A tip for clearing hurdles to sharing your work

Founding Mother, Chard & Stripes

Last week I made the case for sharing your work.

But even in pre-cancellation times, putting work in public could be a scary thing:

Your work—or worse YOU—could get panned.

Or you could fail by your standards and feel like a fool. Or maybe worst of all, no one would notice or care, so you might think it’s better not to share and never find out.

Though the reasons to keep dreaming over creating are compelling, they’re not as compelling as this:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”—Maya Angelou

That is, if you allow yourself to feel what you feel.

Bronnie Ware is a former nurse whose patients had gone home to die. When she asked them about regrets or what they’d do differently, they expressed a common sentiment:

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

By relaying that, I’m not suggesting you go buck wild. But I am suggesting you to be true to yourself and let the story inside you—be it artwork, a startup, or something else—be born.

But I get there are hurdles to doing that. Here’s a tip to help clear them:

Malcolm Gladwell is a “skinny Canadian” (his words) who writes books that are both loved and reviled.

On an afternoon binge-watching interviews of the guy, I listened closely when his interviewer asked how he dealt with haters (my words).

Malcolm answered that he only cared about what his mother and a certain friend had to say.

To clear hurdles to sharing your work, decide now whose opinions you care about.

Within limits.

No matter who you are or what you do, someone will think you didn’t get it right.

When that happens to me, I ask my inner self what she thinks. And should I not hear her and get confused, I ask my mom, my man or two friends who’ve cleared hurdles to sharing work themselves.

Who’ll make your shortlist?

Just remember as you make it that even their opinions are just that—opinions.

At the end of the day, each of us can decide what success means.

I believe a desire to feel good (or better) is why we bother wanting to be, do, or have anything. So if I feel good doing the work and like what I make, it means it’s a success no matter what my shortlist says!

Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon is a scientist turned storyteller and Founding Mother of Chard & Stripes, a “school” of prosperity making and word-of-mouth marketing platform for kind people, products and businesses in food, fashion & more. Subscribe to her newsletter here.