Working From A Position Of Fear

I’m going to own up to something up front. I’m not as confident a person as some people think I am. Often, I feel like I’m reacting more than being proactive. Sometimes, when it gets overwhelming, I don’t act at all. Does that surprise you?

Fear Itself
Christi Nielsen via Compfight

It shouldn’t. Truth be told, even the most successful people have times when they’re unsure of something. Some of the smartest people in the world have had times when they’ve questioned their own beliefs and the work that they’ve done. I’m betting that every person who reads this has had the same thing happen to them, if it’s not happening right now. Who’s ready to own up to that?

FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. Who’s heard that phrase? It’s totally true; I mean, think about it for a minute. Do we fear things because we know that they’re absolutely going to go badly or because we suppose they will?

Sometimes fear is a smart thing. Fear is what keeps us (most of us anyway) from jumping off cliffs with towels around our necks thinking we’re going to fly like Superman. Fear is what keeps us from picking up cookies in the dirt and eating them.

Sometimes fear is irrational, but it is what it is. I’m scared of bugs and a few other things that I have no real explanation for. There are people scared of leaving their homes. There are people scared of clowns… well, that one might be valid. 🙂

Sometimes fear is something we have to fight. There might be an underlying cause, to the point that you know it’s there, know how to fight it, but sometimes you just can’t put it all together and overcome it.

The last one is the one I’m addressing today, because it’s the one that holds all of us back from achieving what we really want, which is success. Who doesn’t want to be successful? Do you know how to be successful? I talked about it in this video, which some of you new folks might not have seen since it’s from 2013:
 


https://youtu.be/wigiJMeRunU

So, I do know the path to being successful. Yet, this is my biggest weakness. After 14 years of being in business for myself, you’d think I would have this one conquered. Heck, I even know how to do it, along with its counterpart. What’s the issue?

I’ve been told I’m too nice at times; yeah, I don’t believe it either. lol My issue is that I don’t want to bother people, even during the day when they’re in a business that I can offer services for that I know they need. Trust me, I know they need at least two of the services I can provide, and other people probably need some of the other services I can provide, though they’re not all that critical.

Corporate Books

I go back and forth between that thing where, growing up, I was taught not to bother people or, as we all heard, “talk to strangers”, as opposed to “you’re the president of your company; you’re supposed to bother people.” By the way, I am the president of my company. It’s official; take a look at the picture of my corporate books to the left. 🙂

Here’s the thing. If we’re in business, or we’re trying to be in business, or we have something we want to market or sell, we have to be willing to put ourselves out there and get it done.

We also have to be willing to do other things that help us out by giving ourselves an opportunity to have something to help promote us. That’s actually the reason I wrote my second book titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, because it gave me a second book on the topic of leadership that I can promote, since my last book was from 2004 and the newest product I had after that was from 2009; I have to do way more than that.

That’s the thing about fear; it inhibits us from doing what we need to do. So we don’t ask out the person we’d like to date (okay, I’m married, but you know what I mean lol). We don’t ask for more sauce for our lasagna. We don’t want to ask for our money back when we buy something that’s deficient.

We don’t ask for the sale. We don’t put the things we create out into the market. We don’t promote our services, our blogs, our businesses… we’re fearful of the reaction we might get because… we do the same thing to others who are trying to sell and market to us. Who can disagree with this?

It’s a lesson we have to learn. We have to break the fear of trying. We have to break the fear of rejection. We have to break the fear of not being good enough. Something I was listening to last night brought it all together with this statement: “I’d rather fail a hundred times than wonder what could have been.”

That’s why about six weeks ago I asked what can I teach you? I’m going to be creating more products and marketing them. I’m going to create a few product pages of some things I’m really high on and I’m going to promote them. I’m also going to reach out and talk more about services I provide; those you might not necessarily see on this blog but I’m going to do it anyway.

Because all of us can be successful, but it takes courage because that’s what overcomes fear. And unlike spiders and grasshoppers (ugh… lol)… this one I know I can defeat. Who’s with me?
 

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Courage; Can You Be Courageous?

