The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!
Continued from last week
ICE-ing your fears:
Like most entrepreneurs, I struggled to make my business more and more successful. At times, I encountered numerous obstacles that I feared were threatening my dreams. There were times I knew exactly what I had to do, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. For instance, I remember at one point being afraid to send out too many advance copies of my first book, for fear that some more established person or company would simply steal my idea and run me out of business. However, once I learned the truths about fears (See last week’s article), I developed my own technique for conquering them: I call it ICE-ing. To ICE your fears, you first (I)dentify them, (C)onfront them, and finally (E)liminate them.
Identifying your fears. The first step in conquering your fears is to be honest with yourself. Once you’ve admitted to yourself that fear is the reason you are not doing what you should be doing, then ask yourself, what am I afraid of? Try putting into words exactly what the consequences are that you fear. Write them down. Don’t be surprised if at first you can’t come up with any real reasons. (Doesn’t it seem silly to be paralyzed by something you can’t even name?) With practice, however, you’ll become more aware of what’s really going on in your head and heart, and you’ll be able to put it into words. You then need to find out what’s really going on. Often the first fear we identify is not the one that is paralyzing us. Keep asking yourself "why am I afraid of that?" As you keep questioning each answer, you’ll get to the bottom line. Forcing yourself to put your feelings and fears into words helps you to make sense of them, and to understand yourself.
Confronting your fears. Confronting your fears means accepting that you have them, and accepting what they say about you. In other words, you may not like that you are the type of person who is frightened by what others think of you, and so you’d rather remain a definite failure than a possible success. However, unless you accept these truths about yourself, you won’t be able to get to the next level. Remember: a fear avoided lingers for eternity. A fear confronted dies in a heartbeat.
Eliminating your fears. The final step in ICE-ing your fears is eliminating them. The basis of fear is uncertainty. Fear is how we react when we "don’t know." You are fearful of what you perceive might happen, but you do not actually know what will happen. Your goal in conquering your fears is to find the answer to the "what will happen if?" question. Once you realize this, you’ll also realize that only one thing can eliminate the not knowing: Action!
Action nullifies fear. "Knowing" eliminates it. Notice I said nullify. To nullify is to render ineffective. You may still feel fear, but your action has the effect of nullifying it. The knowledge that comes from doing, then removes the uncertainty factor. Remember, we said that your fear is based on the fact that you don’t know. So, once you take action, you’ll immediately "know" what the consequences are. You may fail, or you may succeed, but at least you’ll know the answer to the "what will happen if....?" question.
If you don’t take action, you’ll live the rest of your life with that single burning question: What if I had? In my own experience, I’ve found that regret is more painful than the fear of trying.
Of course, if the memory and pain of rejection, or failure, or whatever is holding you back from taking action is greater than the pain of living in regret, then you may never act. If you decide, however, that the relief of knowing, and the growth that comes from facing your fear, and avoiding a life lived in regret is a greater incentive, then in time you may remove this fear altogether. The fear may come up again the next time you need to act, but it becomes less paralyzing over time, if dealt with repeatedly.
Now none of this is intended to imply that it’s going to be easy. Being an entrepreneur is about taking risks. Risk taking requires courage. It’s often said, however, that courage is not the absence of fear, but action despite the fear! Action is the key. I’m reminded of the powerful title of a book which deals with this very subject. It’s called Feel The Fear, And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. The fears never stop coming. However, you always have the option of action. As you conquer one fear, very shortly the same one, or another one appears to take its place. What you can change, however, is how you react to those fear. Eventually, what others will consider your fearless approach to life, you’ll know simply as a commitment to action in the face of fear. You won’t be eliminating your fears, you’ll be eliminating your fear of your fears! And that, dear future entrepreneur, passionpreneur and Saipanpreneur is the key to success!
P.S.: Once you start moving toward your fears and taking action despite them, you’ll need to be prepared for what happens next. We live in a receptive universe that responds to our thoughts. So when you say you want a better life, visualize it and set goals accordingly, things naturally start to happen to bring you the life you desire. (Really! It’s true!) What happens, however, is that most of us miss the clues, and interpret the ensuing chaos, tension, stress, turmoil, strained relationships, disagreements, disappointments, betrayals and lack of support from those we love as an indication that we’ve made a bad decision. Or worse, we fail to see the connection our new way of thinking is having on our relationships and environment, and get distracted putting out these seemingly unexpected, and unrelated fires in our lives.
What’s actually happening is that the Reconstruction Crisis is in effect, and people and situations that have no place in our envisioned future will start to feel the effects of the old world being dismantled and being prepared for reconstruction. Every thing from blessing to burden, from comfort to calamity are all part of a plan to answer your wishes. It’s like clearing away an old house in order to build a new one! If you understand what’s going on, you’ll welcome the potential for change and betterment that such crises always bring. Go forth without fear!
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Newsflash: Mark your calendars! Coming June 3, 2006: A Passion Profit workshop on Tinian!
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Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!—Walt