Podcast Transcriptions

Pursue What Matters

Episode 90: What Stalls Your Launch Progress? Planning for 2021 Pt. 2

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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Do you have a moonshot goal that you continually find yourself stalled on the launch pad? Well, today, let’s find out what the problem is because you have places to go.

Dr. Melissa Smith 0:16
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So of course, it’s the beginning of the year, and everyone is talking about New Year’s resolutions. And of course goals. You know, if you’ve listened to any of my podcasts you know that I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, they are not worth the paper you write them on. And usually people don’t even write down New Year’s resolutions, they are a waste of your time. Most New Year’s resolutions are never kept. And so let’s just bag a New Year’s resolutions. That goals on the other hand, can be very effective. But you’ve got to follow goal theory and make sure that you are following some smart habits when it comes to goals, goals can get you where you want to go.

Dr. Melissa Smith 1:29
So I did a great book review of an excellent book called your best year ever. So you might want to go back and take a listen to that. It gives you a very nice formula for writing better goals so that you can actually accomplish them. And of course, today, we are in the middle of a three part series on goal pursuit. And you know, I hope that your goals matter to you, I hope that you have some big goals. And so with the first part of the three part series we were talking about, what’s your moonshot? What’s your big dream? What’s your big goal. And then today, we are focusing on what gets in the way. And you know, we might have big dreams, but how many of us actually accomplish our biggest dreams. And unfortunately, the number is, very few very few of us actually accomplish our biggest goals. And of course, with this three part series, I’m going to have an excellent resource for you on goal pursuit, and I hope that you will take some time and download the resource so that you can get moving on your biggest goals.

Dr. Melissa Smith 2:44
So just by way of review, I want to just talk a little bit about this three part series. And so of course, during part one, we talked about what is your moonshot? What’s your big goal? Why does it matter? Who can you serve? And how can you accomplish it. And so that’s what I shared last week, if you haven’t had a chance to listen to it, I will link to it in the show notes. And I would recommend that you go back and listen to it. And then today with part two, we are focusing on what stalls your launch progress. This is where we all get stuck. It’s the messy middle, It’s day two. It is you know the devils in the details. So what are your barriers? What are your blocks? What are your excuses? What keeps you stuck on the launch pad. And so we want to dig into the details and really help you understand that so that you don’t stay stuck. And then next week, of course, we will do part three, because listen, it’s time to take off, we want to get you off of go. And we’re going to focus in on the details of making that happen and translating your dreams into reality. It’s you know, it’s not that hard, you just have to start moving. And so that’s what we will be focusing on.

Dr. Melissa Smith 4:10
So today, what stalls your launch progress. And so there are a few things that get in the way. So the first thing that I want to talk about is shame and shame in all of its forms. And shame has a many varied forms. And the three forms that I want to talk about today. That shame takes, especially when it comes to our biggest dreams our biggest goals are first self doubt, second, self criticism, and third self recrimination. And so I hope you’ll listen up and you know, see if any of these sound familiar. And so at the root of all of these are shame

Dr. Melissa Smith 5:00
So let’s talk about self doubt. It is that belief that I can’t do it, that I should just be satisfied with what I have. That you know what? I am asking for too much. The underlying belief of self doubt is that I’m incapable, right? Like, who am I to have these big dreams to have this moonshot goal? I should learn to be content. And so that’s one of the ways that shame shows up, in the form of self doubt, and a belief that I can’t do it. Another form that shame takes is self criticism. And, you know, I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have had a very powerful critic in my head for a long time, I have done a lot of work to kick that critic to the curb. But self criticism can be debilitating. So this is, this is sometimes what that sounds like, someone can do it better. I’m being ungrateful, right, the fact that that I want to do something more, it means I’m being ungrateful. Right. And the underlying message with self criticism is I’m unworthy. I don’t deserve to have good things. I don’t deserve to have big dreams. And so that is one of the forms that shame takes is self criticism.

