Anchors That Hold us Back (And How to Cut Them Loose)
Compliments, Cold Outreach, and Picking Rejection Over Regret
Self-awareness is the foundation of self-improvement. Because intentional growth starts with benchmarking where we are in relation to where we want to go.
It’s similar to how most professions work:
Doctors diagnose patients before prescribing treatments
Trainers assess student needs before designing training programs
Startups validate customer problems before building products to solve them
The list goes on.
But self-awareness is often a blind spot. Unless you regularly stop and reflect, you forego proper digestion of your thoughts and experiences.
Whether you’re a creator, entrepreneur, or just want to level up personally and professionally, here’s a quick exercise to try:
Imagine you’re sitting in a kayak at sunset. You’re paddling along leisurely, gliding across the water toward your destination and you start to reflect on your current quest toward a dream. What are the (metaphorical) anchors holding you back from achieving it?
Pause for a moment to think of them (you can even make a list).
Once you’re ready, dive into the next section. As you read through it, look for correlations to the anchors you noted above and imagine how you can cut them loose.
3 Wise Tips (From 3 Wise Women)
Here are three Tweets I saw this week from three brilliant women (I’ve linked their bios below so you can follow them for more):
Accept & Integrate Compliments
Most of us struggle to accept compliments as if doing so would be arrogant or unseemly. I used to default to deflecting and still struggle with this at times but because it pains me when others do, I’m working on graciously accepting and integrating compliments. If feels better and sets a better example for those I exchange them with regularly.
Takeaway: If you want to be a confident person who empowers others, learn to graciously accept compliments and integrate the insights they glean into your life and work. A simple “thank you” is a great starting point.
Never Stop Pitching Yourself
This message is directed at freelance writers but its essence speaks to anyone keen to land a job, expand their network, and open up a world of opportunities. I say this because most of the jobs I’ve landed in my career resulted from cold outreach. You’d be surprised at how far a thoughtful message goes (I mean this generally and geographically given I bagged a job in Paris from Australia). I wrote more about this in a previous newsletter called Main Character Energy in which I shared this throwback to one of my many successful outreach stories:
Pitching yourself can mean many different things. But an overall best practice is to present the opportunity as a win-win. You need to quickly pinpoint what’s in it for the recipient, why you’re the right candidate, and share why you’re excited about the opportunity.
Takeaway: The most successful people I know regularly send cold emails and messages on social media to people they’re keen to connect with. So even if you just want to meet someone for coffee to learn more about their career, go for it.
Worst case scenario they say no or don’t respond. Best case scenario you make a life-changing connection that opens up a whole new world of possibilities. If that doesn’t put things in perspective I don’t know what will.
Decide Which is Worse: Rejection or Regret
Understanding the contrast between pain induced by rejection versus regret is one of life’s biggest lessons. In entrepreneurship and creator communities, rejections are a badge of honour. Because they represent opportunities people went to bat for in an effort to chase their dreams. As boxer and punchy writer Ed Latimore would say “If you ain’t getting rejected, you’re not trying hard enough.”
Takeaway: Rejection is simply redirection. Sometimes it makes you realize deep down you don’t really want what you’ve been seeking, other times it prompts you to consider a better path to your goal. Either way, you’re propelled forward once you get your bearings. By contrast, regret leaves you looking back.
I hope these gems of wisdom help you identify any anchors that have been holding you back, and give you momentum to cut them loose and sail toward your dream.
Have a wonderful week,
P.S. If you enjoyed this edition, drop a like or comment to let me know. Thank you.
⏩ If you want to help me promote my newsletter, share this one with friends.
💻 If you want to build a cohort-based course, join my Course + Community of Practice.
☕ If you want to grab coffee in Montreal, hit reply to let me know when you’re in town.