Can you remember a time when you were afraid of something before you did it for the first time?
Can you remember how that felt?
Can you remember how you felt once you did that thing?
As some time in your life you have started something new.
- We’ve all had to learn something from scratch.
- Take the first lesson.
- Be the new person.
- Be at the bottom of the class.
Somehow we made it through, regardless of how nervous or how afraid we were. We got on with it.
Fear is something we all suffer from, from time to time. Some more than others.
Regardless of how trivial it is from the outside looking in, for the person with the fear it’s very real.
But it’s almost always never as bad as we think it’s going to be, is it?
When it comes to content marketing, fear manifests itself in many different ways.
In this podcast I talk about these fears, how you can change the way you think about fear, and ultimately help you to feel more confident about creating content and sharing your ideas and words with the world.
Enjoy and DFTBA!
Oh, hi, fear. Welcome back. Take a seat. I’ll pop the kettle on, and we can have a good chat. Can you remember being afraid of something before you did it for the first time? Can you remember how that felt for you? And can you remember how it felt once you did that thing? Have a think about that, that experience that you had. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Sometime along the way, through your life, you’ve had to start something new. We’ve all had to learn something from scratch. We’ve had to take the first lesson. We’re had to be the new person in the class. We’ve to start at the bottom.
But somehow we’ve made it through. Regardless of how nervous we were or how afraid we were, we got on with it. Right? Perhaps we get a little more sensitive to new things as we get older, maybe we get tired, maybe we lose our way a little bit, but fear is something we all suffer from, from time to time, some more than others. But regardless of how trivial it is from the outside looking in, for the person with the fear it’s very real, but it’s almost never as bad as we think it’s going to be. In fact, we end up really enjoying the thing. We feel liberated. It’s like the person who is nervous and fearful about going up on stage for the first time. You can’t get the person back off the stage, right? Because they love it so much, and they wonder what they were afraid of in the first place.
In this case we’re really talking about content marketing, right? We’re talking about publishing videos, blogs, and podcasts. We’re not talking about life or death. No one is going to die from publishing content, so when it comes to content marketing, fear manifests itself in different ways, and here are some of the things that I hear and I know that some kind of fear is at the core. Here’s what people say.
“I’ve got a creative writer’s block. My content isn’t going to be good enough. People will critique my work. What will my peers think? What if someone hates what I do? What if someone steals my work? What if no one reads it? What if no one cares? What if I realize that I’m not as knowledgeable as I thought I was? What if I’m no good? What if I’m rejected?”
There’s only really two or three occasions in our lives where we feel real fear. Number one, when we’re being physically threatened in some way, like life or death. Someone is actually threatening us physically. Number two, we’ve been caught doing something that we weren’t supposed to do. Or number three, we’re doing something that’s really pushing us out of our comfort zone. It’s funny with fear, because we do everything in our power to avoid, right? But if we look at this third reason, we’re doing something that’s pushing us out of our comfort zone. In other words, we’re growing. Right? We’re growing. We’re pushing ourself.
This is how I feel about fear. When you feel fear in your business and with content marketing, when you’re pushing blogs, videos, podcasts, whatever you’re trying to do, this creative exercise, the fear is a good sign. It’s a signal that you’re learning and growing, and that the only way for you to grow is through that fear. Now, here’s a quote from David Bowie that I love. I think I’ve maybe mentioned it on the podcast before, I’ve definitely used it in presentations, and I shared it in an essay that I wrote a couple of years ago as well, so here’s the quote.
“If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you are capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
We should be seeking this out, right? We shouldn’t be avoiding it. When it comes to content marketing, some people have lots and lots of ideas. They’ve even created and published some content, but it still feels painful. They never seem to get into their flow. It never feels right for them, and typically the fears are expressed in some form of excuse like, I don’t have the time, writer’s block, et cetera, et cetera, things I’ve already covered, but when we peel away those layers we uncover the real fears and challenges.
And we need to be able to do that so we can help ourselves and we can help others too. So how do we overcome these fears, these fears that are real for us at certain times? How do we get people from where they are to creating content consistently and confidently? So here are eight things, eight short things I’m going to share with you, what I feel that can help people to overcome their fear.
Number one, get over yourself. You are not as important as you might think you are. Right? You’re tiny. In the whole world, there’s seven billion people and all the stuff going on in the world, we are tiny in comparison. We’re not actually that important, and people in the world and are out there have got all their own problems going on in their lives. They don’t have time to worry about you, they aren’t waiting for your content, and they aren’t worried about it. Right? Just we need to get over that part of what’s happening in the world, right? We’re tiny in comparison to everything else.
