It is not an exaggeration to say that we spend our days moving closer to our dreams—or farther away. Every moment that we invest in our goals brings us closer and every moment we ignore the prompting of our hearts takes us somewhere else.
When people tell me that fear is a huge obstacle, I am quit certain that they have misdiagnosed the problem. Most of the time we are bewitched by self-doubt, not genuine fear (unless a tiger is about to devour us).
Self-doubt can afflict anyone, of course. When this occurs, the healthy approach is to combat it with action rather than remaining inert. The more alternatives you have for dealing with those tenuous times, the more quickly you’ll move through them.
If you quake at the thought of going out on your own and setting up shop, or are nervous about embarking on a new venture, here are six fearbashers that can reroute you back to the road to success.
° Do temporary work. March into a temporary help agency and get signed up for a short term project. When you get an assignment, don’t think of this primarily as a way to earn money. Use this project to do some homework.
No matter what business you are sent to work in, observe what goes on in a detached and analytical manner. You’ll quickly discover that all sorts of mistakes and mishaps (even stupid decisions) will be part of every day.
Now notice that despite this lack of perfection, the business manages to stay afloat. Notice that every business has huge margins for error and it doesn’t bring them crashing to their knees.
You can certainly do better than that, can’t you? So get out there and do it.
° Study a successful immigrant entrepreneur. A high percentage of people who come to the US from other parts of the world start their own businesses.
Imagine how much harder that would be in a strange culture where you may not speak the language. Yet, many of these newcomers have such a strong desire to build something of their own, a desire that they couldn’t fulfill in their homeland, that the obstacles melt in the face of that determination.
We natives often look like wimps next to the hardworking and committed businessowners who have been drawn to this land of opportunity. Let them inspire you.
° Fail on purpose. Young children try new things without thinking of success and failure. As we get older, many of us avoid any situation where we might not be brilliant. As a result, our world shrinks down to a short list of acceptable activities. This is not the road to self-actualization.
If you are terrified at the thought of failing, make a list all the things you are an utter klutz at doing. Then do something from that list once a week. At the very least, you may entertain your friends when you throw three gutter balls in a row.
At the other end of this temporary humiliation is all the power you’ll gain by surviving a minor failure.
° Develop a big roar. Next time you’re driving alone in your car, pretend you’re the Lion King or Queen. It worked in The Wizard of Oz and it will work for you, too. No kidding.
° Make Nathan Lane your patron saint. In 2000, the wildly talented Lane starred in his own television series which was downright awful. It was so terrible, in fact, that it only ran for a few painful episodes.
Had it been even mildly successful, Lane would have been taping the series instead of wowing audiences in The Producers, a big Broadway hit for which he won the Best Actor Tony in 2001.
If you try something that turns out badly, think of it as your own failed series—and celebrate the end of your contract.
° Imagine your success. I am convinced that most people fail to go after their dreams or leave their comfort zones because they haven’t taken the time to really think about what rewards their ultimate success would bring them.
Instead, they console themselves by saying things like, “Well, this job or relationship or apartment isn’t really that bad.”
However, when you are focused on the rewards that will inevitably come, setbacks and disappointments are easier to handle. Often, in truth, what looks like a setback is just a resetting of the course and may, in the long run, make the journey sweeter.
That’s why it’s so important to be willing to defer short-lived gratification in order to have something grander in the future. But first you must envision it and sell yourself on the new and better life you foresee.
After 60 years – this is a great learning lesson – thanks!
Great suggestions. Another one, from Tim Ferriss if I remember correctly – write out all the “worst-case scenarios” holding you back. Put them on paper, one by one, and go through them. Read them out loud. Often you see that they don’t seem nearly as bad as when they were resounding in your head. And, once on paper, you can then plan at how you’ll avoid them.
Thank you Barbara. Your post is very timely!
The first bullet reminded me of the job I just left. I worked FT for one company for 5 years and still can’t understand how they stay in business as there were so many business blunders and poor management. I finally left knowing I could do so much better as an entrepreneur… and surprising myself at all my revenue streams. Thanks Barbara!
Lovely strategies for feeling the fear and doing it anyway! Thank you.
Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after looking at many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!