Are You Creating Your Own Hell?

I just got off the phone with a very dear friend of mine. Her normally laid-back life has suddenly turned tumultuous — and she’s not quite sure how to handle it. What she is sure about is that she wouldn’t be in this situation had she addressed issues a little faster – and had a few more tough conversations.

In short, she knows that she created her own hell.

Her situation made me think of all the ways we create our own business (and personal) hell. Instead of dealing with issues head-on, we let FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) stand in our way. We let things fester, hate the “place” we’re in and come up with every excuse we can think of to explain why our current situation can’t change.

For instance, do any of these statements sound familiar to you?:

  • I know that my current site copy isn’t working. Our bounce rate is horrible. But I don’t want to go through the hassle of figuring out the SEO and hiring a writer.
  • I know my clients want SEO help, and I know I need SEO copywriting training. I just don’t feel like I have any money to spend on training help right now.
  • I really wanted to work with a consultant, but their hourly rate is too high for me. I guess I’ll never be able to hire anyone.
  • I don’t feel good and I know I’m gaining weight. But I’m already working so many hours. I don’t have time to exercise.
  • I hired someone to help me once. But it didn’t quite work out. I guess online marketing only works for the big boys.
  • My home page is so keyword-stuffed. But if I change it, I’m afraid that I’ll lose my search engine positions. I better stick with the bad copy just in case…

It may be easy to say, “Duh, they could change the situation just by doing X.” But the thing is , when we’ve created our own hell, we don’t immediately see the lifeline. We don’t see how easy it is to change our situation. Instead, we live our life around the word “no.” “No, I can’t do that.” “No, I don’t have enough money.” “No, I’d rather feel poorly than try to find workout time.”

Granted, it’s smart to be cautious. If you have no money in the bank, it may not be the best decision to quit your day job and start your own business. If your cash reserves are low, spending $50,000 a month on PPC may not be in the cards.

And that’s OK. What’s not OK is resigning yourself to your current situation, letting the word “no” rule your life, and refusing to examine your own thought process.

You can, right now, stop creating your own hell.

For instance, if you’re a web writer and your clients are asking for SEO copywriting, why would you let “I don’t have money for SEO copywriting training” stand in the way of making more money? Will you recoup your investment immediately? Maybe not. But you will recoup it. That’s a much smarter long-term strategy than creating your own business hell and leaving money on the table.

If you are afraid of hiring a consultant because their hourly rate seems “too high” for you – so what? The more important question to ask is, “Do you think this person can help you more money?” If the answer is “yes,” your $1,000 investment with them could help you make $10,000, $50,000…who knows? The key is: If they can make you money, go for it.

If you are afraid of hiring someone – anyone – because you had a “bad experience once,” may I respectfully ask…what the hell are you thinking? That’s like never dating again because you went on one dreadful date 10 years ago. You took the plunge and tried again, right? You can do it again.

If you’re not taking care of yourself because you, “Don’t have time,” stop it. Just stop it. I get that working out is a pain in the butt. At the same time, you’ll feel healthier, more energetic and happier if you do. You may even work more efficiently, too, if you weren’t suffering from sedentary “brain fog.” How much is that extra free time worth to you?

Ask yourself, “Would it be OK with me if I stopped putting myself in this untenable situation? Would my life be better if I did something that represented growth rather than staying in my own safe (and fearful) little corner?”

If the answer is “Yes,” then do it. Don’t wait. Take action – even if it’s baby step action – and keep on going.

‘Cause it’s amazing to see the heavenly results of digging out of your own self-inflicted hell.

Photo thanks: © Sharpshot |

5 replies
  1. Laura Crest says:

    Great counsel, Heather! I know that I’ve dug that hole without even realizing it. Staying stuck is easy; self-sabotage then becomes easier still. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy and tautological argument that goes nowhere!

    “Once bitten, twice shy” is a construct of fear and your acronym for FEAR is absolutely right on! It is a universal truth that we tend to FEAR change, and I suspect there is a thread of fear of success woven into that self-defeating rationale: If you’ve convinced yourself you’ll fail, then guess what?

    Thanks for this reminder that we all deserve to be better to ourselves by investing in ourselves, believing in ourselves, and taking the road less travelled by…

  2. Sarah Clachar says:


    Words of wisdom. How often does it seem that the things we are the most reluctant to do are the things we really need to do to move forward.

    I’m trying to learn how to “bite the bullet” and take on things that I’ve avoided because it’s new, expensive, hard, etc. Most helpful is to really create a plan so you can see the reason why (and the potential consequences if you don’t)

    BTW, I love your hint about exercising. It’s the best way to get fired up to get something done, clear your head. And I’ve come up with so much clarity, creative solutions when exercising that I swear by it.

    • Heather says:

      Thanks for your comment, Sarah!

      What makes it more challenging is that, as entrepreneurs, we’re in our own heads *all the time.* It’s not like a corporate environment where you have a mentor who guides you. No wonder we get stuck with our own stuff. There’s no-one to bounce ideas/challenges off of or chat with.

      I’m actually thinking of starting a SEO copywriting mastermind group for that very reason. Your comment just re-sparked (if that can be a word) that idea!…

  3. Stephen Douglas says:

    Hi Heather,

    My favorite question as a domain investing consultant is:

    “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you spending your time applying your own principles and making big bucks instead of charging people $100 an hour to show them how?”

    My answer usually is: “Because I get requests for help – and my own domain portfolio is selling itself.”

    That doesn’t always work though, so what do you tell people who, not wanting to “invest in expertise”, question your knowledge and success doing what you’re selling?

    I’m not doing consulting except for one major client, but I am applying my own studied processes to my portfolio and working on my own projects. However, I enjoyed advising others… so what’s a good response?

    thanks, and nice site!

    • Heather says:

      Hi, Stephen!

      Thanks for your comment!

      I think you answered your own question – you work with clients because you like it!

      People will ask me the same thing, “If you’re so good, why aren’t you hanging out on a beach somewhere.” The thing is, I enjoy working with writers and taking some writing gigs. In fact, I think it’s important to work with clients – how do you learn about the latest issues if you’re not keeping yourself in the game?

      I did have someone tell me recently that my hourly rate was more than most attorneys. I wrote back and said that after being in the SEO industry since the very beginning, I can “see” opportunities that less expensive consultants can’t. People either accept that, or they don’t. I have the case studies and testimonials to back me up. I’d rather work with a client who truly understands the value (and is excited about working with me,) than someone who will challenge everything I say and cost themselves a lot of time (and cash, too!) :)


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.