It’s amazing how often the best of us undermine ourselves and sell our dreams short. We live in an age of unprecedented creative expression; the Internet and social media (while seriously flawed) has afforded ingenious minds the opportunity to connect with audiences far beyond their physical reach. While my blog is relatively small compared to some, I still have followers in counties like India, Libya, Egypt and a myriad of other places I had never imagined my words would reach. Yet for all this creative expression and acceptance of art, so many of us are so full of self-doubt that we unwillingly commit self-sabotage every time we post something.
Counterintuitive isn’t it? How can we be expressing ourselves and amassing an audience in far reaching locations, yet lynch our efforts all at once?
The answer: by degrading ourselves and our works through by using bullshit words like aspiring or would-be.
Every single day I receive countless emails from bloggers all over the globe who are reaching out hoping to connect with a like-minded soul. I try to respond to as many of them as I can, but the truth is that sometimes I’m stretched so thin that emails pile up and it takes me weeks to get back to that beautiful soul who took the time to contact me. My time management has always been fairly shit, but I try my best. I love hearing from people; even the ones that choose to rat me out or create malicious posts about me on public forums. But after three years of reading and responding to countless emails there’s a definitive trend that I’ve noticed in the contact I have with others.
It goes like this:
I am an aspiring writer/musician/artist/entrepreneur/whatever…
Or like this:
I am a would-be writer/musician/artist/entrepreneur/whatever…
…Fuck that. You’re not an aspiring anything. If you have a blog, or a band, or a half completed manuscript or business plan then you’ve made it and you’re selling yourself short by placing a bullshit adjective in front of whom you really are. You’re a goddamn writer, or musician, or artist so quit allowing your self-doubt to sabotage the brilliance within you. Stand up and show the world who you are and what you are creating because chances are it’s magnificent. And even if it’s not, you should stand proud knowing that you have breathed life into a labour of love.
There’s a real disparity between the truly talented and the snake oil peddlers who would love to convince you that they are. Trust me, it’s a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way. Take a look at the URL at the top of this page and you’ll note the word would-be in it. Even I was an aspiring writer at one point.
While these snake oil peddlers occupy space and become recognized not for their talent but their smooth tongue, the best of us tend to hold back; we toil over our crafts and work towards our dreams in near silence. We want to be heard, but we want to save face and distance ourselves from the possibility that our works won’t be well received. That adjective aspiring allows us a safety net if we fall short when reaching for our dreams. We can give up and say ‘I was an aspiring artist once. Sadly it didn’t work out.’
And so often it doesn’t. Not because we’re undeserving, and not because we aren’t talented enough to succeed. But because you allow yourself to be comfortable with the idea of failure by saying that you never quite got there in the first place.
Alright. Let’s pause and take a moment, because I’m sure that I’ve upset a few people. Let’s just cool off. You can swear at your screen if you want to. Call me names; tell me I’m being unfair. But I’d be willing to wager a bet that if you look within yourself you would struggle to tell me that I’m wrong.
So why do it? Why put yourself through that degradation that breaks your hopes and dreams just as they’re coming to fruition? Why limit yourself to just being someone who aspires to be more? Why not stand up, pull back those slouched shoulders and say ‘I’m not aspiring towards shit. I’ve already made it?’ Why not embrace that you are a writer/musician/artist or whatever else? Why keep turning tricks and selling yourself short?
You’re talented. You’re brilliant. And you’re beautiful. But you’re your own worst enemy. You can be whoever the hell you want to be. You’ve just got to stand up and show the world who that is. I love hearing from my readers. I really do. I love hearing of their successes, their lessons learned through failure, and their hopes and dreams for the future. But the thing I love the most is when someone sends me an email that starts by saying:
I am a writer/musician/artist/entrepreneur/whatever…
Because I know right from that very first line that the man or woman contacting me isn’t afraid to open their heart to the world and let their creativity flow. They’re bold enough to be themselves and stand proudly beside their accomplishments.
It’s time to let go of your way out and ditch that shitty little adjective. Quit turning tricks and selling yourself short. Stand up and stake your claim. You deserve it.