Dr. Melissa Smith 6:40
And then the third form that shame takes, when it comes to our big dreams that I want to talk about today is self recrimination. And plenty of us are familiar with this one as well. So who do I think I am? Who do you think you are? Who do I think I am? To have a big dream? Who do you think you are? That you could write a book? Who do you think you are that you could start a business? Who do you think you are? That you could go to graduate school?

Dr. Melissa Smith 7:16
It’s this idea that you’re being arrogant, that you want too much. And the underlying feeling is, I’m judged. So shame in all its forms. When it comes to our moonshot goals include self doubt, self criticism, and self recrimination. And that’s to say nothing of what others are doing to us. And this is the dance of shame and fear. Because there’s plenty of shame here, right? That’s what I’m talking about shame and all of its forms. But we know that shame is dancing hand in hand with fear. Because when we are coming face to face with our biggest dreams, our biggest goals, what is always coming along? It is fear. And so self recrimination, self criticism and self doubt, always show up to tell us, we shouldn’t try to tell us we can’t do it. To tell us we should just be content. We’re being ungrateful. We’re asking for too much. And so I want you to see that this is the depths of shame and fear, and you should pay it no heed, you should pay it no attention.

Dr. Melissa Smith 8:45
There is a really lovely quote from Elizabeth Gilbert. In her excellent book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. It’s a little bit of a long quote, but I promise you it is worth it. So I am going to go ahead and share this with you because I think she does such a fantastic job of speaking to this dance of shame and fear. When it comes to our moonshot goals when it comes to creativity when it comes to the work of purpose and the work of our heart.

Dr. Melissa Smith 9:22
This is what Elizabeth Gilbert has to say, “Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life. You’re afraid you have no talent, you’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood, or worst of all ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort and money, you’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline, you’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of workspace or financial freedom or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree, you’re afraid you’re too fat. I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly. But experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat. So let’s just put that on the anxiety list for good measure. You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool or a dilettante or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you’ve never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you’ve neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once. So obviously, nothing can ever go well, again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life. So why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no hit wonder.”

Dr. Melissa Smith 11:51
And doesn’t that encapsulate perfectly, the dance of shame and fear? When it comes to living to purpose when it comes to our biggest dreams are moonshot goals? We have so much fear, we have so much shame that shows up for us that if we’re not careful, we, we hide, we run for cover. And what I love about Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, which I highly recommend, Big Magic, is that she tells you that your fear is okay. And that whenever you are, whenever you are working towards a big goal, whenever you’re working on creativity, whenever you’re working on a moonshot goal, fear will be your companion. But don’t let fear rule. So now I want to talk about fear a little more specifically, right, because I’m talking about this dance of shame and fear. So let’s talk about some of the kinds of fear.

Dr. Melissa Smith 13:02
So I want to talk about, first of all fear of failure, because that’s a big one. For most of us when it comes to big goals, right, we have an intense fear of failure, that our worst fears will be confirmed that we cannot be successful. We have a fear of being found unworthy or being found not good enough, and a fear of being rejected. And I think that’s what she she speaks so eloquently to in that quote. And so many of us decide that trying is not worth the risk, that it is safer, just to play small.

Dr. Melissa Smith 13:48
And another quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, “you can measure your worth, by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” And so we’ve got to be really careful that we don’t focus so much on outcome, which I’ll have a little more to say in a minute. That fear of failure keeps so many of us from ever launching, right that’s that keeps us stalled on the launch pad. So maybe we set a goal, but we never actually do anything about it because we are so incapacitated by a fear of failure that we actually never take action.

Dr. Melissa Smith 14:29
Another fear that I want to talk about his fear of success. Now that might sound crazy to you. Like why would I fear success? But this is a real thing. So one of the podcasts that I’ve done it’s been a while now, but it is called the Jonah complex. And it is known as a fear of success and that is a real thing. That we can have a fear of success because it raises the stakes. It raises the visibility It raises the pressure and it can feel very stressful for us.

