Archives for fear

It takes courage to follow your dream. How courageous are you?

Dream by EvelynGiggles on Flickr

Last month for our podcast, Epic Career Tales, my assistant, Syndie, interviewed a professional artist, Jessica Serran, who has successfully made not just a great career of being an artist, but a great living. Truly epic, right?

Many of my clients have Epic, yet very conventional corporate careers, in that they started out as an entry-level employee and worked their way up the corporate ladder.

Then there are those who ventured off the corporate ladder. Of those clients, some of them really hedged their risk, and saved up 18 months of income as their safety net before they jumped off. Yet others answered the call to adventure in a moment. That moment could have been inspired by a straw that broke the camel’s back, which is the more common. But there are a couple of clients, I recall vividly, who just had an epiphany inspired by something that they witnessed, or watched, or learned, or read. Those clients inspired the idea for the Epic Career Tales podcast.

I wanted to nudge, or even catapult, people toward their dreams by telling the stories of people who successfully climbed the ladder, jumped off the ladder, or never bothered to climb in the first place, even though it seems that the infrastructure of our world promotes a corporate career as the ultimate path to financial security.

That was not my point of view, actually. My dad’s corporate career provided a good stable living for my family and I when I was young, but the divorce decimated financial resources, and when I was in 9th grade, my dad was forced into early retirement and he had to sell the home I grew up in. While my mom’s job in a small company (it was small then, but grew tremendously during her time there and since) provided her with enough for us to live, eat, and stay clothed, but there never seemed to be enough for anything extra, or extra nice. Plus, she was pretty miserable and complained a lot about her job. She came home exhausted. Her pay raises, even after 10 years, were less than a dollar an hour. I was getting better pay raises at my food service job at 15 years old.

For me, the safer path to financial security seemed to be achieving semi-celebrity status in media. When I realized a year into that career that I really wasn’t willing to do what it took to get to semicelebrity status in media, because it wasn’t really what I wanted, it took courage to realize that I really loved my temp assignment in a corporate recruiting office. And, it took courage to follow that path in consideration of the fact that I was going to take a door-to-door job first to learn sales, and in spite of how I thought it probably would wind up – giving more to a company than they were giving back to me and resenting them for that.

Wow, my outlook was pretty bleak back then.

I know there is a population of people who do not see a corporate career as one that will be financially fulfilling. These people are entrepreneurial and usually seek out multiple streams of income. Some people don’t believe corporations have any honest employees or leaders. Certainly our beliefs shape our decisions, for better or worse and whether they are based on truths or not.

It doesn’t really matter what your dreams are. I don’t see a large percentage of the population following dreams. Why is that?

One revelation that I have stated before was that there is an epidemic, a very pervasive belief among people that we are not worthy of our dreams – that happiness is for other people.

People think they are protecting themselves by not pursuing their dreams; they’ll never have to find out if they weren’t good enough. They’ll never have to fail at making their dream come true. They’ll never have to mourn their dream.

This is tragic because they also never get to find out how brilliant they have the potential to be and how beautiful life can be when you are aligned in your career with your purpose, talent, and interests.

We all have to decide for ourselves what level of risk we are willing to take in order to have what we really want. In a lot of cases people decide what they really want, over having a career that makes them happy, is financial stability.

If that is your empowered choice, I have no qualms. Even though, I still believe that you have disqualified the idea that you can have a career that you love and that provides you with financial stability. That bothers me, and it bothers me more when people decide that what they really wanted to do wasn’t viable for them because they felt unworthy. They may not even realize that this belief was influential in their decision.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

I believe that if you decided that anything was more important than having a career that you love, then you never even tasted what it’s like to have a career that you love. You don’t know what you’re missing. You don’t know how incredible and meaningful life can be when you have a career that feeds your soul.

We interview these Epic Career Tales guests because we want listeners and readers to awaken to their own potential to have a similar tale. I want them to be clear that no career path is going to be without its challenges, and we wouldn’t want that, because then we wouldn’t grow. There are ways to overcome these challenges, and these peoples’ stories demonstrate what it took as well as how amazing it is to be on the other side of those challenges, and to be in a place of knowing you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing.

