“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Think about that quote. It refers to resilience – the ability to not just persevere in the face of repeated obstruction, but to do so – with enthusiasm!
Today, the focus is more on fear than inspiration, because in most cases, we need the ability to move through the fear before we can get to inspiration.
The accepted wisdom is that there are only two things that motivate humans to act: fear or inspiration. Which of these would you voluntarily choose – for you, or for others?
Unfortunately, some of us do not even recognize fear initially when it has stopped us in our tracks.
Essentially, the general consensus among psychologists is that, whatever the source of fear, we need to move towards it, rather than running away from it; and, that fear is usually focused on the past or worry about the future. Staying focused in the present and dealing with ‘what is’ is the biggest part of any solution.
Taking action is the antidote to reducing or removing the source of fear.
Rosa Parks, the amazing black woman who refused to move to the back of the bus and thus helped to catalyze the desegregation movement in the USA stated, “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear”. Her photo sits on the wall in my office.
Fear reduces the potential for innovation – obscures the way out of any dilemma in which we find ourselves. Fear can immobilize. As Franklin D. Roosevelt is reputed to have said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.
Risking failure is often a source of fear in business; but indeed, failing to risk taking control of your situation is most likely to end up in failure.
When your heart clenches, your brain tightens and you freeze in place, it’s time to take a deep breath (get some oxygen into the brain), face what is causing your reaction, try thinking about it from a different perspective, and decide to take some action.
Think about this last quote. Often, when fear has immobilized us, we are in a state of overwhelm, our thoughts are scattered and, if we are lucky, we can occasionally recognize that we are engaged in fuzzy thinking. It takes a real force of will to focus on the issues. If we manage to do this, we are likely to be rewarded with light at the end of the tunnel, greater courage, and an upswing in our energy.
Forcing ourselves to focus on the issues affecting us at the moment can lead us to finding the solutions we need to move forward and out of that state of fear, into inspiration. That is the essence of Onassis’ quote.
Perhaps you can see the emerging theme: you have choice; you have the power to decide how you are going to focus your attention, where to focus it, and on what.
Given all the quotes on fear and fear in relation to business, you can perhaps now recognize that you are not the first to find yourself there, and that if those before you have found a way out, you can too.
So if you are finding yourself stalled in your business, or immobilized in your organization, now – or in a future situation, here is your plan of action:
Plan of Action:
- Acknowledge that you are stuck or operating in a state of fear
- Assign two hours one evening or weekend to focus on the issue(s) and to see the big picture and context of the issue(s)
- Identify the source of your stuckness and the source of your fear (they can be two different things)
- Recognize and acknowledge that you are not the first to be in this position
- Review the facts
- Find a mentor or coach with whom you can talk about the situation
- Seek a new perspective
- Clarify where you want to go from here (reviewing your values and original mission or vision at this point is a good idea)
- Seek inspiration
- Develop a strategy and plan of action for yourself
- Do it – don’t just think about it – do it.
Last quote of the day:
“Change your thoughts and you change your world”
-Norman Vincent Peale
In essence, you are still in control. Take it and run with it. You can do it.