With all of the content out there, how is it that we can’t always find solutions to our problems? In this post and video, Michelle identifies the missing piece to this puzzle and shares a tactic that you can put it into action right away. The next time expert advice isn’t working for you, try this, and begin to make progress in your creative business, in the way you know you should!
Do you spend your days plugged into podcasts, reading articles, taking courses, listening to audio books and watching YouTube videos? I am right there with you. My name is Michelle, and I am addicted to learning.
If you took a look at the amount of educational content I consume in an average week you may wonder how I ever make progress. And the truth is, I don’t always make the progress that I should, especially considering all the cool information I’m taking in.
You can argue that I spend too much time learning and not enough executing, and that may be partially true. But I’ve come to understand that there’s a larger problem at play. One that is causing us to continually seek new information instead of implementing what we’ve already learned.
The natural state of our minds
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a lazy person, our brains are wired to use conserve power. Functions like critical thinking and problem-solving don’t kick in unless we consciously switch into those states, or it is forced to as a result of being thrown into a stressful situation. Basically, the default mode is maintenance, where our minds seek to find solutions that don’t require much thought. This is why we just want people to give us a straight answer: tell us exactly, in black and white, what we need to do to solve our problem!
This is what our brains are craving, and lucky for us, those answers and solutions are out there.
But something isn’t adding up. If all of the answers to all of our problems are out there, and we are ready to receive them, then why doesn’t this formula always work? Why don’t all of us have the solutions to all of our problems? What to do when expert advice isn’t working for you?
Let’s play Devil’s advocate for a minute, and put blame on the person or the organization who is providing us with help. Maybe, when we look closer, we’ll find that they didn’t actually give us EVERYTHING we needed to succeed.
I am going to use one of my favorite online entrepreneurs, Amy Porterfield as an example. I’m choosing to highlight Amy, because she’s a person who gives you every single thing you need, walks you through concise action steps, and always presents her solutions to your problems in an aesthetically pleasing way, which as a designer, I always appreciate. I cannot think of a better example of a person who truly goes above and beyond to make sure that her audience has everything we need to execute an initiative, whether it be growing our email list, or learning how to set up a webinar.
Sometimes, all of the answers are not enough
I have downloaded countless guides and checklists from Amy over the years. So why is it that my business and my level of success is at a different place than hers? Is it because there was a missing piece that Amy neglected to share with me? Was the information she provided, wrong? Not at all. She definitely knows her stuff.
So if it’s not her, it must be me, right? I must be doing something wrong. Did I not follow her instructions to a tee? No, I did. I did EXACTLY everything that Amy told me to do.
And that, right there, is why these solutions don’t always work.
You can read all the books in the world, get educated by the best, put their instructions into action, but you will never see the levels of success that you are hoping for until you switch out of that maintenance mode and learn to think and make decisions for yourself.
And this is really hard. Because most of us don’t trust ourselves. When we do, it means that we have to take ownership for our actions and that can often lead to us feeling like a failure if things don’t work out. It’s a lot easier to listen to someone else and then blame them when it doesn’t work.
When expert advice isn’t working for you, it’s time to put yourself into the equation
In order for us to be truly successful, we need to take all of that advice, all of that knowledge that’s available to us and apply it to our unique situation. You are the only person who clearly knows what you need. There are people to guide us, to share their experiences, but it is up to us to take in that information, think about it for a minute, and put it through one of these mental funnels:
Funnel 1: I need to do this. Your intuition tells you yes, there is no doubt that this is your answer, and you need to take action right away.
Funnel 2: N/A. Not applicable to you. Not every piece of advice applies to us. If we followed every instruction from everything we ever heard or read, we’d be running around in circles. The intentional decision to not take action can be just as powerful as your decision to take action.
Funnel 3: More info needed. This sounds like it might be a good solution, but there’s some doubt there— either that we don’t trust the person sharing said information, or (more likely) we don’t trust that we are capable of executing it.
Don’t let yourself get stuck in a place of indecision
This third funnel is where most of us tend to stay and end up turning it into Funnel 2, which results in not taking action because we don’t want to make a decision. When we wallow in this place of inaction, we can’t ever expect to see results.
Going forward I want to challenge you to remove that third mental funnel as an option. It’s yes or it’s no. Refusing to make a decision in itself is tiring on the brain. Look at the information that you’ve been provided with and decide: “no, this isn’t for me right now,” or commit to trying it out.
And take notice that I said “trying it out”. Not “succeeding at it immediately and when you don’t, it means you’re a failure.” This is a topic for another day, but in short, choosing Funnel 1 means choosing to experiment and trusting that you’ll get it right if you stay committed.
I would tell you to put this tactic into practice next time consume a new piece of content, but you’re already doing it. You’re reading this article! So you can start right away. When you reach the end of the post, you can say, “hey, that was some really good advice and I am going to follow it,” or you can say, “yeah, I don’t know about this Michelle girl, thanks for the tips, but it’s not for me.”
As long as you make a decision, you are on the right path. Do not wallow in the middle.
Time to take action
If you are someone did find value in this post, please consider sharing it with a family member or friend. Especially those who seem like they should be a lot further along considering how much information they take in. This could be their missing link, and you can be the one to provide them with a solution.
I want to hear from my fellow podcast junkies, bookworms, and chronic course takers. If you are committed to putting all of your learning into practice, type “heck yes”, into the comments right now. If you want to go a little a deeper, tell me something that you just learned, and the action you are going to take to execute it in your business or your life, in YOUR way.
I look forward to hearing how this tactic helps you make the progress that I know you are capable of.
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you’ll help support MichelleHickey.Design, and you’ll receive some amazing stuff, too. Whohoo!
For more inspiration on trusting yourself, check out Episode 014 of A Podcast for Creatives.