Fight the Lethal Three
Culled from Volume 15 of The Memkoh Newsletter
What is your "Lethal Three?"
September 5 was Labor Day weekend. My computer was most likely on me the entire weekend, yet I didn't send out a newsletter. (Laziness) It was a long weekend and I decided to shift my focus to other tasks, thinking that I had Monday to slip in a newsletter for Tuesday. (Procrastination). I thought to myself "It's Labor Day Weekend; no one needs motivation for how to enjoy the beach." Anytime the thought of my newsletter popped up, I dismissed it with the thought "We'll handle this on Tuesday." Tuesday came and went. Did your inbox glow or was it just me?
The procrastination led to guilt. The coming Sunday, I told myself a newsletter must go out. "How will I explain myself? Did they notice? Ok, this Sunday unfailingly." Sunday came. Nothing. I comforted myself with the thought that since our newsletters are bi-weekly and we missed Labor Day weekend, it would be best to wait two weeks then get back on schedule. (Guilt!)
The guilt became full blown. Day in, day out, I was thinking of not just the newsletter I hadn't sent, but my website that had been taking too long to fix. Guilt paved way for excuses and self pity as you have seen. The third week came, where we were meant to get back on track. I hid behind the cover of "What will I say anyway? I'm still working on the website so there will be no content/blog links for our newsletter." I kept hiding. Sending a newsletter may have seemed pointless, but sending a newsletter to notify you all of these conflicts would have been amazing. But I didn't and I apologize.
The final blow dealt me hard. I could have easily recovered from the other two, but this one sunk. me. deep. It was so deep that I withdrew from the people close to me unknowingly. I was not myself. What was this, you may think. It was fear of not knowing what to say.
I almost broke down one day as I told my friend "What more can I say?". In all honesty, I have put up a detailed portfolio of all the work I've ever done, described my services as good as possible, even included my prices so as not to leave any potential client guessing. Still, no clients.
All I wanted was 3/4 steady clients.
Was it too much to ask for? I think this fear persisted for a greater portion of the year because my full site went down in January or February, for those of you who knew how the Memkoh site was. What we've had for a greater part of this year (until now) was the truncated site with the Blog and Shop tabs. But you probably never noticed because Memkoh never stopped working.
The days passed and I became less and less myself. I gathered all the notes with ideas I had scribbled from as early as April. And methodically, I would move them every other day or so from my coffee table to my bedside to my study table and kitchen counter. There was a week I left the notes under my table; I didn't want to see them. Everyday, I ran away from putting the ideas together for a new, cohesive website. I was afraid. As you now know, my notes had the answer to "What will I say?". The next episode of fear was "HOW will I say it?"
My sadness managed to slip into two separate conversations with two of my friends who don't know each other. I told them what had happened and they said the same thing "I thought you said never quit, that success doesn't come overnight?". I was so stunned and almost teared up a little on the inside! Firstly, they had read the newsletter. Secondly, they found the personal account I shared useful and the words stuck with them.
If you didn't open The Memkoh Newsletter Volume 14 - "There's no such thing as overnight success", you should. It meant and still means a lot to know that in addition to those in my audience who I don't know personally, some of my friends also value my work. I was happy because they used these words to encourage me when I least expected, when I was defeated thinking nobody was listening. In retrospect, these conversations proved what I've always known that people are always watching and that the good we sow into the world always find a way back to us. I'm not sure I'll be able to thank those friends enough.
Defeated, I had responded to one of them "You know I'm human..." and my voice trailed off. From their responses, they knew I knew better than what I had become tangled in and I should have known better than to let it get that deep. Thank you so much to my friends for these reminders.
