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I am working on a project right now that scares me.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad project. On the contrary, it’s (potentially) big and exciting. It has generous upside. But it has downside too. In addition, it has lots of moving parts. It is going to make me do things that are new to me. It’s going to stretch the team…and me. It scares me because it’s (just a bit) outside of the norm for us.
But here’s the thing…outside of the norm is where growth comes from.
If you want to grow yourself, your sales or your business, this is the dilemma. You can’t grow (much) by doing the same things you have done in the past. Oh, sure, you can get just a little bit better at the things you already do. But you will never take the big leap that you want to by doing running the same plays from the same playbook. At some point, you need to try something new. You have to try something bigger.
And that’s when the voice kicks in.
The voice kicks in because you are uncomfortable and a little scared. The voice starts telling you all of the things that could go wrong. It fills your brain with worst case scenarios of doom. That voice is fear masquerading as your friend, pretending to keep you safe.
When we hear that voice, we are often convinced to stay where we are.
Here is what I am learning about “the voice.”
The voice shows up precisely when you are doing something cool and new and different. We most often see the voice or the struggle as a sign we are on the wrong path. We have it backwards. The voice shows up when you are onto something! It’s a sign you should keep going…not stop. The thing that has been stopping us is often actually a hint that we are on the right track.
It’s just how we interpret the signals.
As I write this, I am up early on a project that scares me…and I am excited about it.
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Reading Time: 2 minutes
We all have “that voice.” I have talked about it before. We all have that voice that spends time telling us that we are not good enough, or smart enough, or not ready. We hear that voice the loudest when we are about ready to try something new or challenging. That voice is fear. That voice is insecurity. It’s a voice we all have. But what do we DO with it? Seth Godin, in his great book “What to do when it’s your turn (and it’s always your turn)” talks about this when he asks “where do you put the tired?” He points out that when people run a marathon, there will be a time when you get tired. There are no books on how to run a marathon WITHOUT getting tired. When you run 26.2 miles, you will get tired. So what do you do with the tired? The same point is true for fear and insecurity. There is no way to create or challenge yourself or try something new without hearing that voice. So what do you do with it? From what I can tell, people do one of a few things when confronted with “that voice.” Run Away: When faced with something that scares people, sometimes they just completely avoid anything to do with it. They feel if they don’t know about or see it, that opportunity will not exist. The problem with this group is they will never achieve what they could in life. By avoiding their fears, they avoid their potential too. Curl Up: Sometimes the fear just stops them. They don’t leave the area. They just watch others do what they want to do and wish. The challenge here is this leads to a life of jealousy. They will constantly be watching people doing the things they would love to do…but won’t. When you see people who are mean-spirited and judgmental online, I always consider this group. Fake It Till You Make It: You see this group full of bravado. They feel like if they are brash and confident enough on the outside, we won’t know they hear the voice. This has been me many times in my life. Though this is preferred to the first two, because at least they are leaning in, it is hard to sustain. I think the goal for this group is to start here, and then grow to a place where you don’t have to fake it anymore. Ignore the Voice: These people still hear that voice, but they choose to push forward anyway. They know it might not work. They know there is a chance of failure. But they find a place to “put the fear.” This is, generally, the group that creates long term value and content and success. Which one are you? If you are like most of us, you have been all of these in different areas of your life. But now that you recognize it…what will you be today…and tomorrow? Where will you put “that voice?” Make sure you never miss an update! Each week we send out one email with all of the content of the week! It’s our VIP list and you can sign up here.
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There is a correlation between Fear and Fire. I heard a great analogy about fear from Grant Cardone. Grant is a hard charging sales trainer and real estate entrepreneur and author. He has penned several books including the 10X Rule. Grant compares Fear to Fire. Fire is powerful and is fueled by oxygen. The more oxygen a fire gets, the more likely it is to grow. But if you cut out the oxygen, the fire goes away. No oxygen = no fire. Fear is powerful as well. It can drive us or stop us. The fuel for fear is time. The more time you give fear, the bigger the fear gets! So the way to cut out fear is to cut out time. When you have that urge to make that next sales call, or go to that next conference, or go up to that stranger and introduce yourself, your brain will try and talk you out of it. It wants to keep you comfortable. So, it gives you fear. In response to the fear, our natural response is to wait. We have to wait until we are ready, or until the music is right or the script is better or until the website is complete. We feed the fear with time…and the fear gets bigger. So the next time you have that urge to do something you know you need to do, don’t wait until you are ready. Take advice from Nike. Just do it. Don’t wait until the time is right…it never will be. Don’t wait for the script to be perfect, it can’t be. Just act. Take away the time…and you will choke out the fear. Now might be a great time to act for you. Join our VIP list. We send out an email once a week with all of our content in one place. You can sign up here.
Reading Time: 2 minutes
When you are beginning a new project (in any phase of your life), you need to learn a lot. There is likely new terminology, procedures, new relationships, and more. You will also need to plan. What are the next steps? What might they look like? How many steps will there be? Are there books I should read or videos I should watch? It can be overwhelming.
The problem with many projects in life is they get “stuck” in the learning phase. We go from being totally excited about the opportunity, to being frozen. We don’t know what we don’t know. And as we learn more about the project, we can become paralyzed with the fear that we don’t know enough.
At some point you need to take action.
In my experience, most endeavors don’t fail because the participants don’t know enough. They fail because those involved don’t take enough action.
Here’s a harsh secret: most of your goals will take more activity than you anticipate. If you think it will take two weeks, it will likely take 3 or 4. It’s hard to estimate when you don’t know. So the sooner you start the better. And, if you take the wrong action, you will learn quickly! Then, with that new knowledge, you can take new action to move the project in the right direction.
That’s right. You will actually learn more (in many cases) by taking action.
What often holds us back is plain old fear. It’s natural. No one wants to look stupid or to fail. So here is my rule of thumb. If I find myself feeling fear, it’s a hint to me that I am on the right track. Your brain is trying to keep you comfortable. And as we have discussed before, your goal is usually just on the other side of comfort.
So if you are stuck on a new project because you feel you are not ready, it might be time to lean into the fear.
Take the next right step. Then navigate the next step from there.
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