“Here are a couple of tips about what to do when you’re on the verge of doing something but you’re afraid:
“I have this expression that when you’re 50 percent terrified and 50 percent exhilarated about something, leap. The terror will keep you grounded and anchored and keep you like sharp on your toes. The exhilaration will keep you optimistic and buoyant. But, until you get to that point where you’re ready to leap, you think you want to apply for a new job you think you want to launch that project that’s been in your back pocket for years or that you want to write that book or submit an application or proposal, here’s two mindsets to take on:
#1: The Glib mindset: when you have a totally Glib attitude, where you don’t take yourself so seriously, it’s a lot easier because the stakes don’t feel as high. So for example, many years ago I was a very young early stage professor. I was an assistant professor, I had a year under my belt and my dean sent me an application to apply for a fellowship. I thought, ‘I can’t apply for this, I don’t have a PhD, all these other people will be applying will be much more pedigreed than me. I can’t do this.’ So, I basically talked myself down from the tower by saying ‘what the heck, I’m going to try anyway.’ I might even had a glass of wine by my computer while I was filling up the application, but basically, I wrote that a researcher will need a full round trip business class ticket to South Africa, research will need a new laptop computer, etc, I went on and on, and to my amazement, I received the fellowship. I credit a large part to my not taking myself so seriously, not thinking there was no chance that I would ever get the opportunity and it took away all of those inhibitions, all those fears, and I went for it.
#2: In addition to the Glib mindset is the rage mindset. I was talking to a friend of mine who has recently moved abroad to Switzerland to begin a new chapter of her career and she was talking about the value of rage applications. When you have one of those days in your job where you feel totally taken for granted, ignored, not totally valued, try this technique. She just went home and she looked up job openings that she thought were totally aspirational, there was no way she would ever get a call back from these positions and just for the heck of it, out of rage to internally getting back at her boss and her colleagues, she went and applied. To her surprise, she got a call back which led to a conversation, an interview and several conversations later, an offer.
“Those are the two mindsets that are super important to make those creative leaps. The Glib mindset: don’t take yourself so seriously, just go for it. And secondly the rage mindset: where you just feel so empowered and you just want to stick it to the other person.”
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