Archive for achievement

Pushing Past Fear to Success – Part 1

The core idea behind the common acronyms for fear is that the basis of fear is not real.




Not that we don’t sometimes have a real reason to experience a fear response, but that the reason behind the fear is more often imagined.

In 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigned against then President Herbert Hoover for the Presidency of the United States. Soon-to-be President Roosevelt said as little as possible about what he would do if elected and allowed the downward spiraling economy speak for itself.

On the heels of his election came the Great Depression. During his first inaugural speech, President Roosevelt said something that impacted generations to come.

“. . . the only thing we have to fear is fear itself . . . “

BUT that is only a few of the words from the actual quote which reads:

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

~President Franklin D. Roosevelt
March 4, 1933


In those final words of that sentence, nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”  Roosevelt speaks volumes about the kind of fear that we should be afraid of.

There are specific physical obstacles that should generate a fear response. Being attacked by a bear, falling off a cliff or facing a gunman all SHOULD evoke fear. But, what we more often face are fears that are not based in reality.

Is It Real?

Truthfully, much of what we are afraid of never comes to pass.

Does this mean that fear is not real?  And, if it isn’t, then 2ho wants to spend time, energy and money dealing with fears that are not real?

Fear is real. But, the thing you fear may not be.

March14CrushedCIThe feeling of fear is powerful, real and sometimes debilitating. But, the thing you fear probably doesn’t exist. Left unchecked, fear can deflate your confidence and destroy your dreams.

The reality is that fear is a vital response to physical or emotional danger. If we don’t feel fear then we can’t protect ourselves from very real threats to our body and mind. Fear is designed to protect us from life-and-death situations. When you feel fear or threatened, your body releases a hormone called epinephrine, or the fight-or-flight hormone.

However, too often fear is triggered by situations that are significantly less dangerous. These situations may trigger an emotional response based on a past trauma or it may be triggered by an imagined potential response to a situation. It’s the last one that really creates problems in people’s lives.

This is not the same fear that floods our body with hormones when we watch thrillers and spooky movies. In this instance, many will seek out these experiences to feel the rush of fear from a haunted house or scary movie. Some psychologists believe it’s because our lives have become so routine that we enjoy a bit of excitement.

These movies activate the release of neurotransmitters like epinephrine, including dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. They influence our brain to trigger the fight-or-flight response we described earlier. However, in this case because we also know that we’re safe, this state of arousal is interpreted by the brain as positive.

Conquering your fear of zombie land or jumping out of plane will also increase your self-confidence and feelings of competence and success.

Common Limiting Beliefs

Common limiting beliefs are usually triggered by one of the internal fears – a fear of a response to a particular situation – mentioned above. While they are not identical, they are close cousins.

These limiting beliefs restrain us. We don’t believe the good things about ourselves because we choose to believe the bad.

There is a quote from the movie “Pretty Woman” which speaks to this directly:

Edward: “I think you are a very bright, very special woman.”
Vivian: “The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?”

In one sentence Vivian sums up the vast expanse of psychological evaluations and treatment – the bad stuff is just easier to believe. . . .

Some of the more common beliefs that we hold which keep us from reaching our full potential are:

I am not good enough.                                            I will get hurt.
I might fail.                                                               I’m too old.
I might get rejected.

These limiting beliefs are usually tied to some type of fear.

In the late Middle Ages, between the 15th and 17th centuries, a psychiatric disorder moved through Europe. It was called the “Glass Delusion” because people believed that they were made of glass and could shatter to pieces.  The most famous of those afflicted was King Charles VI of France. He didn’t allow anyone to touch him and even wore reinforced clothing for protection.

Today, it seems weird for people to believe this about their physical body. And yet, we have no problem believing that if we face our fear we could mentally and emotionally shatter, just as if we were made of glass.

Fear of Failure

Before we move into how to reduce or eliminate those limiting beliefs in your life, let’s take a little deeper look at the fear of failure.

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, said “It is fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to heed the lessons of March14TrustCIfailure.”

Because, while success brings with it feelings of joy, accomplishment and excitement, we achieve that success so much faster when we learn lessons from the things we fail to achieve.

And that’s when we feel fear.

Fear is a vague and scary word that can have different meanings for different people. But, underneath it all, most of us have a fear of failing.

Ask yourself:

How many times have you put off something because you weren’t sure how it would turn out?

Do you avoid trying new things in front of people?

How many times have you put off something that you know is good for you without having a good reason?

Did you answer yes to even one of these questions? Then you have operated from a fear of failure in the past. This doesn’t mean that you are controlled by fear of failing, but that somewhere, niggling in the back of your mind, is this very human idea that you could fail at what you think you might like to try.

Most of the time we aren’t afraid at failing at something we have months or years of practice doing. We usually have a fear of failing doing something for the first time.

It is like we expect ourselves to pick up a basketball and play as well as any NBA player just because we’ve watched basketball for 10 years on television. You can’t expect to do something well the first time; and yet, that’s exactly what we expect!

Interestingly, this is the concept that’s been drummed into our brains since we were in elementary school. You got it right the first time or got an “F” on your report card.

In the business world there is an expression – “Fail fast and often” – which means it’s important to fail fast, learn from those mistakes, get up and do it again – BETTER.  But by the time we graduate from high school, we’ve learned that you get it right the first time or you have FAILED.

In other words, our school systems gradually teach all of us the undercurrent of fear of failure that runs through our lives.

Does this mean that because this fear has been ingrained for near 12 years we are hopeless?  Of course not! If you look around at people who successful in relationships, business, finance and entrepreneurs you’ll notice that at some point they “unlearned” this learned behavior.

