We all have hopes and dreams. But the only way to truly achieve them is by first writing down those goals and setting forth a step by step plan of what it will take, he sacrifices that will have to be made, in order to achieve those goals. However, based upon working with my small business clients, I am always amazed at how hard it is to simply get them to write down their goals, come up with a concrete plan and put that plan somewhere where they will see it every day. I am guilty of the same sin of either not taking concrete steps or procrastinating needlessly before taking that first step. The question that I had to ask myself is “why” and how can we overcome those obstacles.
Again, we all have dreams. For some, it may be starting your own business; for others, it may be writing a novel or play or spending two weeks in Europe. If those are your dreams or if you have any other dreams, I’m telling you right now that you can achieve them even if its losing weight, running a marathon, or moving 1500 miles away from where you grew up to start a new life to get out of the snow and cold. Maybe some of you have done a crazy thing like that. Or it might even be putting on a seminar to help fellow small business owners.
I had a lot of doubt and fear about the first time I put on a seminar for small business owners. What if I did it and nobody showed up? Well. the worst case would be that I would be out of some money, but that’s not what the fear was in my head. I will talk about what the real fear is later. So, do you have some of the dreams I discussed or other dreams, but as of today have not reached them?
Who is the enemy that stops us?
Is it some massive army?
Is it a vicious pack of wolves?
Is it Darth Vader and the DARK SIDE of the FORCE?
The reality is, our enemy has no nuclear weapons to stop us, it has no vicious teeth to rip our flesh and it has no Death Star ready to blow up our world. Nevertheless, our enemy is more powerful than all of these combined when it comes to stopping us from achieving our goals and it is only made up of about three pounds of gelatinous material. It is our brain! It is our mind. It is our thoughts that prevent us from achieving our goals and our dreams. Therefore, we need some weapon, some proven systems, to help defeat this three pound evil creature that resides within our bodies.
If we think of our physical brain, well frankly, it’s really not an intimidating creature. So let’s use our brains to visualize what this enemy is that stops us from achieving our goals . . . that stops us from changing our lives to the lives that we truly want to live . . . that stops us from achieving the dreams we desire. Let’s picture our brains as a fire-breathing, three headed dragon!
One head represents DOUBT AND FEARS;
The second head represents RESISTANCE AND PROCRASTINATION, and
The third head represents what I call our STUBBORN INDEPENDENCE which can be described as our failure to reach out for the assistance we need to raise our game to the next level.
Now let’s take a look at and examine these obstacles that are brain puts in front of us and let’s start with doubt and fear.
- DOUBT AND FEAR
Most doubts and fears are truly figments of your imagination. They are created by your own thoughts and are simply the result of a chemical reaction in your brain. The doubts that we have may have started from when were a child. It could be as a result of a well-intended parent who cautions us about taking risk and warned us that we had to do well in school and then to go to college versus taking a year off and traveling by backpack through Europe. Those doubts and fears may continue with us in our adult life when we say to ourselves: “I want to start my own business but the timing just isn’t right.” These doubts continue to grow in our mind to make us less sure and you’ll create more questions in your mind like: “I’m not sure it’s time to quit my job” or “Maybe it’s not the right time to move somewhere I would really love to live.” Then the dragon of fear and self-doubt grows even more powerful and we keep thinking about this thing we want to do but keep saying to ourselves:
“What if it doesn’t work out?”
“What if I can’t handle that I’m not good enough.”
“What if they don’t like me?”
“What will my friends think if I fail? My family? The nay-sayers who will say I told you so?”
“What if I can’t turn back?”
Well, I can tell you all of these fears and doubts went through my mind I was putting together my Second “Small Business Success Boot Camp” even though I put one on the year before and people showed up! I was saying to myself: “I can’t do the same thing I did last year? Who am I to tell these business owners how to successfully run a business? What if no one shows up? What if I was just lucky last year when people came? What if no one wants to join me as a presenter? Am I getting too far outside of my comfort zone?”
I knew Charlie Rose of funnls, llc would join me to talk about website issues based on his comments after last year’s Boot Camp but, what about other speakers? Well, once I got one “yes”, it gave me some momentum, some confidence, then as each person said yes to being a presenter, I became more confident and knew that we were putting together a great event.
So how do we defeat the dragon head of doubt and fear? Well the good news is you’ve all defeated fear in the past. Think about it. Everything you know. Everything you do in your business or your personal life you had to learn. You weren’t born with the knowledge of how to make a souffle, prepare a corporate tax return, interview potential employees or market your business. Everything is learned. Therefore, you have to believe in your ability to learn based upon what you have done in the past. This will allow you to build the confidence that if you put in the time and effort, if you learn what you need to learn and do what you need to do, you will fulfill your dreams!
Now the real question you have to ask yourself is: “Are you willing to separate yourself from the masses? Are you willing to be that 3% of the population that puts in that extra effort? Are you willing to not only do what is necessary to maintain your life and provide for your family, but to make the extra effort to change your life and learn, and then implement what you need to do to fulfill your dreams?” I’m not here to tell you it is easy! But I am here to tell you it can be done.
In order to get past our fears, we need to understand the basis for fear. Fear is something all animals have. It is something that is innate within us to help protect and preserve our lives. It’s what causes us to run when we see a vicious animal chase us. It is the fear we have walking on the edge of a cliff. It is the fear that we may have when someone points a gun at us or if we are inside of a burning building. Fear is designed to save our life.
But many of the other fears that we face are purely of the mind. They are not designed protect our existence, but rather, to protect our FRAGILE EGO. When we talk about pursuing our dreams, most of our fears are not related to protecting us from physical harm or death . . . it’s to make sure that our ego is not bruised. Irrational, emotional fear to protect our ego turns into a crutch to the point where we have become enslaved by it. This fear that we feel to protect our ego is basically our fear of being rejected or isolated, laughed at ridiculed, embarrassed. Or maybe it’s your fear that you will fail to live up to our own personal expectations or the expectations of others, or you’re afraid that you will not be respected. As a result of this fear, we then just get into the habit of taking the easy route. We stay at that job that we hate because we have a guaranteed paycheck and it is easier and safer than finding another job. We stay in that bad relationship because it’s easier than trying to get out and trying to survive on our own; or we have this great novel in our heads, but we don’t sit down and write it and send it to a publisher for fear we will be rejected. J.K Rolling was rejected 13 times with her first Harry Potter Book. In reality, failing at any of these things will not affect our physical survival. Therefore you must ask yourself right now. . . why not do it?
We simply have to take a step back and realize that it is our brain that is causing these fears. Fears of the consequences of following our own dreams, following our hearts. It’s the fear of poverty; the fear of filing bankruptcy; the fear of having to grovel if we try to make it on our own; the fear of throwing away our education and continuing to labor in a field we don’t like out of some sense of obligation; the fear of throwing everything away that we worked so hard for even though it makes us miserable!!!
And while all of these fears of the mind stop us, I submit to you that the real fear we may have is the fear of success! The fear that we can become the person that we sense in our hearts we are meant to be. It’s a fear of discovering that you are more than what you think you are, more than what your parents or teachers told you, and that maybe, you actually possess the talents that voice inside of you tells you. Remember, the greatest basketball player of all time was told by his high school coach that he wasn’t good enough and cut him from the team. That player was Michael Jordon. What if Michael Jordan let somebody else’s opinion control his destiny?
In PART II I will address the other two heads of this dreaded dragon.