Dr. Melissa Smith 15:04
Brene Brown in her work talks about, there have been ways in her own life, that she can see that she was manufacturing smallness, that she kept her, she kept her world small, she kept her work small, she would do editorials for her local Houston paper, but she never submitted those to the New York Times. And she said in those ways that she was manufacturing smallness, because she had a fear of success. Because the success increases visibility, right. And it also increases it increases the the critics that it increases this fear of judgment, and that absolutely can happen. And so what do we do to cope with that we avoid, we avoid moving forward on our goals, we stay on the launchpad. And so fear of success can be a very real experience. And so we want to pay attention to that. And then another fear that I want to talk about is the fear of judgment. And boy, this is a, this is a big one, right? We don’t want to disappoint anyone. But we also don’t want to be rejected, and we don’t want to be judged. And when you are pursuing something that’s important to you, you make yourself more visible, you have to start taking a stand on things. And you will invariably be the target of judgment, because here’s what’s true. Haters are gonna hate. Some people are gonna judge you, and it just comes with the territory. And you just cannot pay much attention. And so, you know, in her great work, Brene Brown talks about being in the arena. And who do you, who do you allow to give you feedback, and she talks about the cheap seats, she talks about the box seats, she talks about the season ticket holders, and that plenty of people at the arena in the arena, are there to judge and are there to ridicule and are there to criticize. And really, you have to have some boundaries about who you let give you feedback. And that if they’re not there doing the hard work, don’t let them give you feedback. Because there’s there are plenty who are going to be judging you.

Dr. Melissa Smith 17:40
And then the last thing that I want to talk about, as it relates to fear is perfectionism. And perfectionism is born of fear. So I want that to be perfectly clear. perfectionism is born of fear. So we try to control our outer appearance, we try to control our lives. We know that control is only an illusion. But perfectionism becomes crippling over time. And when we rely on perfectionism, we tend to stall out on success. And with perfectionism, we don’t actually push ourselves on big goals, because there is so much uncertainty, and really a higher likelihood of failure with big goals. And perfectionism is about control. And so, when it comes to perfectionism, we actually fail to reach our full potential. Because with perfectionism, we are more focused on outcome over process, which is a real problem. We believe that talent is more important than developing skills, which is also a real problem. Right? Because talent, like you can’t do much about talent, but skills, skills you can do something with, don’t worry about talent, focus on improving your skills, manage what you can manage. And with perfectionism, we focus on magic over Moxie. So we focus on, you know, I have to have the Muse land on me or have to have this magical experience in order to be creative. Rather than recognizing Moxie or recognizing like, I have specific practices that I am consistent with, and I’m putting in the time and doing the work. And so perfectionism is a plague it will take you down and it will actually keep you from setting and accomplishing your biggest goals. And so perfectionism is born out of fear, we want to stay away from it.

Dr. Melissa Smith 20:07
So we’ve talked about, you know, what stalls, your launch. And we’ve talked, first of all, first of all about shame in all its forms, and how this becomes a dance of shame and fear. And then we’ve talked about four kinds of fear. And this then leads to your favorite excuses. And I don’t know about you, but I have my own favorite excuses. I don’t like that I have my favorite excuses. I’m trying to kick those to the curb as well. But let’s think about your favorite excuses, that keep you stuck, then that keep you on the launchpad and keep you stalled. So some of some excuses that keep us stuck from our biggest goals. I don’t have what I need to be successful. That’s a big one. Someone has already done it, and they’ve done it better. I can’t do it perfectly. So why try? Right? So there’s perfectionism getting in the way. No one understands me. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough talent. Insert your favorite excuse. They’re never enough. So that scarcity mindset for sure. And so I want you to start paying attention to your favorite excuses. And the thing about excuses is, and I think I shared this in one of the other podcasts is that what Seth Godin says about excuses, is, “if the excuse that you’re using has not stopped someone else, then it’s an excuse. If, if the excuse you’re using legitimately has stopped every other person from advancing, then it is a valid roadblock.” But if your claim that I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough money, I don’t have enough talent. If that has not actually been a barrier to other people being able to do big things, then it is simply an excuse. And so you need to decide if you want to continue holding on to that excuse.

