Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fear of Success? You're not alone ...

The following is an excerpt from a speech I gave in July of 1995.  I was in front of a group of about 300 Independent Sales Reps and their Leadership team during a Regional Sales meeting for a Direct Sales Company I worked with from 1994-1998 

Success.  Everyone wants it.  We all talk about it.  It is the goal, isn't it?  Deep down we all want to be successful, right?  We dream about it.  We plan for it.  And for some of us, we are afraid of it.   Fear of success is not unusual.  It is actually quite common.  And it is a problem.  Being fearful of  our own success actually stops us dead in our tracks.  It can cause us to lose out on a lot of opportunities in life.  And when we're too afraid to take risks and move forward on our goals – either consciously or unconsciously – we get stuck in one place.  No progress.

Fear of success is as real as the fear of failure.  Both present with the same symptoms, and both of these fears will hold you back from achieving your dreams and goals.  The biggest problem for many people is that their fear of success is largely unconscious.  They just don't realize that they've been holding themselves back from doing something great. 

So what does the fear of success look like?
  • You feel guilty about any success you have, no matter how small, because your friends, family, or co-workers haven't had the same success.  
  • You don't tell others about your accomplishments because you worry that they will think you're being boastful.  
  • You avoid or procrastinate on big projects, especially projects that could lead to recognition.
  • You frequently set your own goals or agenda aside to avoid conflict with others.  
  • You feel that you're not good enough.  
  • You feel that you don't deserve to enjoy success in your life.  
  • You believe that if you do achieve success, you won't be able to sustain it.  

Fear of success has several possible causes:
  • We fear what success will bring it.  For example, loneliness, new enemies, being isolated from our family, longer working hours, or being asked for favors or money.  
  • We're afraid that the higher we climb in life, the further we're going to fall when we make a mistake.  
  • We fear the added work, responsibilities, or criticism that we'll face.  
  • We fear that our relationships will suffer if we become successful. 
  • We fear the reaction from others - jealousy and cynicism. 
  • We fear that accomplishing our goals may actually cause intense regret that we didn't act sooner. 
  •  We fear our own power to be successful - we fear how "big" we can truly become
Overcoming the fear of success involves strategy.   The good news is that the more you face your fears, the more you're likely to overcome them.  Overcoming your fears is the first step in accomplishing your goals.  And what if you do accomplish your goals?  What will happen if you succeed with your goals?  What would your life look like?

Don't look at what you hope will happen, or what you fear will happen.  Instead, look at what is likely to happen.  Take your time answering.  Examine the issues, and write down your answers to questions like these:
  • How will my friends and family really react if I accomplish this goal? 
  • How will my life change? 
  • What's the worst that could happen if I achieve this goal? 
  • What's the best that could happen? 
  • Why do I feel that I don't deserve to accomplish this goal?
  • How motivated am I to work toward this goal? 
  • What am I currently doing to sabotage, or hurt, my own efforts? 
  • Who can help me get out of my own way? 

Friday, June 1, 2012

One Word

What if I could influence you with just one word?  What if that one word could change your life?  For good.  What if that word could guide you to who you are and where you need to be?  What if the application of this one word could make all the difference in you finally having all the things you have always wanted?

It is not a unique word or one you have never heard of.  But a word if taken seriously every day, could ignite your dreams into reality. 

The word is "action".  It is defined as something done or performed, an act that one consciously wills or habitual or usual acts.  Action is movement.  

Everyone is capable of dreaming and making plans.  But is the ability to take action that separates the extraordinary from the average. 

All top performers share one quality — they get things done.  Action is the one word that will make all the difference in your life.  This ability supersedes intelligence, talent, and connections in determining the size of your salary and the speed of your advancement.

It is simple, yet not always easy.  So many of us stay stuck in one spot for so long, due to our inability to basically put one foot in front of the other.  Action or the ability to take action is a habit.  The habit of putting ideas into action is essential to getting things done and having the results you want. 

Here are just 4 ways you can develop the action habit:

1. Don’t wait for the perfect time – If you’re waiting to start until the time is just right and everything is perfect, you probably never will.   There will always be something that isn’t quite right.   Either the timing is off, the market is down, or there’s too much competition.  In the real world there is no perfect time to start.  You have to take action now and deal with problems as they arise. 

2. Be a doer -  Practice doing things rather than thinking about them.  Do you want to start exercising?  Do you have a great idea for your business?  Do it today.  The longer an idea sits in your head without being acted on, the weaker it becomes.   After a few days the way you think about it might change.  After a week it’s forgotten completely.  By becoming a doer you’ll get more done and stimulate new ideas in the process.

. Start your creative engine mechanically –  One of the biggest misconceptions about creative work is that it can only be done when inspiration strikes.  Not true!  If you wait for inspiration to show up all the time,  you might be waiting a long time!  Instead of waiting, try starting.  If you need to write something, force yourself to sit down and write.   Put pen to paper.   Brainstorm.  Doodle. See what transpires.  By moving your hands you’ll stimulate the flow of ideas and inspire yourself.

4. Live in the present
- Focus on what you can do in right now.  Don’t worry about what you should have done last week or what you might be able to do tomorrow.  The only time that matters is the present.  If you speculate too much about the past or the future you won’t get anything done. Tomorrow or next week might turn into never. 

Brave people take action!  It takes courage to take action without instructions from someone else or knowing all the facts.  Perhaps that’s why people who demonstrate initiative are often recognized as top performers.  You can too.  Seize the initiative.  When you have a good idea, start implementing it.  Put into action, don't delay. 

Don't just dream it, do it!