any!) and keeping you safe. This may be why you experience something that SEEMS simple  (like talking to strangers in your craft booth, or posting a personal post on Instagram) as terrifying and flight-fight-freeze inducing.

Understanding and accepting this about yourself and your sweet little (confused) brain is vital to you moving forward. It shifts your focus from “pushing forward” to “gently finding a way forward.” Because when you push? Your fear pushes back. When you gently find a way to feel safe while doing the thing?” Your fear settles down.

Your fear just wants to be noticed and heard.

So we’ve identified it, we’ve recognized that it’s trying to keep us safe, but how do we hear it without letting it run the show?

Let it have it’s say – let your fear tell you what’s the worst that can happen.

Tim Ferris calls this “fear-setting”, it’s like the opposite of goal-setting, but is important if you’re going to move forward with a goal. Marie Forleo has a version of this exercise in her book Everything is Figureoutable. In other words, this works. So try it.

Pull out a piece of paper and answer:
What am I afraid of actually happening?
What is the absolute worst case scenario if that fear comes true?
And then what else horrible will happen?

And now that you’ve listened to your Fear, you’ve let it really unspool its dark fantasy,  it’s time to apply some reality to your fear.

If that happened, the absolute worst case scenario… what would you do?

How could you come back from it?
What skills, abilities and experiences do you have that you could use?

When I’ve done this with Starship Captains, we always take a deep breath and feel a little shaken and a little relieved. It is SCARY to think of all that can go wrong! But I bet you noticed that your worst case scenario is actually kinda… figureoutable? There’s very little you’re going to do in your business that’s going to shake the core of what you value. Your Etsy shop isn’t going to kill your loved ones. Your email newsletter isn’t going to push your friends away. Unless you’re becoming a skydiving instructor, your business is unlikely to cause you bodily harm.

So, how do you feel? Deep breath! Do you feel a little more able to move forward?

(If not, did you do this in your head, or in writing? When you just think it, your brain often distracts you with other stuff and you don’t really go all the way. Write it down.)

Now, listen. This is not a one-time thing. If it were, I would be fearless and unwavering since the first time I did this back in 2006!

Instead, this allows us to take the NEXT STEP. Which is all we need for now.

But it is very likely the fear is going to jump back up when we come to the next unknown thing.

Elizabeth Gilbert says (in her book Big Magic, which is great) that we may not ever be able to get Fear out of the car, on our journey. But we CAN stop Fear from driving the car or grabbing the steering wheel or pumping the breaks. We can ride with Fear next us. We can acknowledge the work it’s trying to do (keep us safe), appreciate that, and still choose to not let it run the show. (This is a lot like driving with a screaming toddler in the backseat.)

Sooo, bad news! You’re going to have to do this a lot. I need to acknowledge and listen to my Fear every time I set a new goal. Every time I start a new project. Sometimes I have to do it before a speaking gig, when my nerves get bad! I had to do it when I became a foster mom! Every time I level up or my business levels up, I have to do it again.

But here’s what I hope you take from this podcast episode – YOU are holding yourself back, because your brain is trying to keep you ALIVE. YOU are a smart, capable, adorable human who is capable of so much more than you think, if you find  a way to gently move past your stuck places. You don’t need to feel (or be) fearless to take the next step. You will build confidence through ACTION.

I am wishing you so much peace and courage this week.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

294: What’s holding you back?

What’s holding you back in your creative biz? Even though the answer is totally different for each of us, there are also a TON of similarities. Learn how to overcome what’s holding you back in your biz at TaraSwiger.com/podcast294

What’s holding you back?

What is keeping you from achieving a profitable, sustainable business that you feel confident in? What is keeping you from working towards your goals every week?

We’ve been working on reaching your sales goal, all month. To hear episodes about increasing and sustaining your sales, tune in to episodes 292 & 293. After those episodes, I debated over what to cover next and then I realized: what’s keeping you from your goal is different for everyone. You have your own roadblock, so let’s talk about and work through it!

One of the questions I ask everyone when they join my free FB group (are you a member yet?) is, “When it comes to your business being profitable AND doable, what do you think is standing in your way?”

