My Quest for Greatness

Greatness is defined by “the quality of being great, distinguished, or eminent.”

Do I want to be distinguished or eminent? Well, distinguished wouldn’t be awful but I don’t need to be famous or anything. I really just want to build something that helps people and also allows me to follow my dreams.

My issue is that I push myself so hard, take on too much and then get SO tired that I just want to throw it all away. I want to doubt myself. For the first time in a year, I said to myself, “maybe I don’t want to own my own business. Maybe I should just go ahead and be someone that sits at a desk all day”. (NOT THAT THAT IS A BAD THING! NOT AT ALL.) It’s just not for me.

This doubt, however, made me wonder…

I wondered because an hour later I was back to my entrepreneurial self.

So, where does that doubt come from? And how can I make sure it doesn’t get in the way of my dreams?

Funny story, it turns out doubt actually comes from the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. It’s the area of the brain that is right behind the eyes. (Keep in mind that I was a pre-med student with a minor in neuroscience) Emphasis on the WAS. When a person doubts themselves, doubt overcomes the brain and it makes it very hard to see things any different. It comes on to protect you from failure and risk. It can save you, but it can also really impact your life for the worst.

You can overcome doubt, you just have to be strong enough. You have to be strong enough, determined enough and willing enough to put yourself out there. You have to be able to accept the failure. I have been wanting to own my own business for the last three years of my life. My parents, they honestly, I think we’re not necessarily upset, but they weren’t thrilled either.

I think it might have scared them a little? Especially because I had started a blog to make money four years ago and it didn’t work. I had tried to work for myself multiple times over the past few years, it didn’t work. I started getting money from this blog last year and that was exciting, but it wasn’t paying the bills. I got some clients and kept moving forward until I created my first online course. That was a TOTAL fail. Like when I say fail, I mean FAIL.

There was a weird part of me that was upset because I spent so much time on it but also, I didn’t want to give up. So, I finished out my semester last fall and then I started working on a book. Fast forward to now, and I had what I would call an extremely successful launch. I never would have imagined that I could have something like this. If we back up about one week and two days, well that is where this doubt came in…

I had finished the book and I had gotten everything ready for the launch, but I couldn’t help but think it was going to fail. I felt awful about myself. Thinking, “why did I ever think that this was going to work?” Well, I didn’t make a million dollars but to be honest, I didn’t want too. I am honestly only writing this to show someone else, to help someone else realize that no matter how many times you fail, please just keep going. As long as you aren’t pouring thousands of dollars into it, keep moving forward. You will get your break. You will succeed. DO NOT let doubt take over your brain or your body.

That takes me to the next part of the brain. The part where motivation comes from.

So, motivation basically has to do with which pathway dopamine takes. In case you need a refresher on what dopamine is. It is actually one of the brain’s neurotransmitters. It is a chemical that carries information between the neurons in the brain. In simpler terms, because we aren’t all neuroscientists here, dopamine is a boat in your brain that carries signals to different parts of the brain. It helps with way more than just motivation BUT that is all we care about here.

The whole point of dopamine is to hype us up before we obtain rewards. How motivation affects us has to do with the path that the boat takes. For example, the boat starts at the hypothalamus and then travels to different parts of the brain. When the boat reaches the striatum and prefrontal cortex, (we have already semi talked about this part of the brain!) it makes us more willing to work harder. When the boat veers off and goes to the anterior insula, you lose that wiliness to work hard.

You are probably wondering why I am telling you all of this gibberish about a boat and your brain, well, I am telling you this because there are ways that you can make sure that doubt never gets in the ways of your dreams again.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Record your small accomplishments. Like a to-do list or a done list if you want! It reinforces how you are making strides towards your goals.
  • Share your results with others. Communicating your results and your little “wins” will result in positive feedback.
  • Make sure you are staying on task and focusing on how good it feels to complete your projects.

I know these things seem lame and like they won’t help you, but I promise you they will. You can increase your motivation through positive feedback. That comes from tracking your progress.

I know the title says MY quest for greatness, but this blog post wouldn’t be any fun if I just spent the whole time talking about myself. That being said, I also have NO idea what I am doing, (Sorry parents) All I mean by that is I know what I love, and I know that I want to work for myself. But even though I don’t have my whole life figured out, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to follow my dreams. You figure these things out as you go and that is that. So, my quest, I’m still figuring it out. But I know that I have motivation on my side and that is all I need. (and of course, the support from my friends and family)

Thanks so much for reading to the end!

Until next time,

Hannah

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