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Stop Self-Sabotage: Dreaming Big in Small Ways

(This post about dreaming big is part of my weekly Monday Morning Blast-Off email series. To get emails like this in your inbox every Monday morning, head here.)

Happy Monday!

Every week, I send out the Monday Morning Blast Off email to a really cool group of folks who want to boost their creative productivity.

Last week I asked people to tell me what some of their shoot-for-the-moon dreams were, and I got some really lovely responses — everything from having a quiet writing retreat to being a radical agent of change in the last years before retirement.

My point was that if we truly believe in those crazy big goals, we will set our daily goals to reflect that.

But I realized that dreaming big isn’t just about big picture goals.

We need to dream big about the small things, too.

And I’m terrible at it.

Dreaming big about zombies

I have a tendency to half-ass marketing my books. I figure if people find the book and like it, that’s great. But, like, I don’t want to annoy people by shouting about it!

I’m telling myself it’s because I want to focus on writing the next thing — but the real reason is because I’m afraid of watching a project bomb.

I don’t actually believe it could be a success, so I lie and tell myself I don’t care if it’s successful. And so I don’t put in the effort to make it happen.

And so it bombs. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’m working on a sort of weird short story collection about zombies and corporate communication that I want to release this summer, and I’ve falling into that trap. Thinking it’s just, you know, this little book. Maybe somebody will like it. Maybe not. But whatever, I’ll just toss it up on Amazon and see.

But this week I realized that it could actually have a lot of potential to get picked up by niche media outlets, and promoted by big industry names. And if I truly believe in it, I need to double down on marketing to give it the best shot of going viral.

I can either shrug and “leave it to fate,” or I can work up the guts to email big-name people for blurbs, pitch it to major sites, pay for advertising, and ask for help from people with bigger audiences than me.

And, dammit, that’s what I’m going to do.

Because how can I expect myself to achieve big dreams if I’m scared to set big goals for small dreams?

Your homework

Do you have any passion projects that — let’s face it — you’re letting die because of lack of faith in yourself?

Ask yourself why. Is it because you’re afraid of putting 110% in and still failing to make a mark, like I am? Are you worried what others might think about it? Do you think it’s just not that important?

Now ask yourself what steps you’d have to take to ensure that project has a chance to shine.

You’re putting in the work. Don’t be afraid to push it across the finish line with all your strength.

You’ve got this.

Now tell me: what one thing are you going to do this week to help your project reach its full potential?


(If you’re curious about the weird zombie/corporate short story collection, one of the pieces that’s going in it was recently published on McSweeney’s. Check it out!)

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