Number two, everyone has to start somewhere. You can’t expect to be great out of the gate. It’s very rare that someone is awesome from the very start.
Number three, if you don’t start, you’ll never get better, you’ll never truly understand what you’re capable of.
Number four, you have to face your fears. It’s probably the most important fact that will truly make a difference in your life. It’s easy to avoid your fear, but where’s the growth? Finding pleasure and desire is easy, but that’s not how we become great at something. That’s not how we become world-class at something. We have to and we need to be able to stomach the hard stuff.
Number five, you can have some peace of mind that at the start no one is reading, watching, or listening. In fact, at the start it’s typically people that truly believe in you and want you to win that are looking at your content. It’s much more likely that you’ll either get no feedback or positive feedback rather than critique, so at the start you do have a period of forgiveness with everything that you do start for the first time. No one expects you to be amazing from the first time you do something, right? No one expects you to be amazing from the start.
Number six, you’ll be better than you think you are. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that you will do a better job than you think you’re capable of. We’re naturally our own worst critics, and we put ourselves down.
Number seven, you’ll probably regret it if you don’t do it, which leans into number eight.
What’s the alternative? Are you just going to ignore it until when? Six months down the road, still having the same conversations, still having the same challenges? A year? Two years? Three years? Four years past? The time is going to go past for all of us no matter what we do. Are you going to grow? Are you going to do the work? If you’re not greening growing, you are ripening and rotting. There’s no in between, so you have to push yourself. You have to face your fears. Our fear is wrapped up in our past from the experiences and the stories that we’ve been told, and also in our future. We are manifesting the worst case scenarios, setting ourselves up to fail in our heads, so what we need to do is we need to focus on right now, and right now what’s important?
We need to get that piece of marketing out into the world so we can grow our business, so we can get some customers, so we can make a profit, and feed our family. That’s what’s important now. We’ve got this opportunity here to make a big impact on the world, and we’re doing ourselves and our audience a disservice, and I know for a fact that you’re more capable than you think you are. I believe in you and I want you to realize what your potential is, so before I wrap up, a few questions for you to help to make content marketing a priority for you and your business, so when you start you don’t stop, you don’t falter. You’ve got this. All right? So four questions before I finish up.
Number one, why am I doing this? I want you to do this exercise. Why am I doing this? You need the why. We need a real, solid, well thought out reason for why are pursuing content marketing for your business. Why are you writing the blogs? Why are you putting the time and effort into creating and publishing video and podcasts? Whatever you’re doing, why are you doing this? A list of solid, clear, well thought out reasons.
Number two, how will my business benefit and how will you benefit? Looking for a list of all the ways in which your business will benefit from content marketing, and as a bonus, how you will personally grow through that. If it’s going to be writing or video or podcasting, what’s going to be in it for you as well? And your audience, right? How will your audience benefit from that? So it’s like a three-tiered question there.
Number three, what will happen if you do not do this? Imagine your direct competitor started doing what you’ve been thinking about doing for ages, tomorrow. How would you feel about that? You would be gutted. Now is the time. Do not delay.
Number four, final question, what’s really preventing me from taking action? Get super clear on this. It’s not the excuses that you’re telling yourself and other people. Why are you not doing it? What is the real barriers to you making progress? Be honest with yourself on this one.
Once you have done this exercise and you’ve started to write all of these out, you’re going to have a nice inspirational, motivational message for yourself to remind you why you turn up, why you do the hard work, why you turn up in front of the microphone, why you’ve got to write every day, why you’re producing content, and why you’re doing the work that other people necessarily maybe don’t understand or can’t figure out why you’re doing all this work. Right? You’re going to have that message for you, and when something is important to you, when you uncover and write it down in black and white why something is important to you, it’s amazing how you can now find the time, and all of those excuses disappear.
As we wrap up, on fear, think to yourself not what is the worst that could happen, but think positively. What’s the best thing that could happen? What if I’m amazing? What if I get to realize my true potential? What if people really enjoy my content and I can make a bigger impact on the world? What if I start to enjoy it? And my bet is that you do. I think all of these things are possible for you if you’re prepared to have those small moments of discomfort and pain to get to that place where you feel liberated, and you get the desire and the pleasure you’re looking for.
I’ll leave you with this quote from John Keating from my favorite movie, Dead Poets Society. “No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” So don’t let fear control you. Channel it, own it, and work through it. I’d love to hear back from you in this topic. What’s holding you back? What are you afraid of? How have you overcome your fears? You can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet me @chrismarr101. I hope that you’re enjoying the work that you’re doing. I will catch you next time on the CMA Podcast.
Don’t forget to be awesome.