How to Succeed When You’re Afraid

Do you consider yourself a brave, courageous person?  Are you the type who could base jump or get on a stage in front of 100,000 people without fear?

I’m not.  I’m working on it though (not the base jumping, exactly, but the bravery).

I loved the movie We Bought a Zoo and my favorite scene was the one with this quote:

 “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and
I promise you something great will come of it.”

Two wonderful things happen when you’re courageous:

1)  You discover you can overcome fear.  Regardless of the outcome of your courageous moment, you prove to yourself that you can do it and survive.

2) Much of the time you discover that the thing you were afraid of was not only nothing to fear, but led to amazing things happening next.

Just 20 seconds…

Over the  last year I’ve tried more and more to just be brave for those 20 seconds in many areas of my life.  That first 20 seconds is really the hard part.  If you can get past that, you can do it.

It used to take me that 20 seconds of courage just to hit “publish” on a new post to my blog.  Now it only takes a few seconds of courage.  It gets easier.

Last year I sent out an email requesting testimonials… it sat in”draft” status for days before I got brave enough to hit send.  And afterwards I sat at my computer in tears as responses came back.

Yesterday I said yes to becoming an author in a group book project.  I’m terrified and excited.

In the past year I’ve been on stage for the first time for my business.  Trust me when I say you do not want to know how I reacted the first time to that experience.  The second time got easier.  If you were watching closely you could still see my hands shaking.  But it didn’t kill me, and (whispering) it was even a little bit fun.

Why am I sharing this with you?

When I asked you what your dreams and goals were, I saw a recurring theme of secret dreams… of things we want to do but we aren’t sure… our dreams are so often surrounded with insecurity of whether we can REALLY do that.

In the last year I’ve transformed my business completely from being an hourly service provider to bringing in most of my income through training and group work.  If you’d asked me 18 months ago, I probably wouldn’t even have been brave enough to admit to you that what I really wanted to do was teach and train.  And parts of my biggest dreams… I’ve only admitted to one person.  But that’s where it begins — recognize what you want and then commit to making it happen.

It comes from tiny steps of courage.  One at a time.  Building on each other.  For me, it’s just focusing on the very next thing I have to do and getting the support I need to do that.  At various points over the year it’s been hitting publish on a sales page, stepping through airport security (traveling alone used to terrify me), picking up the phone, and lots of showing up over and over again no matter how scared I was inside.  It didn’t always go smoothly.  Sometimes I failed and had to just know that I’d do better next time.

When you hear me say, “If I can do this, I KNOW you can do this” I believe it 100%.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet you’re probably starting out ahead of where I started with fears.  Think how much quicker you can do it!  And if you identify with where I’m coming from, just know you don’t have to let those fears stop you.

Be brave. You can create what you want.

If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your community.  Those following you and working with you (or waiting to discover you so you can help them!) need you to be brave for them.  Recognize that and allow it to become more powerful than your fears.

If you need a little inspiration here’s a great video to help you think even bigger about being brave:

My challenge to you: Today, do something brave. 

Maybe there’s a email you’ve been thinking of sending–asking a client for a testimonial, to connect with a colleague, submit a guest post to a bigger blog, find out about a speaking opportunity, reach out to work with a coach or mentor, reconnect with someone who’s fallen out of your life, tell someone you care about that you miss them and they matter to you.  Or maybe it’s something bigger that you’re ready to be courageous and do!

(And maybe you need to do it before you’re “ready”…)

Want accountability?  Share what your “brave” action will be in the comments below, then go do it!

Or, share a time you were brave and you’re thankful because something awesome happened as a result.

The Insanely Courageous Guide to Succeeding as an Entrepreneur

“All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it.”

I finally watched “We Bought a Zoo” last night. Amazing movie. One of my favorite lines was when Matt Damon’s character explained to his son that all he needed was 20 seconds of insane courage.

My second favorite line is “Why not?” in answer to questions. I loved that because too often when someone asks us a question of why (why you? why now? why try? why dare?), we want to justify our answers with “because…” instead of responding with “why not?”

But let’s get back to the courage. Insane courage.

I think we all have our own stories of those brief moments of insane courage we found deep inside to move ahead. Entreprenuerial life is perhaps a series of moments of insane courage strung together one after another.

Tell me about yours. I’d love to hear about one of those defining moments for you.

Leave your comment and together the comments will become “The Insanely Courageous Guide to Succeeding as an Entreprenuer.”

You get to write this guide.

It’s an Every Day Decision

“Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” -Peter F. Drucker

I love that quote.  It’s true.  Creating a successful business requires a courageous decision.

But after you make that first exciting, courageous decision… you’ve got to keep making the decision every single day to move forward and succeed.

I’ve got a sticky note on my bulletin board that reads:

Decide every day to do what it takes to succeed!!

It’s something you’ve got to keep at.  Successful businesses don’t happen overnight.  They don’t build themselves.  It takes work.  Commitment.

Some days it takes sheer willpower.  Some days you drop one of the balls you’re juggling, and have to pick it back up.  Fall seven times, stand up eight.  Fall 1,000 times, get back up 1,001 and keep fighting.

Take it one day, one decision at a time.  Push through the challenges.  Then we can cheer together on the other side, celebrating the strength we’ve found within.

There is no impossible.  You can achieve what you set your heart and mind to.  So don’t listen to the doubters and the nay sayers.  Don’t listen to the voices that want to hold you back.

Be petrified and say yes anyway.

Go make a courageous decision.

And then do it again tomorrow.

Because it’s worth it.

So what’s your courageous decision for today?

Image Credit: gregepperson/StockFresh

Is Your Courage Hiding?

If your courage seems to be hiding out lately, here’s some inspiration to encourage it!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” ~Ayn Rand

Photo Credit: gregepperson/StockFresh

Weekend Inspiration: What’s Possible?

Some inspirational words and music to inspire you this weekend…

People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret – curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.  ~Walt Disney

The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.  ~Richard M. DeVos

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