At home, my wife and I have a giant whiteboard.
Written on it are the items on my blogging to-do list. These are things I need to within the next week, the next few months, or even the next year.
“Write third article for Boost Blog Traffic” is on the list. So is “finish guest post for ProBlogger.” The ever-present “write a book and become rich and famous” is underlined in red.
Inevitably, the items that never seem to get crossed off are the ones requiring me to learn something new – the ones asking me to step out of my comfort zone.
“Get on LinkedIn” has been on the board for nine months. “Look into Facebook ads” for six months. “Research Medium.com” for three.
The good news? At least I’m not the only one who does this.
The Voice in the Back of Our Heads
Why do we go to the trouble of making to-do lists only not to do them?
We clearly believe these things are important. After all, we took the time to write them down. Maybe not on a whiteboard, but on a piece of paper. (Or phone app, cocktail napkin, etc.)
Why do we avoid the things we know we should be doing? The things that will help us achieve our goals? The things we have previously deemed important?
Seth Godin says it’s because of the lizard brain – the voice in the back of our heads telling us to back off, slow down, and compromise.
The people who succeed are people like Seth – the entrepreneurs, bloggers, and businesses who have figured out how to ignore this voice in their heads.
They’re the people who get up to speak in front of crowds even though the voice is telling them to sit down. They’re the people who keep trying things outside the box even though the inside of the box looks so warm and comfy. They’re the people who try to fly even though they know they might fall.
I want to be like those people.
That’s why, earlier this week, I finally created a business page for Be A Better Blogger on LinkedIn (even though I have zero contacts). That’s why, yesterday, I created an account on Medium and published my first story (even though I don’t yet understand the ins and outs of it).
Will either succeed? Who knows.
What matters is that after months and months of staring at those two items on my whiteboard, I finally crossed them off.
Now it’s your turn.
It’s time to tell the apprehensive voice in the back of your head to be quiet. It’s time to cross off those to-do list items that have been there for ages.
It’s time to stretch out your arms, bend your knees, and fly.
Creative Commons Images via Miika Silfverberg.