One of my earliest obstacles was my belief that I didn’t have anything to offer the world.
I wanted to express myself.
To follow my heart.
But I thought I wasn’t good enough, and that held me back for years.
I’ve also received emails from readers on how they feel like they have nothing to offer.
Perhaps you’ve felt that way, too?
You feel like you have something to share, but you stop yourself.
You wonder: Isn’t this obvious? Doesn’t everyone already know this? Why would someone pay me for what I know?
You look at the millions of sites out there, and you wonder how you could ever compete.
But What If You Could?
What makes you believe that the stories your mind spins are real?
Looking back, I can see how I held myself back. When I took action anyway, I didn’t magically eliminate my fears.
At first, my mental dialogue intensified. I thought: “I can’t do this. I’m not good enough. I won’t succeed.”
Gradually it changed to: “Maybe I’ll fail. Maybe I’m not good enough. I don’t know. I’m going to try and see what happens.”
You See, I’m Not Fearless
I just fear less.
Meaning, I don’t take my thoughts as seriously.
Fears pop up every day. I’m afraid to do this and that. But I know they are thoughts that will pass if I don’t try to fix them.
I bring my attention back to the present moment. I do what I can with what I have.
Here’s a video where I talk more about this:
The Three Obstacles
At the core, all our fears are the same thing. They are thoughts that we believe in.
A thought holds no inherent power. It plugs into us, just like the machines plugged into the humans in The Matrix.
Just realizing this doesn’t inoculate me from my thoughts. But it gives me added perspective. It gives me space to breathe.
Now let’s have a look at the three obstacles:
1. “I can’t compete with the millions of experts out there.”
When I started Wake Up Cloud, I was 23, and I wrote about personal development.
If anyone was a non-expert, it was me. What could a 23-year-old have to offer?
That thought held me back for years until I finally decided to start anyway.
Wake Up Cloud didn’t start as a way to make money, but a way to share what I was going through, so I decided to start and see what would happen.
You’re experiencing them right now. Wake Up Cloud has 10,000+ subscribers as I write this.
In the first 3-4 months, I went from 0 to 1,000 subscribers. Why? Because I was willing to share my truth, and my view of the world.
And I was willing to work hard.
I realized that this wasn’t about competing, but about honestly sharing what I knew.
2. “Doesn’t everyone already know this?”
Here’s the thing: When you know something, it’s familiar to you, and when something is familiar, it can feel mundane.
One of the definitions of mundane is: lacking interest or excitement; dull.
Even to this day, I have moments where what I write feels dull and unexciting. And I wonder why anyone would care.
But gradually I’ve let go of that thought, because I’ve seen the impact of my writing. I’ve received emails from people who’ve changed their lives because of what I’ve created.
It goes to show that I’m not in charge of deciding what’s mundane or not. I don’t know how my story will affect you.
My job is to do the best I can to help, and to share my story.
The same is true for you. You have to put your story out there, and see the effect it has.
3. “Why would anyone pay me for what I know?”
I don’t know.
But what makes you think you have to know the answer right this very minute?
Why can’t you experiment with what you have?
The reason you can’t see why anyone would pay you for what you know is because you don’t have enough data to go on.
That means you have to start, experiment, and see what happens.
I had no plans to turn Wake Up Cloud into a business, but that’s what happened.
As Charles F. Kettering, businessman and inventor, once said:
Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.
I don’t know where this is going.
I don’t have to know.
You don’t have to know.
All we have to do is be willing to trust that silent whisper within us.
Let it be enough to follow your bliss. Let it be enough to enjoy this moment.
So Do You Have Something Special to Offer?
The problem isn’t that you don’t have anything special to offer.
The problem is that you think you need something, other than what you have, in order to start.
But all you ever need is what you have. Start with what you have, where you are. That’s all you can do.
Stop waiting. Start starting.
As you keep putting in the work, you will improve, gain clarity, and uncover what works for you.
When I started, I didn’t think I had anything to offer, but I started anyway.
I was willing to challenge my assumptions, and that made all the difference.
So often we believe our fears hold all the power, but they don’t. I took action despite not feeling good enough, and I discovered that my fears were nothing but puffs of smoke.
I wasn’t the expert on personal development. I simply shared my story. I kept listening to my audience. As I did that, I improved.
My business grew.
And new doors opened.
Looking back, all I ever had to do was take life one step at a time, one moment at a time.
All the coolest,
P.S. If you still feel like you’re held back from doing what you love, I invite you to check out my book: Do What You Love.
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Marcio CS says
Nice, Henri. It’s really similar to what i’m experiencing right now in my life. I’m doing what i can, and trying to not worry about anything else. I’m just doing it.
That’s the way to do it 🙂
this is really a great post. Thanks for sharing.
You’re right when you say that you don’t have to know everything on your path. As long as you are doing something that makes you happy, fills your days with enthusiasm and is for the greater good, then somehow some magic WILL happen.
