Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Have you ever been asked if you can do something that you’d love to do, but, you don’t feel ready or aren’t sure how you’d accomplish it? Or it’s the last minute and you don’t feel you have enough time to prepare? We usually believe that we need to do more than necessary to get something done. That belief is ultimately driven by fear or doubt in your ability, which motivates you to create excuses. Having to accept an offer quickly is scary.

When confidence is low, you’re more likely not to take it. Yet when you do, your confidence will grow for the next time.

When I was a DoorMat, I longed to do so many things but when opportunities arose, I always had excuses not to take them. I had too much on my plate or I didn’t have enough time to prepare. During that time I wrote a children’s picture book. I wanted to be a writer but didn’t know if I was good enough to do it. By chance I met an editor form a major children’s book publisher. When I told her I’d written the book, she got interested and asked me to send it.

Since it was written already, I put it in the mail the next day. Shortly after, I heard from the editor, saying that the editorial board loved my take on the topic. But, there were some changes that needed to be made in the story first. She gave detailed instructions. But I began to doubt myself. I decided I needed to wait till I had lots of time to think it over. As time passed, I’d look at her instructions and make more excuses. I was scared of my rewrite being rejected

When I finally pushed myself to do it, I called the editor as she told me to do before sending it. Sadly, she was gone and no one else could help me. It’s so hard to get in the door at this publishing house, no less to get interest from an editor, and my procrastination based on not feeling I could write the book properly kept me from finding out if I could. Now if an opportunity arises that I’d like to do, I follow the advice of Theodore Roosevelt:

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, Certainly I can and get busy and find out how to do it.”

In my music biz books I tell musicians that if a last minute opportunity comes up that would help their career but scares the daylights out of them, say yes, and then figure out how to do it. That’s what I do now. When I was called on a Sunday and asked if I could fly to Chicago the next day to be on Oprah, and be the only expert guest, and they told me what they wanted me to talk about, I began to panic inside. The old messages screamed, “Can you do what they want? Do you have enough time to get ready?” But it was Oprah and I had to do it so I said yes. And I did great!

When it’s something you really want, you figure out ways to make it happen. You take the risks. You say, “Yes I can!” Otherwise, you stay in old ruts that you never get out of and happiness will always be elusive. If someone wants to hire you to do your skill but you’ve never gotten paid before, take the chance and say yes! Then get busy and figure out how to do it. The worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out, which will leave you no worse off than if you didn’t try.

My first big “Yes I can!” was leaving DoorMatville. I stayed there for years but knew I’d never be happy until I left. When I had to move out of my apartment and was looking for another one in the same area, my best friend pushed me to move into the city. I was terrified as it would cut off some income sources that I couldn’t do from there. I got an offer for a place in my neighborhood and one for a place in the city. “What did I want?” I asked myself, knowing it was to live in the city. And that’s where I went, fears and all because I said, “Yes I can take that apartment.”

That was my biggest step out of DoorMatville. I left the world of what I thought was security behind and had to reinvent myself. Had I not done that I wouldn’t have written fourteen books or had the career I do. Next time someone asks if you can do something, and you want to but you’re scared or believe you need more time to prepare, force yourself to say, “Yes, I can” and figure out how to do it!

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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