Have you ever had the feeling that you are doing everything wrong in your business or career, but it would all be fine if only you knew the secret? Then searching for the answer, are you confused and overwhelmed by all the self-help, personal and business development advice out there? Adding to and not at all resolving the feeling of being overwhelmed by your challenges in the first place?

Do all those gurus help us?

When a friend of mine had a young baby she was wracked with anxiety. Her baby cried, the feeding wasn’t going well, and the more she read the more inadequate she felt. Surely if only she followed the instructions, all the problems would go away. She felt it was her fault, she had not followed the guru recipe correctly.

Of course that was not the case. The one thing babies do not come with is an instruction book. If a single right answer existed, mothers would be all sharing it with each other and no one would ever have a crying baby in the middle of the night! All mums are doing the best they can with their own baby, and following their own instincts, getting ideas and options from other mums, health professionals and other sources and ultimately finding their own path.

My friend got through that difficult baby stage and we planned a ritual burning of all those prescriptive baby books making mums feel like they are the one doing something wrong. We moved on.

How does this relate to personal and business development?

I almost had a book burning moment this week. I am working all hours to get everything done – client work, new business development, study, family, the list goes on. Feeling confused and inadequate. Surely I only need to follow the recipe correctly? It must be all my fault things aren’t going as I hoped.

So of course I turned to the abundant advice out there. Then I almost came unstuck. Surely I am not the only one that becomes even more overwhelmed by the solutions than the problem itself?

Am I simply not working hard enough? Perhaps my attitude is all wrong, and I’m not believing in my ultimate success enough? Maybe I’m not choosing the right things to do? Or perhaps I’m too focused on the outcomes and not finding joy in the journey?

There is always someone trying to sell you a book, a program, some coaching. Often the way these pitches grab your attention is to make you feel inadequate. If only you had the guru’s secret sauce, all your problems would be solved. I mean look at those testimonials! And then you read the book, buy the program, and the solutions seems… a bit out there or unachievable. Oops… still something wrong with me then!

What is the answer then?

I recalled our experience of raising babies. It is not unlike birthing a business, or delivering a happy and fulfilling life. There is not one right answer. No one exact recipe that will work for everyone. And sometimes in those moments we believe a problem exists where there is none. We believe it is our own fault, that there is something wrong with us. I don’t think I will ever be cured of wanting to find a better way. I do know the way I find will be my way. I will learn from others. I will experiment with what works and what doesn’t. And I will most certainly cut myself some slack… and maybe burn a few overly prescriptive books along the way!