So today that’s what we’re going to talk about: the things that are standing in your way. And next week, we’ll talk more about how to get out of your own way.

It’s my hope that hearing what’s holding others back will help you recognize what’s holding you back, what is standing in your way.

So what is holding MOST handmade business back?

The answers I get most often:

Focus – I just can’t seem to work on what matters, I keep getting distracted!
Time – I don’t have enough time or I’m not using my time effectively (focus!)
Self-doubt or confidence – I doubt myself and so don’t act. If I were more confident I would act
Fear – most people who write this answer don’t give any more details… so I have to guess – are you afraid of failure? Afraid of poverty? Afraid of embarrassment?

Many people answer: ME, I am holding myself back. This feels like the REAL answer to all of these other answers – YOU feel self-doubt or fear. YOU want more confidence. I think this answer is the most truthful answer.

As you read those different answers, which one resonates the most? Which sounds like your internal dialogue?

And here’s the more important question: what are you doing about it?

Most people tell me they are working on marketing – social media, email list, or something systematic.

But… that’s not what’s standing in your way. Not a single person has told me KNOWLEDGE or INFORMATION was standing in their way.

If you know that something else is standing in your way, why aren’t you working on that?

I think the reason it’s that it’s much easier to learn something than it is to change ourselves; it’s easier to listen to another episode than to inquire within.

So what is holding YOU back?

Hit pause, ask yourself this and write down your answer. Write as long as our takes for you to process it.

Now, how are you feeling?
You may be feeling AMAZING because you got some clarity and you’re ready to change.
But you may be feeling pretty bad, because OMG, WHY CAN’T I JUST GET OVER IT. 

I know!

But I have really really good news.

None of this is holding you back.

Bear with me. I know it FEELS like you need less fear, more confidence, more time, more focus to move forward but what if I told you you’re only going to feel less fear and more confidence and you’re going to find the time only AFTER you do the thing?

What if the way to move past what’s holding you back is to let go of it? To let go of the idea that you need to fix it or fix yourself?

What if you were perfectly suited to build your business, as you were?
What if you were ready to move forward on the next project or with the next client, exactly as you are?

I know, I know, you want ACTION ITEMS. You want to DO something.

So I’m going to give you episodes and resources for each of these issues, so you can get some actionable steps.

But. I can tell you, after working with hundreds of makers, designers and artists, you are going to move beyond what’s holding you back only after you believe you will.

Now, belief isn’t the ONLY thing that’s going to build your business.
But without it, you won’t actually take any of the actions that will make a difference.

So, if you’re ready to start believing you CAN move past the fear and time and focus, I’ve got some recommendations for episodes that address each of these in detail.

Focus:

The best way to get focused is to be CLEAR on what you need to focus on. This is why we set goals and then create plans. So you can wake up each day, knowing what you need to do to move forward. My best resource for this is Map Your Business, which you can find at TaraSwiger.com/map

If distraction is your problem, I’ve got a whole kit of resources for you at TaraSwiger.com/distraction – it’ll help you crush marketing distractions and internet distractions!

Time:

Over the years I have written and shared a lot about how to manage your time, get more done and create a productive workday. My absolute best strategies are all in the class Get More Done. I created it at the CreativeLive studio, so it is 5+ hours of professional-quality video lessons, with dozens of worksheets, all at the most affordable price (last time I checked it was $29). Get it here. 

Self-doubt or confidence:

I have a LOT of episodes about this, as well. I also created a BizConfidence free course that I’ll be sharing again later this year.

In the meantime, check out these episodes:

Fear:

What are you afraid of? Failure?

Ok, now the last thing: YOU.

If you were thinking, oh man, I am what is holding me back, I have a little homework for you.
Next week we’re going to go more into how you can stop holding yourself back, and in the meantime, I want you to journal a bit. It doesn’t have to be a special notebook or anything official, just get any scrap of paper and set a timer for 10 minutes and answer the question:
What am I doing to stand in my own way? Why? 

Now, no matter what you wrote on the paper, I want you to practice holding it in kindness and gentleness. Look at it (and you) the way I would, with a lot of love and acceptance, and I’d say “Hey, it’s ok. You’re doing the best you can. It is soooo good that you’re acknowledging whatever this is. Let’s work on it a bit next week.”

