Discovering that you don't suck #podcast

For as long as I can remember, I've had this voice in my head that's been awfully convincing. It's done everything it can to persuade me that I'm not good enough as I am, that people don't care about what I create, and that I'm delusional if I think I can contribute something meaningful.

Clearly, that voice is an asshole. And we've all got one.

I call it our Clever Brain. I suppose scientists call it the amygdala. Same, same.

If we don't understand how this sucker works, the consequences are devastating. If we listen to that voice prattle on about how we're not enough and we believe it, nobody wins. If we don't see it for what it is and choose to make something anyway, we cannot come fully alive and give what we're meant to give.

I know this, as a coach. I walk it, as an entrepreneur.

Conceiving Recollect and doing all that it takes to bring it to life is more than a lot of work—it's a damn lifestyle. One that feels like coming home, in many ways. It's an adventure that I've poured myself into for about a year now.

And yesterday, when I was tallying up the results of the week's prototyping, I had this sinking feeling that things were not going well. I could hear Clever Brain snitting about how not as many people were participating, that the content wasn't helping as many of them feel better, and how I'm almost certainly annoying all of them at this point. I'm asking too much. This is going on too long. No one cares. If they're still answering, they're just being nice, but don't want to tell me the truth—this "skateboard" version of the future app sucks.

Sigh. This is what it is to be a human person making something out of nothing.

Thank god for stats. Turns out, 7 fewer people participated this week. Not 20 or more, as my Clever Brain would have me believe. Responses submitted were slightly higher than last week's total (though I did go a day longer because I forgot what day of the week it was). Percentage of people who felt better were 59% which tied for the highest rate so far. The percentage of content that people rated as 5-star (the highest possible rating) was at a four-week high of 41%. I'll break from nerding further to underscore—my Clever Brain is an asshole and this prototype doesn't completely suck.

Then I summoned the courage to ask people if they've had occasion to tell anyone about Recollect. Because ultimately, that's the hallmark of something great—when you love it so much, you tell people about it. 

Seemed ballsy to ask that question this early, with a prototype for god's sake. At least that's what my Clever Brain said. I asked anyway. 

85% of them said yes, they had.

That's pretty great. Yet, I still have a Clever Brain that's an asshole—it swore the people that hadn't told anyone about it did so because they hated it.

So I summoned the courage to ask the people who hadn't mentioned Recollect to anyone—what would have to change for them to find it worth mentioning?

Two of those people who said no realized that hang on, they had actually said something. They just hadn't remember straight off. Another didn't realize it was OK to share about it. Another hadn't had enough time. Another thought it was good, but not good enough that she'd want to shout it from the rooftops (unsurprising, since we're at the bare minimum of anything resembling an app at this point). Another just wanted there to be an easy way to share it because he didn't have the brain space to try to explain it.

I took a deep breath. I exhaled.

Then I received this message from someone who said yes, she'd shared it, "I have! I shared about it on my FB and I also showed the texts to some friends the other night at dinner. They all asked for info!"

That's when the tears started running down my cheeks. Because this woman was not someone I knew previously. As best I can tell, she saw a post of mine on LinkedIn, thought it sounded cool and hopped on our little skateboard version. This is not a pity yes. It's a genuinely enthusiastic yes. 

The tears were for the countless hours, day after day, of sloshing through self-doubt and terrible odds. It can be a lonely and soul shaking thing at times to have a crystal clear vision of something so amazing that doesn't exist. That will help so many people who don't yet know it. 

I lied when I responded to her, though I didn't realize it in the moment. Maybe I did. I told her that it had made my day. That's an understatement. It's made my stage of this adventure. 

It's a breadcrumb from the Universe that whispers, "Keep going." So, Holli, thank you for being an angel-human-person who took the time to share that with me. It means a lot. 

To all y'all with Clever Brains and creative hearts—this much I know: It's not our job to judge our creative impulses and determine whether they're worthy of the light of day. It's not our job to decide for people before asking them. It's our job to show up, create the best we can and summon the courage to ask people whether or not they want it.

Uahshghsghshslsllhshshshshsh. I didn't spell that accurately, but I don't care. That's the sound of me having the willies. Just writing it makes me want to yak a bit. But this is the gig of being human. 

So I'm ready for another week. Have another 22 categories of content ready for the skateboard riders this week. I can't wait to see what they think. I also want to hide a little. But more of me wants to know what they think so I can make them feel better. So that wins.

If you'd like to join us for a "ride" on our skateboard of a prototype, please request an invite below and receive an email explaining what the hell a skateboard is, in this context.

The adventure continues...

Amy Jones