It’s officially the new year and, as you know, I’ve made some goals public for the year, as I’ve done most years that I’ve been blogging. I know that some people think setting goals and making resolutions don’t work so they don’t bother. I tend to believe that if you don’t have plans or goals you’re just spinning your wheels, throwing everything you can on the wall to see what sticks, and often what sticks really doesn’t get you anywhere.

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Of course I’ve also come to realize that it’s not just about setting goals; well, normal ones anyway. You have to actually work towards those goals, and you have to have focus, break out of the mental fog as Lynn Terry just wrote about, but even that’s not enough. What we need to do is reach beyond those goals, try to be even bigger and better than the goal you want.

Why? Let me use myself as an example.

One of the goals I wrote on that post I linked to was to double my income this coming year. I had a pretty good year, so in theory that sounds pretty good.

In practicality, I’ve actually already done that in my past; actually, I did it two years in a row. Yup, before I started this particular blog I actually had two wonderful years where my income was out of this world. I bought myself a car and my wife a car, and you’d have thought I would have lived off the hog and not had to work for a very long time.

However, life doesn’t work like that. First, you still have to pay bills. Second, I had a lot of debt that I’d accrued before taking off, and I had to address all of that. Third, we had some things that had to be done for the house. And fourth, since I didn’t have an accountant at the time, I didn’t pay enough taxes at the time. I did pay taxes, but not close enough to what I made.

So, even if I double my income this year, I know it’s not enough. I know that I have to reach for more; I don’t have tons of years left to get it all done.

Corageous
Stephen Train via Compfight

I tell anyone who asks that my ultimate goal is to have $10 million in the bank by the time I hit 65. Well, a big part of me says that’s not going to happen, but that’s not the point of a big, audacious hairy goal. The big point is to have a BHAG, and then work towards reaching it.

If I don’t reach it but achieve more than my goal, will I think I’m a loser? Y’all heard of Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup books fame? He tells a story of wanting to make $100,000 off the sale of his first book in one year while he was only making $20,000 a year at his job. Because of a set of circumstances that helped bring publicity to his book it made $92,000. He was far from sad; he was elated because he’d gone way beyond his first goal, which was to make back publishing costs, and eventually the success of the first book led to other successes which made him a very rich man.

So, dream big. But it takes more than just dreaming big. It takes more than setting goals. You already know what it takes because it’s in the title…

It takes courage. Once again, I’m going to explain what I mean by using myself. Man, one of these days I’ll use myself for something I did good. lol

I’ve been working on my own for 13 1/2 years. I’ve had some amazing adventures, and I’ve worked some very interesting gigs.

What I haven’t done is landed many of these gigs on my own. I could say that I set them up via networking, hooking up with people who had a lead on a project I could work and that would be true. But I haven’t really gotten many gigs on my own.

What that means is that someone else invariably got paid for work I did. I know that sometimes the person who actually contracted the work got 50% on top of what I was getting. Sometimes it was less but so what? If I’d landed those contracts on my own I’d have gotten it all. And I’d have deserved it; I did the actual work after all.

1940s Supermen of America fan club patch
Tom Simpson via Compfight

But it takes courage to get out there, go through the metaphorical slamming doors in faces (which in actuality is leaving messages no one’s ever going to return or being rebuffed by an office staff person whose been told to turn everyone away). I’ve had courage here and there but never enough; that’s disconcerting.

If you look at the stories of all the millionaires and billionaires out there, the one thing you always come back to is how courageous they had to be. For entertainers it takes courage to audition, and courage to be told you’re not “this or that” and be ready to go for it again. When you hear stories like how each of the stars of the Harry Potter movies were one of thousands of kids who showed up and know that all those other kids had to have the courage to try again if they wanted to be in the business, you start to realize that it takes more than competency, more than talent; it takes courage to try, and then courageousness to get off the floor and try again.

I’ll admit I’ve never been good at rejection. All 4 of the women I dated, which includes the one I married, asked me out first. I’ve had days when I’ve done maybe a couple of hours of marketing, then left it alone for weeks at a time. I plant seeds and wait to see what happens; that’s not courage, that’s nature.

