“IT” Will Kill Your Business: Stephen King’s 5 Survival Skills for Exorcising Self-Doubt Demons

IT lurks in the shadows. IT creeps in when you least expect, pouncing in the night. IT knows where you sleep. IT rejoices in your nightmares. IT feeds off your fears and IT knows what you’re thinking. IT seeks to destroy you. Don’t walk… RUN from IT!

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me…

What is IT? “IT” is your insecurity and self-doubt – that nagging devil inside you that seeks to consume your passion and drain your energy. That demon will eat you alive if you let it.

Stephen King – Master of Horror, inventive novelist, professional “NY Times Book List” mainstay, and entrepreneur extraordinaire. Did the last one throw you? Don’t act so surprised! Stephen King has a unique perspective to offer young visionaries, and he knows it. His memoir, for example, outlines his process for churning out high quality products (you know, his writing) with such speed and efficiency. Few people today can claim to have the kind of motivation it takes for King to leverage his creative spirit for such enormous profit. A key secret to his success, it seems, could be as simple as eliminating self-doubt. Easy, right?

Stephen King built a horror/fantasy/suspense dynasty and has enjoyed decades of professional growth and success that continues to be marketable and profitable today. When a man of King’s twisted intelligence and esteem tells you how to start conquering doubt and kicking ass… you listen.

“IT” dares you not to.

“The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.”Stephen King

Give Self-Doubt the Middle Finger Drive By!

1. Embrace Life’s Many Wildcards

I can’t believe how often people try to steal my time. I mean, I also feel like most emails, texts, and meetings pretty much fall under the category of “stealing my time.” If you don’t know what you need and just want to hash out details in a brainstorming sesh or text back and forth spitballing for an hour, you are wasting my life. These agenda-less assholes are like the creepy twins in The Shining – “come play with us.” So. Much. NOPE.

I digress. My point is that sometimes some paranormal force of nature will be banging down your door, trying to distract you from creating, too. Acknowledge it when it’s happening. Interrupt it immediately. Hang up, leave the room, don’t respond to the texts – whatever it takes to get back into your zone.

You may have doubts about doing that because it’s rude and damaging to relationships, or whatever. I had that fear too, because I’m human, but it sucked my life out of me and my business. I’m blunt now, and people get used to it, and most people even appreciate it.

When wildcards try to pull you away from what matters most, you may be tempted to become a defensive, hostile dillhole. I know I did. Leave me alone to do my cock-a-doodle work, right?! But negativity is contagious and hard to shake; so just rewrite the story. I can easily deal with the chaos, create flow, and persist like a motherf!*#ker now, because I don’t let anyone control how I react anymore. Take on what is keeping you from your flow. Eliminate it.

2. Unplug from Electronics

At the beginning of my career, I thought that if I was available all day, everyday I could prove my productivity to onlookers. I was always plugged in. It wasn’t until I grabbed a slice of advice from Mr. Stephen the King that I was able to see the way I was working wasn’t actually working for my brand.

To keep an edge on my friends and investing partners, I slashed my electronic facetime. I don’t give a shit if I have my iPhone with me for hours or even days. My team has learned to never assume I am available. I’m not at their beck and call – they’re at mine. I’m the boss! YEAH!

Really though, putting down our phones, closing our laptops, and eliminating all of the digital noise will break that perpetual tech-check cycle and bring you an instant full-body sigh of relief. Aaaaahhhh… It’s totally cool to love technology, but creative genius can’t change the world when it spent the day searching hilarious cat videos on YouTube. Giving yourself the time and space to unplug and unwind is essential for your overall well-being, and it will sharpen your focus and intensity when you get back to work.

Breathe in – breathe out, take a sledgehammer and smash the shit out of your phone to drop the addiction cold-turkey… (kidding… totally kidding… what if your mom calls?) Just know that your output is going to bring you more self-confidence and growth than the validation from Julie in Atlanta who liked your selfie.


3. Keep It Simple, Sucka!

Simple is NOT my middle name. It’s actually Terence. So it’s really not my fault that I didn’t always know how to simplify my life and focus on my goals. Everyone needed something from me, and I wanted to prove that I can fucking rock the guacamole out of everything with a smile because it’s a piece of cake! So many food metaphors.