As I emerge from this experience, I know that this moment of weakness had to present itself to prove/remind me of the following:
- Never, ever quit! - The last time you read that was in a newsletter, but I said that when things were going okay, when I had thought of quitting but hadn't quite effected that thought yet. I was still fighting. This time, I'm saying this as someone who fought, lost/gave in and is ready to fight again. Never. Ever. Quit. (See point 3)
- Success is a multiplier effect - Failures too. You see, success is a combination of a series of many events. To run, you need to learn how to sit, crawl, walk, then run. Let's reason together. Once a baby reaches the age of learning these skills, he/she is taught to do something every single day.
The ability to sit, crawl or run then depends on a multiplier effect of series of micro trainings given to the baby. You may have forgotten, but you and I took one step every day and whether we toppled or fell face flat on the ground and got laughed at, we laughed back, made our baby coos, shot our chubby diaper bums in the air and got up till we could align those cute chubby toes one in front of the other. Now we are doing relays.
But...There's something about the world. We grow up and become timid, forgetting how to laugh in the face of our failures or struggles. We forget that our success is multiplying whether we run into a door or not, and instead of getting up, we sit and stare at the door, multiplying our failures.
- The Climb is harder than the Glide - Would you rather glide down a kids' slide or climb up a flight of well-constructed stairs? I thought so too. It's always easy to slide down but the climb back to the top (or close) is always difficult, and although I'm not saying this in a negative way about Memkoh, I want you to observe how things have been since I finally launched the website on the 27th/28th of September till now. Have there been any new blog posts or regular social media posts? The simple reason for this is that when you take a break (or quit), you simply forget. You are giving yourself the permission to forget the mastery of your skills and the secret recipe you've developed over time. And trust me, it'll take some time to get that consistency back. See what I did there? :D
I really want to get back into the swing of things. I really want to share blog posts on everything we discussed on Instagram while the website was away. I really want to share those new photoshoots with you. But something as simple as logging into my site has slipped away from my realm of automation. I simply walk away at the thought of it, mentally and physically.
- You have to act what you know - Yes, I'm human. Yes, I am allowed certain moments of weakness. But merely knowing that this was a moment of weakness was all I needed to get out of it. I will never forget the relief I felt the second I took the password protection off my site and published it. I slept well that night, better than I had in a week. And I avoided my website for the rest of the night; I'd had enough of staring at it! All I'm saying is, if I had acted on what I knew, I would have forced myself to break down this process into daily achievable goals, instead of staring at a mumble jumble of words and thinking of the clients that seem so far away. Failure to act on what I knew gave room for what I didn't quite know to thrive within me.
- Keep busy - This is a natural follow up to point 4. Honestly, the moment you stop working, you give room for and become a breeding ground for fear, self doubt, procrastination, and other negative thoughts. This is also why you should never quit. You don't want to ever leave room to doubt yourself. Self doubt is as lethal as fear is, if not more, because fear can be external (as in the fear of something) but self doubt draws back to the inside and human beings and internal weaknesses cannot coexist.
- People are always watching - refer back to my friends who keep tabs on my newsletter. I didn't think they do. People, both internal and external are watching you, even if they don't tell you. Sometimes, I doubt myself because I feel like the people close to me don't value or acknowledge my work but now I know that this is not the case. They simply may not have the time or don't care enough to comment on my every move. But they are watching. This much I know.
- Do good, get good - Initially, I was going to type "Do good, receive good" to allude to what I'd said earlier about receiving the good energy we send out into the world. But let's talk about that word "get" that my keyboard added. To my understanding, "Do good, get good" means just that. Every single time you do something, whether for yourself or someone, your business, work, school, or what have you, you are getting good at that skill and possibly, acquiring a plethora of other skills. Let's rephrase this to Do good, get better!
Ladies and gentlemen, I am not sure if you have been able to visualize the burden I have been carrying these last couple of weeks but I am happy to have offloaded them here, not as burdens, but as lessons. Let it guide you, let it re-assure you, let it give you hope and motivate you. I shared with you my lethal three - laziness, procrastination, fear. Now, go figure out yours, they may be different.
And make sure you...
...Fight the Lethal Three.