Anything you can do, I can do too

success, failure, anything you can do, Irving Berlin, self-doubt

Anything you can do, I can do too

(not ‘you’ as such…more a someone who’s not me)

There have been many times over the years when I’ve found myself facing something I don’t think I’m up to. It feels beyond me and I can’t see a way through, so what’s the point? I might as well give up and save a load of future heartache & failure. Except there’s another part of me that knows that’s just not true, (‘anything you can do, I can do too’ it whispers).

I’m not talking about blue sky never been achieved before groundbreaking accomplishments here, just things I’ve never done, (and sometimes never even considered). And that’s where this other aspect of my psyche comes into play. This stuff’s only new to me. Others have already blazed the trail, often several times over. It’s only unchartered territory in my world. I hear that song even louder, a blast from long past musicals promoting Mr Berlin to role of latter-day therapist: ‘…anything you can do…I can do too’.

So there I was with battle-lines drawn. One the one hand there’s my self-doubting neophobic self, (that’s being scared of new things, not a fear of Keanu). On the other’s the part that contemplates a future-me who’s already gained the knowledge or skills I’m currently lacking. If other people have already done it, I know it can be done. I’m simply considering things which are within my capability even if they are a massive stretch from where I currently stand.

So what sorts of things do I mean?

Well, here’s a current example. You might not have spotted it but I’m trying to evolve my blog writing style. I enjoy writing but if I just write the way I like, I turn out meandering stories with multiple side-shoots eventually weaving them together to make whatever point I’m trying to make. Perceived blogging wisdom seems to say that I need to write for my audience. I need to write for you, not me. So I tried.

If you skip back a few posts, they’re more formally informative and less of ‘me’ comes through in them. I was trying to write articles that were helpful but which perhaps anyone could’ve written. They lack ‘me’ and to be honest, weren’t as much fun to write.

Yet more wisdom and advice says that my audience, that’s you, need to hear ‘me’ coming through in my writing. Which is the opposite of writing just for you, at least that’s how it feels. I’m struggling to get my head around how to square the circle (other good geometry metaphors are available) and write in what appears to be a requirement for two different writing styles with differing objectives.

My old self would’ve given up and walked away.

These days I know different. There are plenty of other people out there who write really useful blogs or articles or newsletters and their personality shines through. Whilst this is still very much a work in progress, I know it’s a solvable problem. Others have solved it and just because I don’t know how to solve it yet, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

In the meantime whilst I  work out how to do it, I’m just writing. This blog is a step on that road. You might notice it’s both more chatty and yet still helpful, at least that’s the idea. I’m gradually tapping in to that future me who’s done it and is writing the way I want to. This post is just a step towards that future. I’m learning as I go.

How can you use this yourself?

Next time you’re faced with an opportunity or task that feels beyond you, here’s what to do:

  • Ask yourself, is someone else already doing it? If so, it’s entirely possible to do.
  • Imagine that you in the future who’s doing it. Imagine being him/her looking back at you now.
  • Take a step, any step, towards that future.
  • Learn as you go
  • Take another step

Keep going. That future you’s closer than you think.


What next:

If you’d like to discuss working with me to get over self-doubt and procrastination, you can find out more here: Working with Tony

If you’d like to sign up for my periodic newsletter, click here: Keeping in touch

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