Dr. Melissa Smith 22:41
Because here’s the thing, it is not serving you. So, right, our shame, and our fear, right, we dance with our shame and our fear, which leads to our favorite excuses. And we’ve all got our favorite excuses. And that then leads to a failure to plan. We fail to plan for success. Right. And we have a ready-made excuse when things don’t go according to plan when we don’t accomplish our goal. And this is the part that really hurts, the failure to plan actually becomes a safety net. Now I’ve got that in quotes. The failure to plan becomes a safety net for failure. Because you don’t actually have to risk your moonshot goal. Because think about this, taking on a big goal, something you care deeply about, is so freakin scary. It is so risky, there’s so much uncertainty. And if you’re honest with yourself, it probably scares the heck out of you. And so when you fail to plan, when you hide out in excuses, you, you don’t even have to try. You don’t have to tolerate uncertainty. You don’t have to, you don’t have to do the hard work of your goal. And you don’t actually have to risk failure. But here’s the rub. You actually guarantee failure, because you haven’t even tried to get off the launch pad.

Dr. Melissa Smith 24:41
And so with this failure to plan it becomes you create a self fulfilling prophecy of the belief that I can’t succeed. And it’s not that you cannot succeed. It’s that you Have not planned for success. And there’s a really big difference. It’s not that you can’t succeed, it’s that you have not made a plan for success.

Dr. Melissa Smith 25:16
Okay. And the big difference here is that you can still lie to yourself, you can still hide out in your excuses. And you don’t have to do the hard work of learning to tolerate uncertainty. You don’t have to do the hard work of figuring out how to accomplish your goal. Because you’re smart. You’re clever, you’re creative. And if that scrub over there can do it, you can do it. There’s no doubt about that. Do you want it bad enough? Are you willing to work? Are you willing to do what it takes. And if you’re not, then move on. But stop hiding out in excuses. Stop failing to plan.

Dr. Melissa Smith 26:10
So when it comes to our moonshot goals, you’ve got to have a paradigm shift. Because failure is the price of admission. Failure is the price of admission, it comes with the territory. If your moonshot goal matters, then get after it. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to risk failure. It’s even okay to fail. The biggest challenge is your dance with fear and shame. But once you recognize that you can still move forward, despite your fear, you can have some self compassion instead of the self criticism, and you can get moving, you can get moving, you don’t have to be shut down. by fear, you don’t have to be shut down by shame, you can just take the next step. And that’s exactly what we’re going to be focusing on next week on part three, as we help you take off. So I hope you will join me then I hope that you, I hope you are starting to formulate your moonshot goal. If you don’t have it already. Write it down. Write, make it specific. Use the smart or the smarter framework, which I talked about when I did the book review. Get it down on paper, hold yourself accountable. And then join me next week for part three, as we help you take off and right like, move past this dance of fear and chain and get to the work of accomplishing your goal. Right? It matters.

Dr. Melissa Smith 27:59
So let’s get after it. Because here’s the thing we need your gifts. We need your gifts. And I’m excited to see see what you can bring to us. So head on over to my website to check out the show notes. With all the resources for this episode at www.drmelissasmith.com/episode-90, one more time that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/episode-90 and so over there on the website, I will have some links to some of the podcasts that I mentioned, including part one of this three part series. And then of course, next week, we’ll finish this series up and we have a great resource for you to really help you with your moonshot goal. So I really hope that you will take the time and get that resource and get going. Let’s get off that Launchpad. I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.

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