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Balls of Steel™: Reality Check

There’s a fine line between being pathetic, being ballsy, and being delusional. Knowing the different messages your actions send is essential to your success.

There’s a fine line between being pathetic, being ballsy, and being delusional. Knowing the different messages your actions send is essential to your success.

As many of my readers know, I have a pretty big Twitter presence. In fact, I’m know as the “Twitter Pimp Angel,” meaning if I can help someone out, either personally or by connecting them with someone who can, I will. But when a person contacts me and is wishy washy, or terribly insecure in their request, it turns me off from helping them.

That may seem anti-pimplike, but allow me to explain.

Little Emz 2012

Little Emz 2012

Say I open a door to one of my contacts for someone who is a wuss. They walk through said door and instantly blow the opportunity because they stink of desperation. Not only have they made a bad first impression with someone in my network, but I now have also made a bad impression on a person I worked hard to gain access to.

No one wins.

But if the person walked through the door with confidence, having a script that shined and was of value, they would look fabulous, and I would be perceived as valuable to that contact because I brought them someone of quality.

Everyone wins.

The flip side is being overly confident and thinking you’re bigger than you are.

Let’s say you’re a film student working on an indie short and have agreed to do so for credit only, no pay. After agreeing, you realize the workload involved and decide to contact the producer, now asking for money or you’re out.

Not so fast.

The indie film is already over budget, as all indies are, an agreement was in place the producer expects you to honor, and said producer has also given you the opportunity to work with top talent whose work has been at Sundance and Cannes.

On one hand this might be perceived as someone respecting the value they bring to the table, but on the other hand, someone with this little experience isn’t truly bringing a lot of value, they are still in the learning stages. You can’t expect to be paid to learn.

Instead, you should be paying your dues, just like the rest of us did. Everyone on a project can be replaced. Every. Single. Person.

Working with top talent is invaluable. Trust me, it’ll bring much more to your arsenal of skills than a few hundred bucks will.

When I started off freelance writing, I wrote countless articles for nothing in order to get published clips. Since I wasn’t getting paid, I thought of other ways to benefit. For example, I always asked the editors to post a recommendation for me on my LinkedIn page. Recommendations are worth far more than immediate dollars, because they will lead to more money in your pocket in the future.

Learn the skill of knowing what is real and what is fake.

People always say, “Let’s do lunch.” But they really don't want to. Personally, I always try to meet people eye-to-eye to size them up.

The dangerous thing about social media is folks hide behind the avatar. So many people I have met are totally different than I expected. But the ones who are exactly as I expected are the ones I know I want to work with.

So how do you help your odds of being someone a person truly wants to help?

Make yourself interesting. Show them you work hard. Have a personality, and demonstrate you are grounded in reality about your career, your abilities, and your life. I address more on the value of paying it forward in Give to Receive.

Above all, be realistic. Being a wuss and being cocky are equally unattractive. So is being delusional. If someone tells you your writing needs work, don’t get defensive. Instead, hear what they’re saying and why they feel you need improvement. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to make you a better writer. Accepting reality and doing the hard work will.

This advice goes for life too. Whether it is in love, your finances, or your health, keeping your feet firmly planted in reality will get you through your problems faster. Ignoring them will only make them worse in the long run.

I'm not discounting how hard it is to accept the truth, whether it's someone who wants to break up with you, or a positive result on a cancer biopsy. But living in denial of those realities isn't going to solve your problems. Your lover will still want to be free, and your cancer will still be eating your insides.

Ignoring your problems will kill you.

I know this well. I’ve had significant money before and lost it all because I chose to live in denial of the crashing stock market. I could have curled up in a ball but instead I got my ass to work and learned to use my hunger to drive my career forward.

I may not have the material possessions I used to, but my character is something no horrible economy can ever take away from me.

Living in reality, not succumbing to fear, and having confidence in your ability to succeed is what will ultimately lead to your success.

Keep it real. It will keep you sane.