I have a friend in the marketing business. He knows (or at least thinks) he should be producing more content to promote himself, his expertise and his company.
Yet he constantly falls short, saying, “I feel like I don’t have anything to say.”
To which I say: Bu**shit.
He has plenty to say, after decades of multifaceted experience in the business. He knows more than I do about a lot of specific topics such as the media business, video and audio production.
But rather than chastise him, I empathize. While I’m a little better at consistently creating public content than he is, I’m way behind others—and where I want to be personally. So I feel my friend’s pain and know exactly how he feels a lot of times, for different reasons. My excuses include:
- I think what I have to say on a subject has already been said
- I think no one will care what I have to say
- I fill my time with other activities to avoid putting myself “out there”
- I feel inferior to others with a bigger following, bigger business, better looks, a silkier voice, you name it
- Like many people, I question my abilities at times (the dreaded Imposter Syndrome)
- I justify not having the “right equipment” (despite having a smartphone, which is all you need these days)
How to Find Your Voice and Use It
Here are ways to overcome inertia and share more of your knowledge with the world.
Believe in yourself.
It all starts here. Go look in the mirror and psych yourself up. You’re worthy, and you’re unique. In fact, you are infinitely unique—an extraordinary miracle.
Don’t believe me? Read this.
Stop and assess.
Slow down and quiet your monkey mind. Do a SWOT analysis on yourself (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats). What do you know? What do you want to know? What are you good at? What can you improve? What opportunities are you missing by keeping stuff to yourself?
If need be, take out a pen and paper and start writing. Force yourself to keep going for at least 30 minutes. You’ll be surprised what you discover you know or are itching to discover.
Focus on providing value.
Think about what would happen if you saw someone in mortal danger and you just stood there or walked by. You would have to live knowing you failed to act.
Give yourself the same challenge by refusing to let others down by holding back with what’s inside you—your message.
And remember that if what you do is completely self-serving, don’t be surprised if it falls flat or fails.
Think like a journalist.
Journalists are not necessarily an expert on a given subject at first. Instead, they are trained to be an expert questioner. They are curious. They probe. They break down complex subjects into simple components then reassemble them to make sense.
Anthropologists do something similar. They study cultures with intense curiosity and document everything until slowly a picture develops of how the puzzle pieces fit together. They develop theories and, over time, try to prove or disprove them as new details emerge.
Be inquisitive and share what you find.
Adopt a Beginner’s Mind.
Even if you already know a lot about a subject and are considered an “expert” or a “guru,” I guarantee you don’t know everything. It sometimes is humbling, rewarding and even exhilarating to take several steps back and act like you’re starting for the first time. Pretend you know nothing.
Put a stake in the ground using your calendar. Block out the time required to do the work.
Tell yourself you are going to do this: create content on X dates and not back out.
One great technique I learned is using the phrase, “I’m the kind of person who…” As in, “I’m the kind of person who writes a blog post and publishes a podcast episode a week, regardless of what is going on.”
The opposite has to be true for this to work: “I’m not the kind of person who starts and stops and is wishy-washy in what I set out to accomplish.”
To visualize the power of this sentiment another way: “I’m the kind of person who eats an apple when I’m hungry…not a handful of chips.”
You get the idea.
Make a promise to yourself. Better yet, make it public—even if it’s just between you and one other trusted person.
Everything is possible when you have the support of others.
Dive in. Start. Don’t overthink it. Start a podcast. Grab your phone and go live with video on Facebook. Set up a blog on WordPress.
Do stuff that scares you. Don’t worry about what others think.
You’re not going to be perfect overnight. In fact, you are never going to be perfect–no one is (even the pros). Guess what? People like others who are like them—flaws and all.
Study and emulate.
Plenty of people have blazed the trail before you…including introverts and severely frightened/dysfunctional/inferior/unworthy types who overcame their shortcomings and pushed ahead anyway. Be inspired by them and copy what works.
Just don’t copy too much…be yourself. The world needs you.