I was pulled every which way but loose and I wasn’t working on my passions. My multi-tasking-miracle-mayo was spread too thin. (Maybe I could use a snack). Sure, the gratitude of others seeking my help was great and all, but keeping up with an overbooked schedule wore me down and created doubt that I could continue achieving my goals and performing at that level.

Stephen King advises us not to overload. If you become overextended, you’re likely to be forgetful and distracted. You’re not running efficiently because you’re bogged down and scrambled up. Then when everything starts to unravel, you feel guilty for not being able to meet your own expectations, and boom – there’s that “IT” creeping up again!

It’s when I swallowed that horse pill and became realistic with my schedule, and I found I got more done than ever before and murdered my goals. Learn to say no when you need to focus on personal goals and watch your production skyrocket.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”Stephen King

4. Eat the Frog

Before finding my workflow, I had a dream and a prayer, but not much else. I wanted so badly to achieve my dreams, but felt overwhelmed with the whole process. Not to mention that self-doubt stopped by to ask if I could even make my dreams a reality. Dick. Total destructive mind-fuck. Wise words by Stephen King reminded me it will take pure grit and good old fashioned hard work to accomplish my goals.

When I stopped making excuses and started doing the dirty work, I made progress and moved closer to where I wanted to be. There’s always going to be something better, more fun, or more interesting to be doing than the shit no one else wants to do. If you’re looking for it, you’ll always find another errand or distraction that can take you away from the hard work that needs to be done. When we tackle the hardest tasks on our awesomeness-accomplished-checklist, we feel lighter all day for having it off our plate.

Rest assured that all the white noise in the background will still be waiting for you when you’re done.

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”
Stephen King

5. No One Likes A Cocky Bastard

This has NEVER been my story so I can’t relate… I am so humble. I am the most humble. No one out there is more humble than me. I dare you to even try to find one person who is more humble.

Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch, and maybe when I started my business and landed my first major gig, I thought, “YES! I finally made it! This is it, the big time baby! Smooth sailing from here out!” You can probably guess how that scenario played out. I became a huge success and people tell stories of my greatness.

Well… so they don’t yet. But it’s coming.

In actuality, I was NOT met with client after client even though I thought they would just roll in from there. I actually needed to work twice as hard to provide a quality product and see that all my clients received the same grade-A service they had come to expect.

Reading Stephen King’s diddy about how he almost lost edge due to premature victory-dancing helped me see that humility is what will keep me on top. SK wrote about how he quickly fell victim to his own ego after his first big bestseller, and how he had to reign himself in before his work suffered. Self-doubt may be the devil, but becoming overconfident means you’ll get lazy and your products and business will suffer. Crushing self-doubt does not mean becoming a cocky bastard.

Humility is an attractive trait that will keep you grounded and centered even as your business explodes. The disappointment that came with not attaining the outcome I thought I could achieve could have been my business demise had I let it. But SK’s personal experience in finding his humility gave me wisdom to beat self-doubt. I corrected my negative thoughts and kept grinding for continued growth.


Final Thoughts:

Horror groupies know there are Survival Do’s and Survival Don’ts; choose wisely, or meet your demise. To survive against doubt, remember to:

  • Stay flexible. Learn to adapt without getting worked up. Accept that things won’t always go as planned. Refuse to let curveballs hinder your attitude or your workflow.
  • Travel Light. Eliminate distractions and become more productive. Learn to leave the electronics at home and plug-in to your surroundings. Don’t let yourself get bogged down, stressed, and overwhelmed.
  • Simplify. Keep your goals simple and realistic. Focus on quality over quantity.
  • Keep moving. Don’t allow yourself to become paralyzed by fear. Anxiety accomplishes nothing and only those who press through the scary parts survive.
  • Stay humble and hungry. It will never stop taking a lot of hard work to survive and thrive. Have an attitude of gratitude and keep hustling.

Even though self-doubt is pretty much universal to the human experience, it can do serious damage to your dreams. Left unchallenged, it will starve you body, mind, and spirit. Don’t get Thinner – follow King’s guide to exorcising those doubting demons from your life. Take his survival guide and apply it to your own business. I care about your success. I want you to thrive.

In the words of Annie Wilkes,

“I’m your number one fan.”