So here it is, a seminal year the way I see it. This is the year of courage. This is the year where I go for it, break out of my shell and go for some big things. I’ve already talked to potential back support; no one gets rich on their own. If any of the things I’m shooting for comes together… well, I won’t tell you how much I made, but I’ll let you know how I feel about it once it’s completed.

I always say this when I write these types of posts so I’ll say it again. I don’t put this stuff out there to boost myself up. I put it out here because I’m not alone. I know some of you are looking at dreams and goals but are hesitant to take the next step. Earlier today I was talking to someone about her goals and she owned up to being scared to even try for fear of losing what she has now.

Courage Is Needed to Make a Better World (22/37)
Creative Commons License Tony Fischer via Compfight

On a Facebook group I belong to I put out a challenge to the members to pick up the slack, get blogging again, and get back to the purpose of our group or else fold and move on. In a way, it’ll take courage for some of them to get going again because they’re feeling beaten down and listless, uninspired because things didn’t go quite the way they thought they would when they started blogging. But a lot more people than I expected popped in, saying they were ready for the challenge and would redouble their efforts this year.

How many of you are looking at what you’re doing now, wishing you had the courage to try? Come along with me, with us… let’s be courageous in our efforts and try to get to what we want out of life, where we want to be.

If you’re content, stay that way; don’t even comment on this post, don’t even read it; I won’t reply to your comment (unless it’s Rummuser, and only because he’s retired lol). But for those of you who ernestly want to try and are ready to be courageous in 2015… welcome aboard! 😀
 

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A Fine Line Between Courage And Irritating

A couple of posts ago I talked about promotions and marketing and how it can be a challenge to get more notoriety so you can either get more readers to your blog or get more people buying things from you. I looked at all the responses of course and I continued to think about this one because, well… let’s face this fact.

fearless
M.G. Kafkas via Compfight

All of us want “more” something. If we didn’t want something we wouldn’t bother writing our blogs to begin with. I’m of the opinion that if all you wanted to do was vent without anyone commenting or bothering you that you could go the old school way, as I used to do, and just journal things. That way you not only put all your thoughts down on paper, thus clearing your mind, but you can throw it away later on and never look at it again or keep it for posterity when you have the guts to look at it many years later and are either amazed or scared of what you wrote at that time.

So let’s just go off the premise that we want something, and we want more of it. I’m throwing one more thing out there to think about; that’s the fine line between the courage it takes to try to get more recognition or going over the line because you don’t know what you’re doing or have no shame and irritating people.

Here’s an example of the first one. I have a finance blog and I take guest posts there. I have a policy that tells people how they need to contact me and what I need to see. I also make sure everyone knows that if the post isn’t financial I’m not taking it.

This one lady wrote me and she was representing a college. She said the college had a financial program and that she’d like to write an article and link to that site. I’m all about education, so I went for it. Suffice it to say that I had to send it back to her 4 times because it didn’t have any flow. She’d written a term paper; how many of you want to read term papers on a blog? Yet every time I sent it back she was gracious enough to accept what I was trying to say to her and would make changes.

Because of that I went against my own rule and decided that the topic was important enough and the link important enough for me to do more edits than I normally would. I made it flow, made it at least readable for the general masses. Then I told her I’d accepted it but made massive edits and that I’d like her to read it when it went live. She did that and wrote me to say she now understood better what I meant and that she liked what I’d edited much better. Very gracious lady and she was courageous to keep coming back for more in a gracious way.

Then there’s irritating. Another guy wanted to put a guest post on the blog but in his first 3 emails, I knew he hadn’t read the guest posting policy. Eventually he did and then he sent me something that I found totally unacceptable and I told him why; no blatant advertising. Then he asked if he could see the advertising policy, which I sent. Immediately he started offering me less than what the policy stated. I told him twice that I wasn’t accepting anything less than what the policy was, and in my second email back to him I said I wasn’t writing him again.

