Sometimes people assume that because you coach on self-doubt that you never feel it. But everyone feels self doubt on some level. It’s just as someone trained to support women with self-doubt, I recognise it when it shows up for me and I can coach myself through it. Like many of my clients, my self-doubt shows up when I stretch and grow into something new. And obviously podcasting is very new for me. So today I thought it might be helpful for me to share where and how my self-doubt showed up and the tools I used to deal with it when I was launching the Self.Styled.Life podcast.
What I learned while launching the Self.Styled.Life podcast
Non-linear courage mapping really works really well for getting things done
I’m lucky enough to have all sorts of humans in my life who have launched podcasts before. And they were all happy to share their launch templates with me. And here’s the thing about launching a podcast…there are a stack of things to do. Like hundreds. I opened – and immediately closed – one spreadsheet that was sent to me about 8 times. It was that massive. And up near the top of the list were a whole bunch of things that felt really risky and hard. And when I say risky, I mean in a ‘you’re going to have to put yourself out there’ kind of way.
Thank goodness I’ve learned about a technique that is sometimes called courage mapping or courage based actions. Rather than viewing a list of things you need to do, you break that list into four categories – easy, doable, stretchy and outright risky. Now, for the podcast, I knew it couldn’t launch until I’d done all of the tasks. But there wasn’t a rule that I had to complete those tasks in a linear order. They could be done at any point in the process, so long as they got done.
So I split up that big long list of tasks and recategorised them as easy, doable, stretchy and risky. And then, everyday I would choose a task. Some days I was ready to do hard things, so I’d pick something from the stretchy or risky list. And other days I’d choose something easier. That way, I didn’t let myself get blocked for weeks on end because I didn ‘t want to do the risky thing that was next on the list. I was able to keep making progress towards the launch. This approach also lines up to the idea that after doing stretchy things, it’s ok to retreat for a while.
Everything feels hard the first time
So on the Wednesday morning the podcast was due to launch, I got up super early. I was ready to hit publish on the first real episode and release the Self.Styled.Life podcast to the world. I was actually excited to hit the publish button – which was a different feeling to when I first hit publish on my first blog (Distant Francophile) back in 2014. Anyhow, you can imagine my confusion when my podcast hosting platform told me that the podcast would be available in podcast apps over the next 24 hours. The social media posts I had ready to go were shelved. And I also paused all of the ‘It’s Here’ emails I’d been planning to spend. And then I proceeded to hit the refresh button constantly for the next however many hours. You see, I could see the episode (and listen to it) on the Apple website and on Scotty’s phone (which I had commandeered), but it wasn’t showing up in my app. And I realised that I couldn’t go ahead with my launch plan if only a percentage of you could find the podcast.
I share all of that to let you know that any time you do something for the first time it’s going to feel clunky. One of my early mentors used to remind me that ‘things are always awkward before they’re elegant’. But in my mind, feeling awkward and clunky are a small price to pay for the growth that comes whenever you stretch yourself. And knowing ahead of time that awkward and clunky are likely to be your companions in anything new can mean that you can invite them on the journey.
Things will go wrong but you can’t use that as an excuse to stop
Fun fact…I recorded the first 4 episodes of the Self.Styled.Life podcast twice. You see, over the summer I thought I’d get ahead of the game and pre-record episodes so that my podcast team members Darcy and Jenna wouldn’t have to rush. So I sat down one afternoon and just talked to myself about the self-styled life framework. At the end of the day I was very happy with myself. Right up until Darcy went to edit the episodes. Apparently he could hear a nasty, distracting electrical buzzing noise in every episode. And he highly recommended I re-record all of them.
Now, we discovered this problem not long before we were due to launch. And I went from feeling spacious to pressured and rushed. I seriously considered postponing the launch. But the longer I sat with that idea the more I realised that my self doubt was was playing up and trying to keep me safe from the risk that could come with putting the podcast out in the wild. So we pushed and rushed and hit all of our deadlines.
I really hope me sharing this experience helps illustrate how you might dance with self-doubt in your life. And if you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to reach out in the comments below.
And until next time – stay fabulous
Image credit: Haute Stock