You’re new to the job. Your boss is looking over your shoulder. Do you go on and finish what you’re doing despite the little imps in your head saying:
“no, that’s not right…”
“that’s a stupid idea…”
“now that’s what I call ugly…”
“ok, he’s firing you now…”
Or do you stop, freeze, turn red in the face, do nothing and eventually just get up and leave?
Of course we’d like to think we are these passionate, hard-working, creative daredevils who don’t let anything or anyone stop us from doing what we have to do. Truth is, we are more likely to just stop and do nothing. We don’t publish that blog post for fear that no one will read it. We don’t share our bright new idea for fear that it won’t go viral (really?) We don’t share our latest design for fear that other designers will tear it apart until you feel like some idiot who knows nothing about design. We don’t start sketching for fear that the final artwork won’t look anything like those Disney characters anyway.
I got to re-thinking my freelance career lately and realized I have slacked off. Yes, working for yourself has its benefits. You are your own boss. The problem is when the boss – the captain, the leader, the CEO – stops giving direction and becomes just as clueless as the employee. You don’t want to work for someone like that. You’d rather work for someone you want to impress, someone who could bring out the best in you, even with those imps in your head chattering away. With a boss like this, the fear of doing something–anything at all–won’t really matter. You’ll do it anyway.
I’m working on becoming that kind of boss again. That boss-me looking over my shoulder. The one who pushes me to do my best work regardless. Because giving up and doing nothing is worse than fearing something that may not happen at all.