You watch other people get paid by doing the same thing you’re passionate about, or something very similar. You watch people make it look easy to live off of that passion. Yes, you know that there’s hard work involved and you know that—even for that person—life isn’t all pretty Instagram pictures and coffee shop workdays.
Still, you’re only on the outside looking in.
But what exactly did they do to get them where they are that you haven’t done yet?
Because, truth be told, these other people might not actually be better than you.
And—again, just being honest—you know that those other people might be in it for the money. Which is fine, but…you know that if you were in their shoes, you would be helping more people with your work.
But here you are, still, on the outside looking in.
And not helping as many people as you could be helping.
One thing those people do that you probably haven’t done: believe that they deserve success from their passion.
What do you think when you hear “deserve”?
Do you hear “entitled to”?
Do you hear “lazy”?
Do you hear “inflated self-worth”?
Here’s the MW definition of deserve: to be worthy, fit, or suitable for some reward.
Do you not believe you are worthy, fit, or suitable for your reward?
If you believed that you were at least as good as those other people are at what you’re passionate about, and if you believed you could make an audience of people interested in what you have, you would already be reaping an abundance of rewards.
So, which one of those don’t you believe? Or is it more than one?
And what is it going to take for you to start to believing that you are worthy, fit, and suitable?
You see, one major difference between you and those people is that they probably just have a more polished presence than you. Whether or not they’re actually good at the thing that they say they’re good it is not entirely relevant. But they have presented themselves in a way that makes people believe that they’re good at it.
They made you believe that they’re good at it.
And if their talent is indisputable, then what they did was make you believe that they deserve the success you’re witnessing.
They made you believe that they are worthy, fit, and suitable for their reward.
A polished presence can open doors that talent alone might not have the keys to. But you can fix that. Don’t let that make you think you aren’t worthy, fit, and suitable.
Another thing that may separate you from them is that you’re too fixated on right-now money.
First of all, just because you know there’s money to be made, doesn’t mean you should put pressure on yourself to make a lot of it right now. It is way more important to start right now than it is to get paid right now. The money comes only after you apply yourself.
Second of all, profit doesn’t only come in one form of currency. Profit for that person you’re studying might be a stream of income, or it might be tickets and passes into events that they want to attend. Maybe that person uses their journalism degree to make sure they always get press passes to their favorite concerts or conferences or art openings—rather than take a check.
If we removed the possibility of a financial reward, would you believe that you are worthy of the profit?
Do you think you’re good enough to barter your services? Because if you’re good enough to barter, you’re good enough to get paid. Money isn’t only for the “elite”.
Or, let’s get honest again, do you believe you’re not worthy, fit, or suitable because you believe that there are specific steps you need to take that no one has ever shown you?
Do you believe in “the process” more than you believe in yourself?
If I told you all the things that you needed to do to get where you want to be, would you believe that you are worthy, fit, and suitable for success only after you did those things?
Is that what’s keeping you on the outside, looking in?
Or, and this might hit a nerve, was there someone who was better than you, or showed you up, that made you feel like this was not your place?
Or did someone, who may not have even been able to do what you do, tell you that this wasn’t your place? That you weren’t good enough. That you should do “something else”.
Who made you think you aren’t worthy, fit, and suitable of your reward?
And why are you willing to prove them right by sitting on the outside and looking in?
Are you scared to say that you’re talented, and passionate, and deserving out loud? Are you scared because you know people might disagree? Does it make you feel boastful because we’re supposed to wait for other people to recognize our greatness first?
Why can’t we be both humble and aware that we have talent?
Why does knowing that you are good—or dare I say “exceptional”—mean that you are boastful?
Hard work and talent together are a recipe for success. It’s not just OK to own your talent, it’s required!
And if you have talent, you’re not doing anybody any favors by just adding only a pinch to your recipe.
So what are you holding back from? We’ve already talked about failure and how you can use failure to push you towards what you want. So it’s not that.
We talked about discovering your inner greatness. So it’s not that you don’t have a clue what you’re good at (even if you’re still ironing out how to make it work).
So what have you experienced in life that makes you hesitate to take your steps?
Are you afraid that the world won’t accept it?
Are you afraid that your people won’t understand it?
Are you afraid that no one will believe in you?
There is a tribe, or two, ready to welcome you in once they know that you speak their language. Remember, once upon a time people thought the world was flat.
And if you’re afraid that people won’t understand your vision, put effort into explaining it in terms that they understand instead of terms that make most sense to you.
Also, the world is too big and connected for you to not find anyone who believes in you. But if you’re afraid that no one will believe in you, it’s probably because you don’t believe in yourself.
And I will tell you, as a person who believes in so many people who do not truly believe in themselves, there is no amount of belief we can have in you that can do anything for you if you do not first believe in yourself.
We outsiders, looking in at you, can only add fuel to the fire that burns within you. You have to light the fire.
Believing in yourself is easier when you’re used to betting on yourself and winning.
My advice? Place more bets.
Take more risks.
And have more wins.
Keep believing that you’ll win the way you want to. Then keep doing things that prove you right.
Keep proving yourself right until you believe you’re absolutely worthy, fit, and suitable.
And, soon, you might find that you’re not on the outside looking in anymore.