In my NLP training one of the things I learned to do was to ask specific questions so that I could gain a better understanding of the person I was talking with. Questions that helped me to understand important things about them, like what motivated them, how they made choices and how they “saw” the world. In NLP they are called Meta Program questions-they identify the mental filters that we use to experience the world and they uncover our unconscious preferences – how we process information and how we behave.
A few days ago, when I sat down at my computer and opened up this page, I asked myself one of those questions: “How do I know when I am doing a good job?”
I am a recent blow-in to blogging. (I’ve been too busy building a business and running on the endless treadmill that a lot of us call “living” to be sitting around and doing what I love ie: writing.)
Now I have created space to write. I’m loving what I’m doing. I’m going to be writing a lot more. But… how do I know I’m doing a good job with this article writing?
For me, I have what is known as an internal frame of reference with an external check when it comes to judging how well I am doing. (ie: I write something that I think is kick *rse and I get a great feeling inside-you know, that warm inner glow you get when you just “know” you’ve done a good job? Then I do the external check to make sure that the outside world also perceives it in a positive way-that it’s had the desired effect. (ie: someone actually read it and enjoyed it or found it useful in some way).
In things that are familiar and comfortable for me, quite often the external check is not so important. If it feels all okay I’m happy to go with it, to trust my instincts and simply enjoy the personal satisfaction I get. If I get positive feedback that is a bonus but I’m not reliant on it-a little bit of feedback goes a long way.
But, when you’re starting something new (and maybe something a bit scary) the external feedback becomes a little more important so, when I don’t get feedback of any sort, my fear response kicks in and that sneaky little bastard we know as “Self Doubt” raises its ugly little mug and whispers “Hmmm, no one’s commented on your blog. Obviously it was a pile of crap…”
Then the internal dialogue starts “Maybe I’m off track? Maybe what I’m writing about is not relevant/useful/interesting? What could I do differently?…”
Now, for most of us, this is where the wheels start to fall off our little red wagons and we go traipsing off down the old path we know so well straight into the spooky forest of fear….(insert spooky music here! )
We start to make all sorts of assumptions (negative of course), we start to feel all naked and vulnerable and exposed and we begin to personalise it (no one likes my blog… (ie: no one likes me!)… I’m a failure… I’m useless…)
Then we begin to make excuses -to start covering up our perceived failure and to save face. (“I really wasn’t enjoying it anyway/it was taking too much time/I have a new more exciting project that I’m working on…” – all crap of course!)
And then we simply QUIT. We take the easy way out. The way of “Oh well, at least I tried… I gave it a shot…”
As for me, I gave “Self-Doubt” a brief moment of my time then decided “Stuff it-this is fun and I’m doing it anyway!”
Ironically, soon after, the phone rang and someone told me how they’d read that particular post,(Tips For Avoiding Overwhelm) burst into tears and had a life changing moment of awareness.
Later in the day another person explained how she had read the post and finally understood her father after all of these years and how her whole way of interacting with him had shifted as a consequence.
Then yet another call just this moment with someone who said they’d shared this post with six others and they’d had a group discussion about how simple it all was and to say thanks.
So, I just wanted to share that with you and to say thank you to all of those people who are taking time to check in and read my offerings (including my new readers in Bangladesh-how cool is that!?) I hope you’re enjoying reading them as much as I’m enjoying writing them.
And to remind us all that if you’re doing what you love then you’re always on the right track….