Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Defeating the Demons of Doubt

I'm working on an article for the April 2007 B2B section of the Ann Arbor Business Review,
so I've been spending some time in research. I'm thinking of writing the article about tools to help small businesses publish ezines with a particular focus on the benefits of services such as ezinearticles.com. As my research continued, though, I discovered more and more about which I could write, more and more about which I knew nothing, more and more articles which already said what I wanted to say. And then they had me.

The Demons of Doubt smelled my fear.

What if I'm not good enough? What if I can't think of anything new? What if my writing stinks? What if I fail?

Once you've started down this path, grave danger will haunt your every step. Before you know it you will begin to question every decision you've made. Left unchecked, you find yourself curled into a little ball and gibbering quietly -- unwilling to take any chances or risks at all.

So, how do you send these foul spirits back to the abyss from which they sprang? I've come up with a few ideas:

  1. Reflect on my successes. Have I done one or two things that were difficult in my life? Sure! Heck, just thinking back to training for my first Black Belt is enough to make my muscles ache. If I can do that, I can do just about anything.
  2. Practice. A year ago, I would never have been able to handle this article. Since that time, though, I've written over 100 blog posts and probably ten or so newsletter articles. I know that I've grown as an author and my "voice" has developed with this practice.
  3. Trust in others. This opportunity didn't just arrive on a silver platter. I had to earn it by submitting a sample article. My writing style has already passed muster.
  4. Trust in myself. Maybe this information is out there for anyone to read, but my words and my take on things are not. I have my own value to add, even, if nothing else, it is only in the presentation of the information in a clear and understandable way.
  5. Know your customers. If you know more than your customers about what you do, then you are an expert. You don't have to know more than your competition. You just have to be the first to share what you know with your customers.
Hey, where'd the Demons go? Must be they got tired of me not listening to them and took their ball and bat and went home.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I use the same tricks when I begin to doubt myself about my business, too!

So, how do you keep the Demons of Doubt at bay?

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