A few weeks ago, I attended an evening networking event to try and connect with some potential new clients. The woman in charge of the event was making an introduction to the speaker for the night, but before she did, she gave us a pretty great story:
This woman is an extremely successful business coach and had been working with another more experienced coach at a big conference the week prior. In the process of their work, she was explaining a pretty lofty goal that she had for her business and expressed that she was uncertain about what the results would be. She knew what she had to do but was experiencing, as we all do, a moment of insecurity about whether or not she could pull it off. The man smiled and said, “Everything you are most passionate about, everything you desire deeply and voraciously, the universe is already trying to give you — stop standing in its way.”
It hit me hard. See, since I left my longterm job last May, I’ve had a vision for a business that I want to get off the ground. The ideas I have get me giddy with excitement and I want it all and I want it NOW. Except I can’t stop thinking about everything ahead of me: accounting, legal paperwork, capital, investments…everything that goes into running a successful operation. Every time I start to think about those things, I stop smiling. I shake my head back into reality and try to focus on my day job…success is one thing at a time, right?
Except my day job laid me off last week.
At first, I experienced what is normal: varying between emotionally shutting down and bawling my eyes out. Then, later on that evening, I accepted that I was no longer employed…and I got really excited. Finally! Finally I had no more excuses! I could get a turbo-start on my business plan — it was all falling into place! The universe loves me! It really, really loves me!
Except I’m still not doing anything about it. Instead, I spend my days looking for part time work in this little-to-no-hiring season of the year, panicked about my survival. I’ve done nothing productive with my business plan besides run my ideas by someone else and lament about how I need to get started, like, yesterday…someone is going to get to this idea before I do if I don’t get a move on. I’ve done nothing. Because I’m terrified.
Geoffrey James over at Inc. knows me. Not really…not personally, anyway…but he knows what I’m going through (probably because it’s not uncommon). In his article, 5 Reasons People Fail (& What To Do Instead), he addresses this very thing I’m doing to get in my own way:
If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t take the necessary risks required to achieve your goal. For example, you won’t make that important phone call, because you’re afraid that you’ll be rebuffed. Or you won’t quit your dead-end job and start your own business because you’re afraid that you might end up without any money.
Fix: Decide–right now!–that failure, for you, is a strictly temporary condition. If things don’t go the way you’d like, it’s only a setback that, at most, delays your eventual success. In other words, accept the fact that you’ll sometimes fail, but treat that failure as an unavoidable (yet vital) component in your quest.
What kills me is that he’s right. Change happens when people create change…success can’t happen if I never risk success. What we want, what we deeply desire, we can have — except first, we have to stop being afraid. Fear is vital to victory, but even more vital is doing it afraid.
So this week, Career Girls, I am going to take at least one step out of my own way. I am going to do one thing that works toward my goal. This week, I encourage all of you to do the same: Figure out what you’ve been avoiding out of fear of failure. You don’t have to steamroll yourself over right away, but take at least ONE step to achieve your high-to-reach sweet spot! Let’s step to our own sides and succeed together!