Psychologically, there is an emotional toll when you try something new and it doesn’t work out. But that has more to do with our own personal fear than any measurable loss.  Something that doesn’t end up working out the way you planned is just a step in the process of success.

Innumerable successful people have that same understanding of fear. The loss we experience when something is not a success is only measured in how much we learn.

But, instead, we often measure it in ways that are more personal.  “If I try and don’t succeed, then everyone will think I’m ________”

Fill in that blank with your own personal fear. Do you think people will believe you are stupid, unworthy, unable, weak, poorly prepared or shouldn’t have tried in the first place. Is there something else you would put in that blank?

Will the fear go away? Probably not. BUT, you will learn to discount the fear that stems from unrealistic expectations.

It is important to remember that courage is the act of doing something IN SPITE of fear and not in the absence of fear.

There are specific strategies you can use to reduce the fear you experience and live with each day. Whether you think there is fear in your life or not, these strategies can make the difference between experiencing success or failure.

Stay tuned . . . part two will be released Thursday!



Do You Need Experience to Achieve Successful Results?

Does being broke make you powerful?

I don’t think so! There IS a certain power behind your desire when you ARE broke.

Suddenly, back to the wall, debts to the ceiling, you realize that push has come to shove and there is no way out except by your own hand.

No one will be there to save you or bring you riches and gold. The only one left to save your behind is you.

Is that the power behind being broke?

Some say it is. Some believe that you first have to experience being broke to understand how to become financially successful.

But, by this logic you must first experience being abused to understand that this is not how anyone should be treated.

You must first jump off the bridge to understand that the water isn’t nearly as soft as it first appears.

Is there a power behind having firsthand, experiential knowledge of a thing and not just reading about it?

Going down this trail, the next question becomes – how can you experience something and gain the power of that experience without firsthand knowledge?

And . . . is there power in the knowledge of something you remember and ‘feel’ rather than read and understand?

Mr7QuestionCIThe answer to the first question lies in the answer to the second.

I remember things from my childhood that have driven my personality and my character as an adult. Many of these memories are good and many are not so good.

I have only to walk into a locker room to remember a conversation I overheard when I was a teenager. It was a conversation between two girls who I thought were my friends.

They never knew I heard what I heard. But those words changed who I became in the coming weeks, months and years. I learned a lesson I’ve not forgotten about the power of gossip and the pain of broken trust.

Of course, we were just teens and, young teenage girls being who they are, this shouldn’t have left an indelible mark.

But it did, and it has – in a good way.

The power of a lesson learned by experience develops into a change in character, decisions and choices.

I remember a young couple who lived in my home town. They both struggled with managing their weight.  One day we saw them out walking, both having dropped many pounds and looking healthier than ever.

My mom asked “what was it that triggered the change?”  The answer was that the man had a mild heart attack, and faced with the choice between better health and eating too much food, they chose health.

The young wife remarked that although it had been a challenge, it was amazing to them that it took a heart attack to show them that it was more important to eat to live, than it was to live to eat.

Experience led to a change in behavior that led to a change in results.

So, can you have the experience and gain the power without firsthand knowledge?

The answer to that question lies in the power behind visualization.

But not just any visualization!

Several years ago the movie “The Secret” made a splash with claims that in order to achieve a goal we must first believe that it’s possible. Of course that’s true.

But it led to many people sitting home in their easy chair, visualizing checks being delivered in the mail and unsure why they were experiencing bankruptcy.

The movie was accurate as far as it went. But without the additional admonition to take action to achieve those goals, too many people continued to wonder where their pot of gold had disappeared to.

Researchers have been able to pinpoint what happens when you visualize something positive happening in your life, without the experiential knowledge.

It saps your energy.March7TigerCI

In effect, positive visualization or fantasies resulted in a larger decrease in energy when they affected a pressing need in your life. (1) Meaning that when you need money and visualize getting a promotion, new client or other means of making that money, you lose the energy to pursue the object.

You have effectively tricked your brain into believing that what you want has already occurred. There is no need to continue to work or drive action toward a goal that has been achieved.

Instead, research finds that when you visualize the movement toward a goal, and not the achievement of the goal, you are more likely to reach your objective.

If it’s a new client you need, you’d best be visualizing yourself taking the action to acquire the client rather than visualizing actually working with a new client. The distinction is important to your results.

And it’s important to the answer to that first question: how can you experience something and gain the power of that experience without firsthand knowledge?

You gain experience and abilities through visualization.

Looking at brain patterns in weight lifters, researchers found that those weight lifters who visualized weight lifting gained an average of 13 percent muscle mass while those who did the actual lifting gained 30 percent muscle mass. (2)

Visualization gave the stationary weight lifters almost one half the gains of those who actually were lifting the weight!

Mental training is important in any sport, in any business and in any aspect of life in which you want to achieve success.

Want to be a better parent? Have more money? Get a better job? Be an entrepreneur?

It’s time to stop dreaming about the idea and take action on the steps to get there. You don’t have to ‘be broke’ or ‘reach rock bottom’ to experience the pain of regret, poor choices or bad decisions in order to drive your actions.

You only have to:

  1. determine that you can achieve the goal you want
  2. visualize the steps to achieve that goal
  3. take action on the visualization

If you don’t know the steps, ASK. There are plenty of people who have ‘been there and done that’ before you.  Most of these people are willing to help and point the way.

They aren’t going to do the work for you . . . but most people are willing to show you what needs to be done.

In his book, The Power of Broke, entrepreneur and branding consultant Daymond John, shares his perspective on the power of being broke and the motivation you’ll experience to drive you toward success. You will learn from each article and book you read. It’s not WHAT you learn but how you USE it that counts!