Career & Self-Help Writing and Querying

Three Lies That Once Held Me Back

Last week I mentioned sharing a few more lies that used to hold me back. So, I’m diving into three more of those untrue opinions that once prevented me from doing the big things I had the potential to do. As always I love sharing in the hopes that my lies encourage you to think of your own.

I don’t have the personality to work in business.

Haha. Man, I love this one. My mom is a retired professor and my dad is an attorney, so growing up I thought I would go into education, writing, or law. If you had told me I would open my own business one day, I probably would have laughed at you. But, here we are in my 30s and I, in fact, own my own business.

Do I have a business degree, amazing financial acumen, accounting and bookkeeping skills, and the ability to persuade anyone to buy anything? The answer is absolutely not. What I’ve figured out is I can learn things along the way. I’ve learned how to manage accounts receivable and payable. I’ve learned how to use some Excel functions to make my life easier. I’ve also learned to be authentic to who I am. I’ve figured out how to connect with clients to help with their needs in a way that fits with my personality and style. I’ll never be an in-your-face hard sales type of person, and you know what, I don’t need to be.

We all have the ability to figure things out and do things in our own authentic ways. I think the lie is telling ourselves we don’t.

If I say no, people will be disappointed in me.

This one’s a work in progress, but I realize that saying no is a powerful tool. Not only for you, but for the person you’re saying no to. Hear me out. If you say yes to something that you don’t really want to do, don’t have the capacity to do, don’t have the skills to do and aren’t interested in building those skills to do, then you aren’t avoiding disappointment. You’re delaying it.

Ultimately, the person you are trying so hard not to disappoint, will be disappointed because you either aren’t the right fit, don’t have the time to put in the effort they need, or don’t have the skills. Wouldn’t it be better to express those things on the outset? Man, I think it would save a lot of time, energy, and effort. By the way, I’m also talking to myself on this one. Note to self: say no more to avoid disappointment.

I don’t have enough original ideas to be a fiction writer.

No idea is truly original. I get it, yours totally is. Sure, sure. But really any author has influences. People they admire, styles they like, tropes they love. Want some proof? Spoiler alert: Harry Potter, arguably one of the most successful fantasy series of all time, ends with a resurrection story. Ever heard a resurrection story before? Why does that sound familiar?

Oh yeah, because the best-selling book of all time is the Bible. Yep, Harry dies and then comes back to life like another well-known dude.

I have a friend who says all writing is stealing. He’s not suggesting you plagiarize, but he is pointing out the truth. We get ideas from the world around us, the stories we hear, the people we meet, the books we read. It’s not some big mystery.

So, this belief that you need to have some amazing, life-altering original idea is a lie. Your work will be original because it’s unique to your voice, your experiences, and your style. I could give each of you the same exact writing prompt and you would all write that piece differently. The magic of originality is in you.

There you have it, friends, three more lies that used to hold me back. What lies have you told yourself that held you back? How did you get past them?

Photo by Ben Kolde

1 Comment

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