It’s OK to be afraid, and it’s OK to be terrified.

According to Jack Canfield, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

And according to Will Smith, “God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror.

And FDR said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

If a professional goal scares and excites you, it probably represents your highest probability of having an epic career and life. Commit to it; give it everything that you got. If you do find out that it’s not the right goal, or that you don’t want it enough to overcome the challenges, it won’t kill you, but I promise you, you are more capable and worthy than you realize!

Shoot for something Epic

Exhilarating

Purposeful

Intentional

Conscious

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Aaliyah – Journey To The Past

ATLANTIC RECORDS 1997. “Anastasia” Soundtrack.

5 of 7 Methods of Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs for Career Breakthrough, Part 2

Stella 4 by Abir Anwar of Flickr

 

Don’t be too surprised to discover that there have been deep-seated beliefs that have been making decisions for you. This is a blessing and a curse of our brain. The most important thing to realize is if these beliefs are serving our optimal growth or inhibiting it.

I shared 20 limiting beliefs that I discovered about money, wealth, abundance and worthiness. This was critical for me to uncover, because while I had a record year last year and feel I turned a corner in my business that will enable me to bring game-changing solutions into the world, I would have already liked to have these solutions into the hands of the people who need them to move forward in their career. Then they would already be making a bigger, more meaningful difference to the people they lead and the causes they move forward.

I also shared 3 of 7 methods I have learned from mentors, coaches, and even healers from over the past nine years to overcome limiting beliefs that direct our actions and become habits that run on autopilot unless we interrupt and replace them. We might as well start there:

 

Interrupt, replace, reinforce

Like a couple of the methods I shared last week, Dr. David Bach’s simple yet effective method incorporates the mind-body connection, but starts first with an awareness and manipulation of your physiology, rather than your mindset. His objective is to help us stay in the “zone,” or “flow” of high performance consistently, but it will start very gradually as you practice and become more mindful, building good habits as you go.

As his first volunteer, I was skeptical that I would find it so easy. I came to an event where he was speaking in a state of frustration and disappointment with me. At the time my daughters were three and four, and had tested my patience prior to leaving, making me late, which always makes me frazzled. My patience failed. I absolutely hate leaving my girls on bad terms. I was less interested in how to be a business superstar, and more concerned about being a nurturing, patient mom who did not inadvertently instill limiting beliefs in my daughters (though I feel at some level I am bound to – I already teach many of these methods to them).

He had me come up and reenact what I was like when I was the “ugly” mom, as I called it. There, in front of mostly strangers, I had to reveal how I am that makes me the most ashamed. For the sake of my daughters, and science, I bent over at the waist, pretending my knee and thigh high daughters were standing in front of me. My lips pursed, my eyebrows narrowed toward my nose, my pointer finger shook, and with a raised voice I asked a common question, “How many times do I have to tell you to do XYZ before you actually do it?!” I looked up at the 45-50 or so people there to find that they were looking at me just as my daughters do, a bit frozen and afraid. Face flushed and hoping for some mercy, I was very anxious to put an end to this horrifying display and be told the solution. First, he pointed out my body language, how I was standing, and my closed off, jerky movement. Then he asked everyone to notice my strenuous facial expression and tone of voice.

Then he had me reenact what I’m like when I am in the flow with my daughters. I had to remember a time when I felt like I was “winning” at parenting. Sadly, I realized that these moments were few and far between. I did recall, however, a time in the past week when I figured out how to inspire my girls to cooperate and complete a task joyfully by turning it into a game. I stood up straight, even leaning slightly back, I was talking with a smile, and my eyes, also smiling, were wide with excitement as I explained the rules of the game, as well as the prize, in a higher pitched, but softer voice. Again, he pointed out my body language, facial expression and tone. It was the same posture that I tend to embody when I am speaking, singing, or teaching – tasks that I enjoy and when I feel most in the flow.

For one last demonstration, he asked me to ask the same question of my daughters, with the same tone of voice, but while I was maintaining the body language and facial expression of the second reenactment. It made me giggle. It felt so unnatural. He pointed out that it was impossible to be both at the same time. I have since learned from other teachers that you cannot be in a positive state of mind and at the same time be in a negative state of mind. You can switch back and forth, but this is why when you are scared, if you think of something that makes you happy, the fear disappears, at least temporarily while you hold the happy thought.

