“Vulnerability is not weakness.” – Brene Brown
It really hurt to hit the send button on the email this morning.
I had just typed out an email to a colleague asking for help with some marketing ideas. It was a follow up email on advice he had given me but that I didn’t understand. I used words like “stupid” and “silly” to describe how I was feeling about myself. The thoughts running through my head weren’t exactly helping:
“This is stuff you should already know!”
“He’s going to think you’re an idiot!”
“People are going to finally realize you’re a fraud!”
The big switch
With the launch of Your First 1000 Copies, it was a big shift in what I do. Over the last five years I’ve worked with over 100 authors to build their platforms, connect with readers and sell more books. Now, I’m looking at how I can help 10,000 authors. It’s big. It’s scary. It’s completely different from anything else I’ve done.
What does this mean?
I need help.
I’m also going to have to relearn some hard lessons.
Recognizing and battling pride
As I laid on the ground gasping for breath, one of the new guys became very concerned and asked if I was alright. One of the regulars laughed and said, “Yeah, he’s fine. If Tim’s not laying on the floor then we know something is wrong.”
For the last two years I’ve been a member of a CrossFit affiliate. It’s a pretty intense exercise program. I realized early on that if I was going to succeed, I had to check my pride at the door. I can’t show up and worry what other people think about me, how I look when I’m working out or, especially, what I do when the workout is over. I’ve screamed, I’ve blacked out, I’ve cried and I’ve found myself hanging over a trash can praying not to vomit.
I’ve also gotten stronger and faster than I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve lifted over 400 lbs, placed 3rd in a 12 hour mountain bike race and run in a hellacious 10 mile off-road race. All things that would have never happened if I didn’t regularly ask for help and push myself well past the normal point of embarrassment.
Since realizing that pride was going to hold me back in my fitness, I’ve started to see how pride holds me back in so many other areas of my life.
Things I don’t know how to do
I’m a horrific speller. I’ve already misspelled and used autocorrect on both “alright” and “embarrassment” above. I regularly look up the right spelling of words by Googling my version and trusting the search engine to give me the right answer. I also just recently understood the difference between “to” and “too” but still have to look up the difference between “accept” and “except”. Most of the time I just come up with a different way of writing something instead of trying to use those words.
Here’s something else I don’t know how to do.
Sell 10,000 copies of my book in a year.
Two weeks ago I announced my experiment to sell 10,000 copies in the first year after launching Your First 1000 Copies. It’s a big goal. It’s a goal that I’ve realized I can’t do by myself.
It’s something else that I’m going to have leave my pride at the door and ask for help if I’m going to achieve it.
What is pride?
As usual, the actual definition of pride from the dictionary isn’t too helpful:
“a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.”
Here’s how I go about identifying pride in myself:
- I don’t tell someone something or ask a question because I’m worried what they will think of me.
- I don’t take an action I want to take because I’m worried what people will think of me.
- I have thoughts that tell myself I’m not good or worthy enough to achieve what I’m going after (self-deprecation is another, nastier form of pride).
Learning to identify pride in our life is extremely important. It can often be a subtle thing that lies just below the surface but drives many of our actions. Of course, all pride isn’t bad. My pride keeps me from singing too loudly around other people, and we can all be thankful for that.
However, when it comes to big, audacious goals that we want to achieve in our life, pride can be the biggest thing that holds us back and keeps us living a mediocre, top-of-the-bell-curve life.
How do you overcome pride?
When I identify pride in my life — the kind holding me back from achieving my goals — I’ve come up with a few things that can help me move past it.
- Focus on the goal. If the goal is important enough to you, you’ll be able to sacrifice your pride and move past it. I have fitness goals I want to achieve and that means I can’t worry about what those around me think while I’m working out.
- Focus on others. My goal to sell 10,000 copies isn’t just about me. It’s about helping 10,000 authors reach their goals. It’s about sharing my journey with you so you can learn from my mistakes and be successful. You are more important than my pride.
- What is the worst that could happen? Run your fear scenario out to the very end. If you completely fail, what is the worst that could happen? My guess is your family, friends and health will still be intact. In most cases you’ll find your fear is unfounded.
- Make peace with the possibility of failure. As the great Zig Ziglar said, “Failure is an event, not a person.” With every big, audacious goal, failure is a possibility. If your pride of not wanting to fail is holding you back, take some time up front to make peace with it and then move forward.
We all need each other
In the past two weeks I’ve had half a dozen people offer to help me reach me goal in various ways. I’ve had exciting opportunities cross my desk. I’ve had some really good ideas.
I’ve also sat paralyzed in my office chair wondering why I started this whole damn experiment in the first place because I can’t seem to come up with a single useful idea.
Which is when I reached out to my friends to ask for advice.
If you and I are going to achieve our goals — especially the big, audacious, there-is-no-way-this-is-gonna-work-but-I’m-gonna-do-it-anyway goals — we need to be able to identify our pride, move past it and ask for help.
We all need each other to succeed and make this world a better place.