All too often we’re very good at breaking off great ideas with self-doubt. Our colleague Svenja explains how to deal with your own doubts, in a more…creative way. She also runs her own successful DIY blog alongside her job at Jimdo.
Recently it was time again. Full of enthusiasm and with a great idea in the back of my mind, I started creating a new post for my DIY blog. I began typing away on my keyboard, which I still do alongside my job at Jimdo. After two minutes, I was done. Not because I’m incredibly awesome and can write that fast, but because of this voice again. This little inner voice, which has a favorite victim: Me.
“Hmm, do you really think this is a good idea?” said the voice. “A lot of other bloggers have already written about this and their photos are much nicer than yours. Their text is shorter, wittier and more succinct. Maybe you should just let it go. And look! the windows could do with another clean.”
The next day I complained to my colleague of my inner turmoil and to my great astonishment found a lot of like-minded people: “Yes, that happens to me too—it’s really annoying—we should do something about it!” And so the thought developed: Perhaps there are a lot more people out there who know this voice. And with whom we can share how we’re going to deal with this inner complainer from now on.
We believe that we’ve found a very good way to make the voice less demotivating. We simply gave it a face and a name. Why? Because this way we can meet the nagging voice with humor. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present: Rupert.
So Rupert. Rupert who? Rupert-our-inner-voice-Rupert (not in the schizophrenic sense). The one which embodies self-doubt, fear, and overcaution. Rupert is a kind of inner bully and overbearing watchdog, whose glass is always half-empty, takes a negative view of things for us and is insanely good at telling us that we’re better off on the safe side. Not trying anything new. He prefers to stay in the comfort zone, he feels better there and knows where he stands. This is Rupert.
Meanwhile, “And is Rupert back?” is a phrase that has begun to creep into our team. And he does come back whenever someone sees things from a negative perspective. You wouldn’t believe it, but often just making fun of Rupert can create miracles.
One could even look at the whole Rupert matter from a positive angle. After all, we’re not Rupert, he’s only slumbering in some of our brain convolutions, occasionally awakening and reporting back. Rupert doesn’t mean any harm—he means well. He’s just worried about us, wants to protect and caution us if we go too far, so we don’t crawl back disappointed and hurt.
But as is often the case, the opposite of “good” is often “well meant” and what he unfortunately always forgets is that as warm and snug as it is in the comfort zone, there are no new successes there. We develop no further and become dissatisfied. The inner Rupert grows outward! So let’s teach Rupert that there are band-aids available and you can just blow on a cut, in case you hurt your knee outside the comfort zone.
Kill him with kindness
In some people, Rupert seems to be in a permanent state of hibernation. These are the people whom we admire for their courage, their determination, their risk-taking or self-confidence. Or maybe they have just learned how to deal with their Rupert better and know how to judge their opinions and when they can safely ignore them. We’re convinced that everyone can learn to deal with their personal inner Rupert.
If, for example, you just don’t find your own work good enough. Did you work on a new blog post for your website, take new photos for your online shop but you’re not sure if you want to publish it? Or a new “about me” text you’ve written that feels kind of funny? Then try the following tips:
- Question: Where is criticism coming from—is it you or Rupert?
- In the latter case, make sure that you’re aware of the fact that your inner Rupert has just raised his voice. And remind yourself that you should always approach such bullies with love. In this case, self-love—the key phrase being “kill him with kindness.”
- Remember: Rupert doesn’t mean to be angry, he just worries and is afraid of you falling flat on your face. Reassure him and send him to sleep again. You can always remind him where the first aid kit is, in case anything happens.
- Imagine Rupert as a good friend of yours who doesn’t dare to shine in front of the world—for example, in the form of his new “about me” text on the website. What would you advise him? Wouldn’t you encourage him and tell him to take the step that’s good for him, his website, his visibility on the web and so on? You can use the same encouraging words on yourself and your Rupert.
We’re always afraid to go ahead. Some of us more than others. Personally, I really like my comfort zone. Remind yourself that in each one of us there is a small Rupert sleeping, who wakes up from time to time and cries “WATCH OUT” or wants to keep us back. This makes it easier to deal with negative thoughts and leave our comfort zone because it doesn’t make us happy in the long run. We can engage in dialogue with our inner Rupert, soothe him, and at least make his semi-empty cup half-full again. At least for the moment. The next Rupert is coming—and when he does we’ll be armed to welcome him with open arms and friendly words!
Admittedly, we fell in love with Rupert a little. This is exactly why (and because repression is never good), we will no longer ignore it, but tell you more stories about Rupert’s life and how we can deal with him in the future. Stories that hopefully motivate us all a little and give us courage. As I said, it’s a 100 percent hit rate in our team.
We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your Rupert stories with us. What does your Rupert sometimes say to you? And how do you react to him?