I’d love to hear what you think is holding YOU back! Come tell me in our free group – FB.com/groups/taraswiger

I’m wishing you a week full of forward momentum and enthusiasm.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

268: Fear of Success (rebroadcast)

“In my experience of working with creatives, what looks like ‘fear of success’ is usually a fear of something else.” -Tara Swiger Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast268

In today’s rebroadcast we are revisiting a topic that I still get asked about every single week: Fear of Success. So let’s dig deeper: What is it? Once you've identified what you're really afraid of (hint: it's probably not “success”), how do you overcome it? That's what we'll cover today.

In my experience working with creatives, what looks like “fear of success” is usually a fear of something else:

  • Fear that you need to have the kind of “success” other people want … which doesn't appeal to you at all.
  • Fear that you'll change into something you don't like
  • Fear of being seen, noticed, paid attention to
  • Fear of being overwhelmed
  • Fear of disappointing others (when you're so overwhelmed you can't fulfill expectations)
  • Fear you can't handle it
  • Fear of being “found out” for being not good enough (ie, Imposter syndrome)

What are you really afraid of?

We'll discuss these fears and how to create the kind of business success you want, even while feeling the fear.

Be sure to share that you’re listening by using the hashtag #exploreyourenthusiasm on Instagram and follow my Stories and vlog for the most up-to-date info during my hiatus!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

183: How Emotions are Made (and how that impacts your business)

Feelings, both positive and negative, are part of being human. But when we try to deny or ignore what we’re feeling, our feelings can really mess up our creative businesses. Learn all about how to not let what you’re feeling mess with your creative biz on this episode of #ExploreYourEnthusiasm! Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast183

Think about all the decisions that are impacted by your emotions:
Doing a scary thing, you feel fear – is this a sign you shouldn't do it? Getting a grumpy email from a customer – do you react with anger? Or with shame? How does that impact the email you send in response?

Emotions are part of a healthy life, and I'm a big believer in FEELING your feelings, not just shoving them down or ignoring them. They can shine a light on what's going on and what you need to do or stop doing.

Because when they're ignored, or when you act on them unthinkingly, you can really mess up your business! You can lash out or hide or give up entirely, depending on what your emotions tell you.

Links I mentioned:

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Fear + Success: Not Mutually Exclusive

We think that we need to wait to feel fearless + confident before we can pursue our goals + be successful - but that just isn't true. At TaraSwiger.com.

 

Inspired by your replies to the #BizConfidenceChallenge, today we're exploring the intersection of Fear and Success. We think they're mutually exclusive. We think that we need to wait until we have confidence before we take action. We think that if we feel fear, we definitely won't be successful.

 

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Fear of Success {PODCAST}

Fear of Success

Last week a Captain asked me about how to deal with Fear of Success.

First: What is it? Once you've identified what you're really afraid of (hint: it's probably not “success”), how do you overcome it? That's what we'll cover today.

In my experience working with creatives, what looks like “fear of success” is usually a fear of something else:

  • Fear that you need to have the kind of “success” other people want … which doesn't appeal to you at all.
  • Fear that you'll change into something you don't like
  • Fear of being seen, noticed, paid attention to
  • Fear of being overwhelmed
  • Fear of disappointing others (when you're so overwhelmed you can't fulfill expectations)
  • Fear you can't handle it
  • Fear of being “found out” for being not good enough (ie, Imposter syndrome)

What are you really afraid of?

We'll discuss these fears and how to create the kind of business success you want, even while feeling the fear.

 

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

Fear + Marketing {PODCAST}

Fear + Marketing - A podcast episode on TaraSwiger.com

What's keeping you from sharing your work with the people who will love it?

Fear that:

  • It takes too much time?
  • It might not work?
  • You'll look bad?
  • Everyone will hate it (you?!)?

In this week's episode of Explore Your Enthusiasm, I share my own fear around marketing (it ain't pretty) and share three tools for getting past the fear and communicating with the people who will love your work.

Links I mention:

 

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

What have you been avoiding? What wonderful things could it bring into your life?