It follows me around — to dinner with my family; during quality time with my kids; in those few precious moments a day when I get to relax and take care of myself. Instead of finishing my day and leaving it “at the office”, I continue to ruminate on all the things I didn’t get to do. I can’t focus on the good stuff because I’m hyper-focused on all the tasks I didn’t get done.
On days like those, it can be hard to remember why I’m even blogging in the first place. It seems like that defeated feeling will never go away and I’ll never be productive again.
Can anyone else relate to this?
The thing is, I think that as bloggers, authors, and online business owners (or even just as PEOPLE), we’ve ALL had days like that. Days when our best work seems out of reach and we can’t get anything done. I used to think those terrible days were random, but I’ve started to realize there’s a pattern.
Those days where you can’t get anything done? They all start with your mindset.
Having the right mindset can help you slay your day and elevate you to rock star status. But the wrong mindset can drag you down, keep you from hitting your goals, and leave you defeated and depleted, wondering why you ever thought this blogging thing was a good idea.
Here are the three mindsets that keep you from doing your best work (and how to overcome them):
Trap #1: All the Overwhelm
You know the drill. Your alarm goes off in the morning and before you even open your eyes, you’re running through the 10,000,000 tasks you need to accomplish before lunch. You feel like there’s too much to do, so you get analysis paralysis and don’t know where to start.
There are some days I wake up and feel exhausted by everything I have to do before I even step out of my bedroom. When I feel overwhelmed, I end up tackling the day without intention. I think to myself, “Okay. I’ve got a lot to do today. It’s all in my head, so time to start moving.” I don’t write anything down or come up with a plan for the day – I just start going.
And what happens? I end up going completely off the rails.
Everything takes longer than I thought it would and I don’t get to my most important tasks. Or, a crisis happens and I spend half the day putting out the fire.
Because I don’t have a plan or intention for the day, I end up “just doing whatever” and not accomplishing anything. And that overwhelmed feeling just keeps spinning out of control. It’s a downward spiral.
Here’s the thing — if you’re ambitious and set big goals (like I know you do!), overwhelm is inevitable. When you have big goals, there’s a lot to do. And having a lot of things to do but not knowing where to start can feel totally overwhelming.
But there’s a way to beat overwhelm, no matter how big your goals. And that’s getting your to-do list out of your head and into the world.
When I’m feeling super overwhelmed and like things are spinning out of control, I do a brain dump. I grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down every single thought bouncing around in my head and making me feel overwhelmed. Once it’s out of my head and I can see it on a piece of paper, it’s much easier to sort through. I can look at my to-dos objectively, prioritize my tasks, and figure out what needs to happen first, second, third, and so on. Then I can go from there.
Getting the tasks out of my head and onto the paper, where I can make better sense of them, helps to battle the feeling of overwhelm.
It’s also important to look at your day-to-day tasks through the lens of your bigger goals. We talked about this more in the post “Keeping Your Focus As A Brand New Blogger“, but basically, it’s easy to lose sight of your big goals when you’re stuck in the day-to-day to-dos of blogging. However, when you write everything down, it’s easier to determine which tasks to focus on and to see how each task takes you one step closer to where you want to be.
So, if you’re feeling totally overwhelmed, don’t let it spin out of control; otherwise, it’ll keep you from doing your best work. Instead, get that tornado of thoughts out of your head and onto the paper.
Trap #2: “I Can’t…”
“I can’t do this.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m just going to fail, anyway. What’s the point of trying?”
Do any of these sound familiar? They’re what I like to call “limiting beliefs.”
Limiting beliefs come in many shapes and sizes (too many shapes and sizes, if you ask me). If you have these thoughts running through your mind, I can pretty much guarantee you will end your day with that defeated feeling, like you accomplished zero things.
This is something I talk about with my VIP group all the time. Almost every time someone shares a problem they’re having in their business, when I push back and dig a little deeper, it’s a limiting belief about themselves and their abilities that are holding them back.
Limiting beliefs are the enemy of productivity and will 100% hold you back from doing your best work. But when you can identify them and say, “Hey! That’s a limiting belief!”, suddenly, they lose their power. You can call it what it is: just another thought. More importantly, a thought you can choose not to believe. And once you realize you don’t have to put any stock into your limiting beliefs, you can make the shift from believing you can’t to knowing you can.
A great example of this happened just a few weeks ago. I was talking to a friend of mine and he really wanted to do more blogging, but he didn’t think he was a very good writer. “I enjoy writing, but I’m really sensitive about it,” he said. “I’ve got major childhood and school insecurities when it comes to writing, and that’s what’s always held me back. Plus, it’s hard for me to find time to write.”
“Hmm…,” I said. “That sounds like a limiting belief to me.”
So I gave him a little challenge. I said, “What if you did a 30-day writing challenge? Forget about blogging, forget about whether what you write is good or not, forget about people reading it and judging your abilities. Just make a commitment to write 500 words every day. Make a commitment to yourself to write 30 minutes a day for the next 30 days and see what happens.”
And so he did. He accepted the challenge. A few days later, we chatted again, and he was ecstatic. “You’ll never guess what’s happened!” he said. “I’ve been writing every day. Just writing, writing, writing. Yesterday, I wrote 1,500 words. All of these thoughts are just pouring out of me… and I was even able to write a blog post about it!”
By challenging his limiting belief and giving himself space to just write, he’s had more awesome ideas and joy around his writing than ever before. But it was almost like he needed permission to let go of that belief. Someone else had to say, “That’s a limiting belief — and guess what? You don’t have to listen to it.”
We all struggle with limiting beliefs. In my VIP group, which is full of super successful bloggers, we tackle limiting beliefs all the time. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, how much you accomplish, or what level you’re at. You’ll run into limiting beliefs that will try to hold you back and keep you from doing your best work.
But consider this your permission to let go. You don’t have to listen to those limiting beliefs. You can see them as what they are — thoughts that are trying to hold you back — and keep moving forward anyway.
Trap #3: Compare, Compare, Compare
I wish I could tell you that at a certain point, you stop comparing yourself to other bloggers. But unfortunately, that hasn’t been my experience. I think, to a certain extent, it’s human nature to measure yourself against others and judge your own progress based on the progress of other people around you.
But at the same time, it can be a defeating experience. If you compare yourself to others and constantly feel like you’re lacking — like people are doing better than you, are further ahead of you, are coming up with better ideas — it can make you want to throw in the towel. You start to think, “I’ll never get to the level that blogger is at,” and you get down on yourself.
Comparing yourself to others isn’t usually very motivating. In fact, most of the time it’s completely Demotivating.
If you find you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, you’re not alone! In fact, EVERYONE does this. But in times when I get stuck in the comparing game and I’m looking around and thinking, “Oh! That person is doing this!” and “Oh! That blogger has much better ideas than I do!”, I know it’s time to put my blinders on.
When you get caught up in comparing yourself to others, it’s important to block out the competition and refocus on you. That might mean taking a step back from participating in your Facebook groups or reading other blogs. The constant comparing will keep you from doing your best work; take a step back from anything that makes you feel “less than” and re-focus on doing your best work for YOU.
Don’t get me wrong — a little healthy competition can be a great thing. It’s when the comparing starts to make you feel defeated and small that it becomes a problem.
These three mindsets are barriers between you and the accomplishment of your best work. Which of these is holding you back? Be sure to leave your answer in the comments below.