So his technique is to notice and manipulate your physicality to mimic the same physicality you embody when you are in the flow, every time you notice you are not in the flow. Just like any new habit, it will take repetition to reinforce, and you may find it harder to practice under times of stress. You may even choose NOT to practice at times. Be forgiving of yourself, as feeling bad about relapses does not at all contribute to improvement in any way, but forgiving yourself (and others) has been scientifically proven to improve your body and mind chemistry.

The point is to gradually increase your awareness and practice until it becomes automatic. New habits will seem impossible at first, as your brain resists change, and there will be a stage where you will question your desire to continue, even as you start to see benefits. If you persist, however, you will eventually reach a stage where it just feels natural, and you no longer have to work to perform your habit. Hal Elrod broke habit forming into three stages – unbearable, uncomfortable, and unstoppable.

If you have anxiety or depression, while this is not a cure by any means, it is an exercise that will help minimize the secondary and tertiary physical repercussions of those conditions.

 

Timeline Therapy

If you identified beliefs, but have struggled to remember the moments and events that generated them, or you remember the moments, but they cause you great grief, trauma, or fear, you will want to find a certified or licensed practitioner of this approach (I am not, yet). There have even been successes using this method to alleviate and eliminate allergies.

Like I shared last week, many human performance optimization professionals insist that you have to confront the source of pain before you can really move forward and create a new future. Timeline therapy is like mental laser surgery where, while in a trance state, you float backward through your timeline to hone in on those moments you may have buried or find hard to confront to reframe the event and create a new belief that services your highest good.

Again, you will want to engage a licensed professional, especially if these moments are traumatic. Be under someone’s care. I will just outline some of the steps involved in timeline therapy.

  1. Close your eyes and, with eyes closed, look up slightly (this induces an alpha brain wave state)
  2. Take a deep breath in; without breath, visualize 3 three times; Repeat with 2, then 1
  3. Count down from X to 1 (depending on your experience with meditation)
  4. Without analyzing, imagine you are flying above your timeline and you have located the moment this anomaly was born
  5. Move to the time 15-minutes before it happened
  6. Think of three OTHER possible meanings or causes this event could have
  7. Choose one that serves you best and drop it, as if you are downloading it, into the timeline in place of the event that caused the anomaly
  8. TEST: Does this anomaly still resonate as true?

 

Next week I will share the two final methods of this series, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, I have a list of 30+ different exercises, some of which are meant to activate the Law of Attraction, though all are intended to help you achieve breakthroughs in your performance and results. I will eventually share them all, and I am currently deciding if I will share these in a second 30-day transformation e-book, if I will include them in a 30-day or 3-month online group course, or if I will hold local live events and focus on one method per event. I may wind up doing a combination. If this interests you, please share which venue you prefer.  Also share if you try any of these methods and your results or lack thereof.

 

How Fear Limits Careers

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

Has the term “what if?” ever ruled your decision making? Have you ever settled for safe and predictable in your professional life so you can avoid a fear of the unknown?

 

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can eat away at all rational thought and positive energy until all you’re left with is raw anxiety and shattered self esteem. Fear comes in a variety of forms and there is no area of your life it can’t touch. For professionals, fear can often cause poor career decisions. Since the economic downturn of 2008 and the very slow recovery, fear has led many bright and talented people to settle for less. This can lead to a multitude of problems down the road, including underemployment, being overworked, and a stifled path to career recovery.

 

The fear of having no income at all can often funnel professionals into jobs in which they are underemployed and indefinitely underpaid.

 

You might be a bright-eyed accountant who has gotten the pink-slip at work. Your unemployment is about to run out and you’ve had no luck landing a job with comparable pay. Ultimately, you settle for a part-time job at a new firm or you take a job that pays you far less.

 

How about another example? You could be an administrative assistant at an insurance company. The company folded, leaving you unemployed and, in order to pay the bills, you take a retail job. The income is mediocre in comparison to the money you received on unemployment.

