How to get from “I can’t” to “I can!”

We all know this feeling. We stand at the top of a diving platform, the water surface 10 m below us. Rationally we know we can do this, yet we feel like we can’t.

I can’t do this! This was how I felt two weeks ago when I thought about launching an online life design course. I had taught this course for the last 8 years, yet I felt like I couldn’t do it.

Teaching students about imposter syndrome, and missing self-efficacy (your belief in your ability to perform), I knew that there was a way to overcome this. Never the less it was challenging to engage.

According to research there are four ways or keys to overcome this barrier and build your belief in your abilities. So, I thought I would run a little experiment. Based on what I knew, I had the following five options based on these four keys that I knew would – theoretically – improve my belief in my abilities:

  1. Find someone like me who did what I want to do.
  2. Find people I trust and that can give you a pep talk.
  3. Practice to get an experience that shows me, I can do it.
  4. Get someone with experience, who can hold your hand.
  5. Keep your psychological and physiological state in mind. e.g. I have more willpower in the morning.

Here what I did:

  1. I searched (and watched) videos of other professors who developed their own courses – after all I feel closer to them than to internet marketers. Nerd alert! 
  2. I reached out with a LinkedIn video and an email to people I trust and worked with to ask “Should I do this” and “Would you Join me.” The feedback was amazing and it really encouraged me to take the next step.
  3. I discussed this idea with my girlfriend – who has marketing experience – and who gave me another pep talk.
  4. Lastly, I did most of these things first thing in the morning. This prevented me from overthinking it and feeling low on energy.

And now, two weeks later, I finally trusted myself to put a landing page up offering my Life Design course online, for the first time. The page isn’t finished, yet – it will launch tomorrow. However, doing the things I did, especially talking to people about it, did not only effect my belief, but also my motivation! I am really excited, which I didn’t expect.

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