Let Go: How Caring Too Much Can Hold You Back From Achieving Success

1 Apr

Do any of the following titles fit your personality?

Sensitive

Perfectionist

People pleaser

Empathetic

Cautious

Perceptive

Rule follower

Predictable

If you said yes to any of those thing than you’ll likely find something in this article that resonates.  Those qualities, as positive as they are in so many ways, can often hold you back from achieving your goals.

If you’ve worked in the talent industry, or even made an attempt to build a business where YOU are the product, you will probably understand what I mean when I say, “fear stunts growth.”  It’s extremely hard to put yourself out there when “you” are the product, because the word NO feels like a direct reflection on your worth.

There are a number of things to consider and carefully avoid falling victim to if you want to be successful in the talent industry, or really any industry I think for that matter.  The following five aspects often hold people back from success.  Consider these if you are attempting to build a business as a talent.

You don’t want to bother people:  Often times I find the most qualified people lose jobs because they are not persistent enough.  Why, because they aim to be highly respectful of others time and feel that once they submit things, they don’t want to be a bother by continuing to follow-up.  I think the reality is that those who are persistent get the job.  I’ve talked to countless people who have told me that they tried relentlessly before they were published, or signed with an agency, or considered for a part.  Eventually their hard work paid off.  Generally I think if you bother people too much they will let you know, until then keep trying.  Remember that people get busy and they forget who you are.  It’s your job to help them remember.  Be respectful of course, and know how you can help them, but be persistent.

Case in Point: I submitted an article somewhere.  I waited to follow-up, and waited and waited.  I finally decided I had to do this and risk bothering the editor.  The response, “that’s right Kim, I really enjoyed your article, but I forgot about it and now I just published the issue I would have like to use it in.”  Lesson: I should have followed-up bi-weekly at the risk of hearing, “we know you sent us something Kim.  Don’t call us, we’ll call you”.  Then at least I’d know.  This time I lost the chance.

You don’t ask for help:  For whatever reason, it’s very hard to ask for help.  If you are a perfectionist you might feel like you should already know what you are asking.  The truth is you should ask for help every opportunity you get.  Ask others who are experienced.  Don’t be afraid to expose your nativity.  Be the dumbest person in the room and admit it.  It’s okay.  You have to get over that.  Surround yourself with people more knowledgeable than you, doing things you want to do, and you’ll get there.  But in the meantime don’t be afraid to look like a complete fool while you learn.

Case in Point: I submitted an article and the editor made suggestions on how I could improve it.  She offered to help me if need be, but I didn’t ever ask because I figured I should really know how to do this.  I probably spent three times longer than necessary trying to figure it out.  I should have just asked for help.  In the time I would have saved in doing so I could have written an entire new article!

Lesson Learned: I’m not going to get better, at least not very quickly, if I don’t learn to accept help, especially when it’s offered to me.

You don’t hit send: There’s a mental game we play with ourselves when it comes to submitting things that require answers.  Maybe you have hopes of being considered at a modeling agency and you are working on your portfolio.  It’s never done enough to actually send.  Then maybe it is, but you don’t think its good enough.  You keep working on your skills, building your experience and in the meantime someone comes along with less experience, possibly less skills and gets the job.  At some point you have to tell yourself, “What do I have to lose?  If the answers no, then next time I’m going to work harder for a yes”.  If you are sensitive this is one of the most difficult things you will face.  Hearing no is SO hard.  Realistically though, you need at least 9 no’s for one yes.  Many people might tell you that you need 100 no’s for a yes. Make a goal.  I’m going for no’s.  How many can I collect?  Play long enough and eventually you will hit on something.

Case in Point: I was going through my draft email box the other day.  I stumbled upon an email I was going to send regarding a potential modeling opportunity.  I had even attached my resume and pictures already but I never sent it.  Why, because I thought I could re-word it so it sounded better.

Lesson Learned: I missed the deadline.  So much for that.  You can’t win if you don’t play!

Your spending way too long crafting emails:  Okay, clearly there are people who don’t spend enough time reviewing the way in which they communicate.  Those are the folks that read a casting call that says in the second line, “please do not post on this medium, email me directly” and what do they do, they write a post.  However, there is another group of people (hopefully some of you who are reading this), that decide to email, yet spend half an hour thinking of the perfect phrasing to use to express a point.  Why?  Because they care a lot about how people perceive them.  They are people pleasers.   I know this for a fact because I am one of these people.  The problem is I don’t get enough work done as a result and I am fairly sure no one cares that much about my specific word choice. Write it, don’t re-read it more than once and send it.

Case in Point: I spent 45 minutes the other day writing an email.  This is how it went:

  • “I enjoyed meeting you the other day and am interested in hearing more about the opportunity we discussed with your company.”
  • “It was so nice to meet you the other day.  Thank you for sharing details on your new business venture with me.  I’d like to discuss any potential collaborations in which you are interested.”
  • “Thank you for meeting with me yesterday.  I enjoyed talking with you and appreciate your interest in having me potentially collaborate on your project.”

Okay, you get the picture here.  Don’t laugh, I know some of you have done the same thing.

Lesson Learned: Wasted time.  Just get it done and quit worrying about how you sound.

These scenarios are all too common.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit I struggle with all of these.  I primarily see women in the industry challenged with these hang-ups.  They are cautious and want to do a good job.  Many tend to be sensitive.  It’s very hard to hear no.  No one wants to bother others.  We don’t want to be perceived as being a nag, or difficult or over-bearing.  We might not be sure we are really good enough to do something.  The truth is, people get work, develop their business and experience success because at some point they say to themselves, “I’m not worrying about all this nonsense.  I’m going to tell them I believe I can do it, I’m hitting send and I’ll continue to follow-up and chase this goal until they slam the door on my face….and when that happens, I’ll go somewhere else and make it work.

Let it go and just run for it.  Risk failure, collect no’s, stop thinking too much about what others think.  What’s the worst that can happen?  And when you do this and experience success, please let me know so I can be proud of you!

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2 Responses to “Let Go: How Caring Too Much Can Hold You Back From Achieving Success”

  1. RunningFarce April 12, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    This is true. Everyone struggles with these types of things – this post will definitely stay with me as I am pretty much always in one of these types of scenarios. I dig the blog!

    • The Modern Me April 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      I have to go back and read this piece often as I really struggle with these things from time to time as well. Thanks so much for reading!

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