 

Perhaps in your previous executive role you were applying decades’ worth of skills, education and experience to make huge contributions to your previous employer, but you are being told you are “overqualified,” so you resort to finding a role as an individual contributor where your wisdom and insight are not appreciated nor are you compensated for them.

 

Or, you could be a journalist fresh out of school, unable to find work and so you settle as a waiter at your local restaurant. As a career coach I’ve seen plenty of people let fear lead them to unsatisfying career choices.

 

Let’s say none of the above examples apply to you. You still have a job in the profession you love. Even so, you’re not happy with your circumstances at work. Your company may have cut back on staff, effectively doing more with fewer people. You find yourself working longer hours at the job. Or you may be worried about being let go so you agree to take on more responsibilities and job duties for the same amount of pay. Your hours increase, your free time decreases and your health and well-being also suffer. You want to make the transition to a job that offers more pay, better hours or a combination of the two. Your fear has caused you to stick with a job you dislike simply because you can’t see a way forward.

 

Do you see yourself in any of these examples?

 

While it’s true that we all have to pay our bills, I think we can all agree that is preferable to pay our bills AND be fulfilled in our career. Fear can make you believe that you have to choose between the two.

 

Whether you are underemployed, underpaid or overworked the fear of not bringing in income or losing a current career can be detrimental in the long run. If you invest yourself too fully in a part-time job, it leaves you with less time and energy to pursue your career. Likewise, finding yourself overworked as a professional can also leave you with little time and energy to make the transition to an ideal employer.

 

Lost time is lost money.

 

Do not let fear rule your career-making decisions. Take some time to rationally evaluate how you will move your career forward as a business professional. Ideally, you will strive toward a job that motivates and excites you. Additionally, you will already have had your own personal criteria in mind. The number of hours you will work per week, your salary, culture, growth opportunity, flexibility, healthcare benefits and even personal time are a few examples for you to consider. Making a decision that meets about 80% of your personal criteria is a great, logical way to help drive your profession. Change can be a cause of fear but courage and rationality can lead to a successful career in the long run.

 

You don’t always have to use logic to make your decision; emotion can be a good place to make a decision from, as long as it is positive emotion based on excitement, enthusiasm, passion and adventure. Fear may still be present. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to move forward in spite of it. Don’t let fear drive your career decisions.

 

 

By the way…If your career was thrown off track by a fear-based decision, we will help you get back on track.

The One Thing You MUST Give Up To Have A Successful Full or Part-Time Business

Man with adhesive notes in his office

 

According to a 2012 survey, 51 % of Americans would rather be self-employed and 44%  think it would be possible for them to go into business for themselves within the next five years — a figure that has increased 8 percentage points since 2009.

Despite the large number of people who want to be in charge of their career, only 6% are currently self-employed.

Why the huge discrepancy?

If so many people want the freedom and independence of being an entrepreneur, what is stopping them?

The results of the survey are fascinating.

4% can’t come up with a business idea.
15% didn’t have enough capital.
10% say they lack the necessary skills.
2% say administrative barriers hold them back.

When I read those numbers I was surprised. They don’t seem to ring true. There are millions of ideas, people who are interested in investing, and anyone can learn a new skill.

So what is the real reason so few people are entrepreneurs?
Fear.
YOU MUST GIVE THIS UP IF YOU WANT SUCCESS

The thought about something that hasn’t happened.
Old fashioned, garden variety fear.

What stops most people from being an entrepreneur, is the fear of going bankrupt or the fear of an irregular income.

When people feel that their current situation, no matter how awful it is, guarantees a steady income, it’s hard to give up that perception of security for uncertainty. (Think of all of your friends who are stuck working with rude, negative, and even nasty people. They may talk about leaving to start their own business, but where are they now? Yep. They’re still there.)

The fear of reducing income is so big that it even stops people from trying to start their business on a part-time basis even while they are employed.

Of all the classes that are taught in business school, it’s clear that a comprehensive course in getting over the fear of starting your full or part-time career is needed.

Wharton, are you listening?

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What get’s in your way of starting your full or part-time business? Share your comments below. Someone might have a great solution for you. 🙂

Wendy Merron is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Founder of The Center for Success in Wayne, PA and author of Powerful Thinking on Purpose.