I truly believe that..
Wow Henri, this was a great article. I was deeply encouraged to continue to take action doing what I love. I loved the phrase , I am not fearless, I just fear less.
Keep doing what you do because it makes a difference.
Thanks Myrtis! I appreciate it.
I also love that line: fear less.
Each post you write I look forward to and it keeps me thinking that I just have to go for it and have fun learning from my results and experience.
Something about this post just keeps me on my toes.
Keep rocking dude!
Boom. Awesome stuff, Eric!
Henri, thanks for the reminder and inspiration. Fear and doubt are so persuasive. It’s encouraging to hear from someone who faced them and persevered by taking one small action at a time.
Yup. It doesn’t always feel good. But then again: Who says it should?
Thanks for dropping by, Greg!
Joshua Bond says
Hi Henri, I’ve found one way to ‘fear less’ is to remember to always walk towards your fears, and never away from them. And your suggestion of ‘just start…’ is a good way to do this. Thanks for the post.
That’s a great way to look at it, Joshua. And it does have a significant impact on how you view your fears. When you continually walk toward them, you stop being scared of them. They stop ruling your life.
Mallie Rydzik says
Thanks for this. I’m constantly having to remind myself that not everyone knows what I know and that my insight is valuable.
Yes, Mallie. Yes. Yes.
Thanks for posting this. It is exactly how I feel…, and makes me realise that if you can do it, so can I.
Glad to hear that!
Thanks, Henri. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do now. Funny, I’ve stated getting testimony before my first post. Your post inspired me the more.
Steve Roy says
Another great post, my friend. I love your point that you aren’t fearless, but rather fear less.
You hit on some very valid and debilitating points here. I think so many people are worried that they have nothing valuable to offer and therefore give up on their dreams before they even get started.
Your message is inspiring and after reading it, I can see how it might make someone question themselves (in a good way).
I love your work! Keep it up!
Hello. I just discovered your blog and really enjoy this post. Thank you for your thoughts. It certainly speaks to what I’ve been struggling with. For a long time I’ve wanted to write but felt I had “nothing special to offer.” Then I realized I was a therapist with lots to say and I gave myself a good talking to, faced my fear, and started my blog. I’m still afraid, but I’m moving forward.
Hi Henri! Your advice is spot on in this post: take the leap and realize that where you are now is as good a place as any to start. It’s how I’ve moved forward in the past, and it has worked before (mostly!), so why not now? And in the past, whenever things haven’t worked out as planned, I’ve always learnt from the experience and got to know myself a bit better, so it’s a win-win really. Thanks for helping me to see that it’s not such a big deal. I’ve been blogging for a few years, but I’m ready to ramp it up now. Thanks for the nudge. 🙂
Ah Henri, you’re a treasure for sure. When I read your writing I feel the encouragement pouring off the page, it’s like a flow of pure energy, renewing and sustaining. Love your work 🙂
What a breath of fresh air! Thank you, Henri. Maybe, just maybe, I have something to contribute to this world! You tempt me to try!
You absolutely have, but it may not be what you think. It rarely is.
Just what I needed to hear now, Henri. Thanks for the timely encouragement!
i like your way in figuring out life and your videos so much, i really like your simplicity in handling life and really feel comfortable when i listen to you. please keep it up.
Will do. Thanks Sara 🙂
Rose Costas says
Thanks Henri for a great post. I do sometimes feel this way but I am working on becoming better.
Very good article Henri; from the responses I’d say it really resonated with your readers. Confidence is a funny thing; I always felt I needed to get good at something first to get the confidence, but in reality it’s the other way around. And once you have it, and you realize you are worthy and capable, it becomes like a snowball rolling down a hill. Keep inspiring us!
Absolutely, Greg. It doesn’t quite make sense, until it does 🙂
Hi, this is inspirational. We shouldn’t think about what we are going to get out of it before we begin. Begin because you love it and not because you are an expert. Start, not because you will no longer make mistakes, but begin because mistakes will challenge you to do better.
Beautiful, beautiful post.
I agree, this is a great post, Henri! It just takes so much bravery to act despite having these thoughts. 😉
SO. SPOT. ON! Thank you, Henri – this was everything I needed to hear! Much love!
I thought you did really good on this…can I interject a quote I found this week that sorta empowered me away from my fears
“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth”
Maybe your message or passion doesn’t help their situation, but it doesn’t mean it can’t contribute to someone else. We all are walking through, working it out, and are at different junctions. One person’s trash is another’s treasure. Same deal.
Great quote. Thanks for sharing, Savannah!
Thanks a lot, gave me a great outlook, “stop waiting, and start starting” love it, thank you very much, Henri.
Grant Gipson says
Thank you, Henri! I have been struggling with such thoughts as I work on starting my blog. I really needed this encouragement! 🙂
Bob Fraser says
Great article. We all have unique life stories that we can share with others that offer encouragement and inspire others to pursue their dreams and passion.