This precipitated a barrage of emails over the course of the next few days, always offering new terms, a couple of times sending me an article I didn’t ask for, before I finally got tired of the guy and blacklisted his email address; that was that from him. There wasn’t anything courageous in what he was doing because he wasn’t even trying to follow any of my policies, and trying to undercut my rate when it’s cut rate to begin with… please!

The truth is that every once in a while we don’t have the time to promote, promote, promote. We might have to ask someone for some assistance. However, no one should ever ask for anything without first doing something or offering something in return that looks like it’s benefiting the person they’re asking a favor for more than what they’re hoping to get out of their request.

For instance, on this blog I’ve had 14 guest posts over all the years I’ve had this blog. Almost all of those folks were participants on the blog beforehand; the first guy wasn’t, but I was new to the concept then. And I don’t mean a few comments here and there but many comments on many blogs, unless I asked someone to write a post for me, which happens from time to time.

I once asked Guy Kawasaki if I could have a place on his Alltop for my business blog, Mitch’s Blog, and he said yes. However, what I’d done for him first was help him edit his book Reality Check, and I wrote a review on this blog and on Amazon to help him promote it. And I did it all for free, just trying to help. By the way, if you ever see that book in the store look at the acknowledgements and you’ll see my name in the book; that’s so cool! 🙂

What are you willing to give to someone who you respect and who could possibly help you move up higher on the ladder of success? And will you be able to determine whether you’ve gone too far or not enough?
 

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Participating In Social Media Takes Courage

A few days ago, I had a post that also had a video where I ranted about MLM schemes. I can’t remember if I mentioned in the video that what prompted the rant was something that happened on LinkedIn or not, but that was the genesis for everything.


by Scott Feldstein via Flickr

One of the strangest things that came out of all of that mess, which continued until late yesterday afternoon when I finally decided my participation in the “conversation” had to end, is that the overwhelming majority of people who agreed with me wrote me privately rather than put their disgust out in the public like I did. As Sheriff Bart said in Blazing Saddles, “I’m quickly becoming an underground success in this town”. I got as many supporting messages in private as the guy who started the post got on the post itself; it did and didn’t help me, as you can imagine.

I’ve stated on this blog before that one of the gutsiest things a person can do online is court controversy, whether you started it or got yourself in the middle of it. Social media can be dangerous as much as it can be fun. This weekend another friend of mine posted something on his Facebook page that I kind of took exception to, so I commented on it. He said he had a right to express his beliefs, and I agreed with that while also saying if you have the guts to put out a belief like that in public you have to have the guts to take criticism for it from people who don’t agree with your position. I never heard back on that one.

How many reminders do people need before they realize that free speech really isn’t free? If people want to rant about things without giving others the opportunity to comment, set up a blog, don’t accept comments, and get on with your bad selves. 🙂

Unless you’re a big name once people realize they can’t leave comments they probably won’t come back, but you probably don’t care at that point. As Seth Godin seems to feel, sometimes getting your point out is more important to you than getting feedback. I find that sort of thing incredibly useless and selfish (I refuse to visit his blog or read links people share on Twitter), but to each his own.

Here’s my overall point. If you’re always afraid you’re going to create controversy, you’ll never be a good blogger. Controversy can pop up in the strangest places on the strangest topics. There is no safe topic, from babies to puppies to chocolate cake to the Muppets to weather. There’s always the possibility someone might not like what you said or how you said it. I once wrote a positive post where I mentioned my dad’s history and suddenly I was being attacked for talking about my dad being in the military. Didn’t see it coming, but I didn’t back down either, though eventually I had to block the guy because he became a major league troll; strange indeed.

Blogging isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re skittish your blog will be unreadable. Being flexible enough to see someone else’s point of view, even to the point where you sometimes might change your mind, doesn’t mean you don’t get to express yourself in your own way. Deciding not to change your mind and sticking up for your point of view, while trying to do it in a nice way, doesn’t mean you’re not flexible. Sometimes you have to adopt the position that my wife learned from Jack Canfieldone night: “What other people think of you is their problem.”

So, who’s ready to start blogging?
 

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