Theodore Roosevelt once said: ‘comparison is the thief of joy’.
Since I started coaching clients, the question I hear over and over again is ‘Am I good enough?’ People who want to write a book or get their book out there to a wider audience often tell me they are fearful that the market for what they write about is already overcrowded, ‘there are already so many books on my subject’, they lament, ‘will anyone be interested in mine?’
Of course my answer is always the same – ‘there may be many books on your topic but there’s only one ‘YOU’. That’s why it’s critical to really know your YOU-sp (USP) – what it is that makes you YOU-niquely different.
Having said that I’m not immune either to the odd ‘wobble’ about my credentials. Recently I was thinking about planning an event around helping people with their public speaking skills, helping experts and entrepreneurs become the Go-To expert in their field and how to attract opportunities and maximise them.
Just as I was about to start looking at venues I saw some advertising for an event not dissimilar to the one I was planning – except that this entrepreneur had hired a huge venue and seemed to be totally rocking and at the top of her game in that arena. What did I do? Panic! I went through all those same concerns and fears, am I really good enough, could I ever fill out a big conference venue?
I must admit I really did feel as though the wind had been taken out of my sails, it took a session with a great inspirational coach (we all need someone a few steps ahead of us) to make me realise that my experience and message is not the same as my ‘competitor’ and what I share with my audience is different and just as I remind my clients, I too have my own skills, talents and specific USP – for starters I’ve had twenty-five years in the media and been on both sides of the microphone!
So I calmed down and recognised that by simply comparing myself unfavourably to someone else who seemed to be ahead of me, I was procrastinating, holding myself back from just getting on with sharing my YOU-nique brilliance, I was allowing all the negative inner talk to take over.
Sometimes of course it’s good to check out the competition. Google around and see what others are doing in your field. It also doesn’t make much sense to host your event the same weekend as a competitor if the target audience may be similar, but don’t get obsessed by what others are doing. There will always be people ahead of us (thank goodness, they can pave the way and help us) and there will always be those coming up behind. And, perhaps with our unique skills talents and clear definable ‘USP’ we can assist some of those newbies – the ones who are our ideal clients.
That’s the key really, there’s only one YOU and you are the right person for the right ‘tribe’ or ‘community’. Other experts, brand owners and teachers will be the right person for another community. Ultimately it’s a big old ocean and there’s room for lots of ripples, so go ahead and make your waves!
One tip – before you start your speech, or make the important phone call to get you noticed, or even sit down to craft your course or write your book, try the Dr David Hamilton approach to feeling confident:
It’s scientifically proven that good posture helps with self-esteem, so regularly practice (and definitely before any kind of performance), stand with your feet about hip width apart, as if rooted into the ground, shoulders back, head up, look straight ahead, take a deep breath and say out loud ‘I am enough’ – Yes you really are!