Yes, I’ll admit that this isn’t an original title. In fact, it’s taken from one of my favorite books of the same name by Susan Jeffers. It’s amazing how people react to fear. Fear causes some to play ostrich and hide their heads to avoid what’s in front of them. Fear acts as a catalyst to others, and propels them into action. Fear causes a third set to be totally immobilized and unable to do anything at all.
One of the most common concerns I hear from clients is their inability to live the life that they truly want–a life that enables them to make a living, have meaningful connections with others, and nourishes their souls. When I ask them what’s preventing them from creating that for themselves, the response I most often hear is one that is fear-based: "I can’t do that — I have a mortgage to pay." "What will my wife/husband/family think?" "I’ll have time to do that after I retire." Any of these sound familiar?
Around 10 years ago or so, when I was starting to do some career-transition exploration, I stumbled across a company, Changing Course, www.changingcourse.com, run by Valerie Young. On her site, Valerie tells her story of how she came to quit her job and found her life when her mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 61, five months before her much-awaited retirement and before she could do all the things she planned to do after retiring. Bam! This story hit me squarely between the eyes!
At that time I had been stuck in a job that I was growing to hate, and daily wondered, "Is this all there is? Is this the life that I was so eagerly anticipating after college?" I was only about 32 at the time and was already going though a mid-life crisis. I kept wondering what was wrong with me–weren’t people supposed to wait at least until 40 before going through this? I was beginning to think I was completely insane.
I remember having countless conversations with my now ex-husband about this issue and about what each of us wanted from life, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that he was happy to settle for whatever life doled out to him. I, on the other hand, am pretty driven and wanted to take the bull by the horns and see where it would take me. I likened it to him sitting on the porch watching a parade as it went by, while I was out in the parade. And, moreover, I didn’t want to wait until our retirement, as he suggested, to start living a life the way I really wanted it, as I might not live long enough for that to happen, like Valerie’s mom. It was like talking to a brick wall–he just didn’t get it.
Now, here I am 10 years later, not quite where I want to be, but much closer than if I’d stayed on the path I was on at age 32. What changed for me? I simply decided I wasn’t going to be scared anymore. Not of what my husband thought, not of what my co-workers thought, not of what my family thought. I’ve always been something of a risk-taker in my family, doing things none of them had ever done nor even understood. However, I’ve never viewed the risks as fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants risks, but rather as strategic risks. There was always a plan in place, but at times it was probably only obvious to me.
So, what did I do? I decided I wanted to be nearer my family, convinced my ex we wanted to relocate to Texas, decided to enroll in a virtual assistant training program and completed it, quit my unfullfilling job, took a temp position until I could get the business going and until we made the move, discovered my ex didn’t really want to relocate, decided my marriage wasn’t working, filed for divorce, put the house up for sale, secured a place to live with my mom back in the bedroom in her house where I grew up, packed my belongings for a cross-country move, held a major moving sale, moved halfway across the country, and started a business out of my mom’s garage. And people make fun of me when I won’t get on a roller coaster–I think that’s easy compared to a life transition of this magnitude!
I don’t advocate that any of you face your fears quite to this degree…well, at least not without a parachute and lots of padding. However, each of us faces fears every day, especially if you own or manage a business. "How will I pay the bills this month?" "What if that person doesn’t hire me?" "I don’t want to make sales call." "Do I have to do business with this jerk?" I would bet that whatever it is that you fear the most is the one thing standing in your way of what you really want. Don’t let fear rule your life–let your fear motivate you to get to that next level in your life, business, or career.
Realize that the fear never completely goes away–it has this nasty habit of creeping up on you when you least expect it. I currently hear it rustling in the background in regard to a new opportunity for expansion that I’m considering. I’m telling my fear, "Thanks for visiting, but you’ve overstayed your welcome." Kick your fears to the curb an start living your life your way on your own terms before it’s too late!
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.