The second evil Dragon head is Resistance. Resistance takes the form of delay or really procrastination. And we all procrastinate. We all have this conversation with ourselves in our minds that: “Well the timing may just not be right” or “I need to wait until next year when the economy is better . . you can’t just rush things.” Or “I need to wait until there is a new President!” Often this fear will be fueled by our friends and family who may fill us with negative thoughts and telling us that “you’re not good enough” and “to be truly successful will take some luck.” “You shouldn’t dream of doing what you want but you should settle and be happy with what you have right now.” If you are surrounded with people infecting you with these destructive negative thoughts, then the first thing you need to do is find some new friends.
Because of fear, we simply just delay and, the problem with delaying is that delay becomes a habit! Then, as we keep putting things off, we realize that our lives have passed us by as way lay in our deathbed.
We may also blame others for why we are not taking steps to achieve our goals. Maybe because of trouble with our kids, or challenges with our elderly parents or difficulties with our spouse, a slave driver boss who wears us out all day so we have no energy to pursue our dreams when we get home at night. There’s always an excuse our brain lets us convince ourselves of why we can’t achieve our goals. But in the end, those are all just excuses perpetrated by the dragon and it needs to be slayed.
We need to get past this fear . . . and past this self-oppression. This condition of letting our own negative thoughts and actions restrict us is an inside job. We burden our own spirit by continuously cowering in fear and distraction. We are the ones who limit ourselves. We procrastinate on setting out on a new adventure because we simply can’t get past the uncertainty.
I am not just talking about thinking positive. The power of positive thinking has its limitations. It MUST BE combined with taking action! We also have to realize that pursuing our dreams will not come without sacrifice and pain combined with lots of time and hard work. But if you truly wish to live the life you were meant to live, to fulfill what you believe is the reason for why you were put on this earth, you must be willing to make the sacrifice and put in the hard work to reach that goal, not only to change your life, but to change the life of others and possibly the course of history. Remember, anytime we try to change our patterns and get outside of our comfort zone, there is going to be some discomfort and fear. But as I explained in defeating the first head of this dragon, 99% of the time, your fear is unfounded.
How do we get past procrastination? The answer is very simple . . . by saying to yourself enough is enough, getting up off your butt and taking action. In turn, by taking action, we then build confidence. However, keep in mind everything you do is not going to be a success but just because it’s not a success doesn’t mean it’s a failure. It just means you’re one step closer to achieving success if you learn lessons from your experience. Again I’ll share an example of when I opened up an office in Sarasota to expand my practice. I did my due diligence. My numbers all worked on paper. However, I now refer to that is my $50,000 MBA because that’s how much I lost in less than a year’s time because of certain factors outside of my control that I knew about but, that I did not take into consideration in my planning. Due to some higher intervention, a fire in a neighboring office unit that destroyed the office helped me make my decision to end the financial bleeding. As a result of the lessons I learned from that venture, when I opened up my office in Fort Myers, I did it differently and in just the first nine months made an extra $25,000 in profits with none of the headaches and significantly less effort than in Sarasota. Since the monthly profits continue to grow, I know after this year will make up for my $50,000 MBA. I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Thomas Edison when he said he learned 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb before he got the first one to work. Therefore, you must be willing to take action and implement a system to get you past your procrastination and achieve your goals.
III. DEFIANT INDEPENDENCE
Finally, the third head of this evil dragon that prevents us from achieving our goals is DEFIANT INDEPENDENCE. This is the part of us, or our EGO, that doesn’t reach out for help. It’s the part of us that tries to figure out things without turning to people who have done it before. Keep in mind, no matter what your dream is, unless you are in the rarefied world of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs looking to put a “dent in the universe” as Steve would say, most likely what you want to do someone has done before or has done something similar in which you can apply those lessons to help you achieve your dream or goal. Growing up as an independent, only child, this is a lesson that took me almost 20 years to learn. I now know that if you want to truly be successful, you need to seek assistance, learn from others and leverage their experience. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Some of the reasons we may not seek help is the fear that we will be rejected or that somebody will think we are stupid by asking questions, or because we lack confidence in ourselves. A great show for you to watch is Oprah’s Master Class where she interviews successful people like musicians and actors. What you will find is that 99% of them had lives just like you growing up, or maybe, much worse. Yet, they overcame the obstacles in front of them and ignored those who said they couldn’t do it.
In my opinion, the number one common trait among everyone who has reached what they define for themselves as success, is PERSISTENCE. Others might call it “GRIT”. This is the ability to not give up when times get tough and we are tired. It’s the ability to determine if we are on the right track and, if we are, that we need to put off instant gratification for long term success. All too often, people quit pursuing their dreams, just before they are about to touch them. It’s like being a NASCAR driver leading the Daytona 500 going into the last lap and then running out of gas and finishing 26th.
To defeat the Dragon head of Defiant Independence, we need to reach out to others who can help us along the way. Whether they are professional service providers, coaches and consultants, or a network of fellow business owners such as a chamber of commerce or trade organization. Both the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and the Lee County Bar Association were key players in my success in expanding my practice in Ft. Myers. I have also employed my own business coach to help me. I realized that if the greatest athletes in the world like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordon needed a coach, why wouldn’t I?
So the ultimate weapon that we can use to slay this three headed dragon that is looking to devour our dreams is the Sword of Courage. When it comes to defining courage one of my favorite quotes is from John Wayne who said:
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
In business, we can build up our courage and our belief in ourselves based upon our past experience. Think about how you have learned things in the past you knew nothing about, how you achieved things. Overcome personal challenges. You know deep down inside you have the ability. You need to focus on your successes in the past to give you the confidence and courage that you can do what it takes, to learn what you need to learn, to put in the effort and hard work that it will take to reach your dreams. Always remember that each action step you take will increase your confidence and courage to take the next step.
To sum up, the three things you need to remember to defeat your biggest enemy, your mind, are:
- The fears and doubt in your mind are really just thoughts designed to protect your EGO and not to protect your life.
- Resistance and procrastination created by your doubts and fears are defeated by simply taking action and building momentum; and
- You can overcome defiant independence by taking action to seek help from others, leverage their knowledge and experience and don’t try to re-invent the wheel.
Don’t let yourself and your mind defeat you even before you take that first step. In the words of legendary Green Bay Packer football coach Vince Lombardi:
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge, but rather, a lack of will.”
I’ve provide you with some knowledge in this article on how to get past your fears. It’s now up to you to determine if you have the will to succeed.