Friendly Fearbashers

If you quake at the thought of going out on your own and setting up shop, here are some fearbashers that can reroute you back to the road to success.

Do temporary work. March into a temporary help agency and get signed up for a short-term project. When you get an assignment, don’t think of this primarily as a way to earn money. Use this project to do some homework. No matter what business you are sent to work in, observe what goes on in a detached and analytical manner.

I’m willing to guess that you’ll quickly discover that all sorts of mistakes and mishaps (and even stupid decisions) will be part of every day. Now notice that despite this lack of perfection, the business manages to stay afloat. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get an assignment on a ship of fools who are oblivious to their own goofiness. You don’t have to be arrogant about it; just notice that every business has huge margins for error and it doesn’t bring them crashing to their knees. You can certainly do better than that, can’t you? So get out there and do it.

Observe a successful immigrant entrepreneur. A high percentage of people who come here from other parts of the world start their own businesses. Imagine how much harder that would be in a strange culture where you may not speak the language. Yet, many of these newcomers have such a desire to build something of their own, a desire that they couldn’t fulfill in their homeland, that the obstacles melt in the face of that determination. We look like wimps next to the hardworking and committed business owners who have been drawn to this land of opportunity. Let them inspire you.

Fail on purpose. Young children aren’t judgmental when it comes to trying new things. As we get older, many of us avoid any situation where we might not be brilliant. As a result, our world shrinks down to a short list of acceptable activities. That is not the road to personal growth. If you are terrified at the thought of failing, make a list of all the things that you are an utter klutz at doing. Then do something on your list as frequently as possible. At the very least, you may amuse your friends when you throw three gutter balls in a row. At the other end of this temporary humiliation is all the power you’ll gain by surviving a minor failure.

Develop a big roar. Next time you’re driving in your car, pretend you’re the Lion King. It worked in the Wizard of Oz and it will work for you, too. No kidding.

Make Nathan Lane your patron saint. A few years back, the wildly talented Lane starred in his own television series, which was downright awful. It was so terrible, in fact, that it only ran for a few painful episodes. Had it been even mildly successful, Lane would have continued taping the series instead of wowing audiences in The Producers, the biggest hit Broadway’s seen in years. If you try something that turns out badly, think of it as your own failed series — and celebrate the end of your contract.

Imagine your success. I am convinced that most people fail to go after their dreams or leave their comfort zones because they haven’t taken the time to really think about what rewards their ultimate success would bring them. When you are focused on the rewards that will inevitably come, setbacks and disappointments are easier to handle. Often, in truth, what looks like a setback is just a resetting of the course and may, in the long run, make the journey sweeter. That’s why it’s so important to be willing to defer short-lived gratification in order to have something grander in the future. But first you must envision it and sell yourself on that new and better life you foresee. After all, courage is not the absence of fear but, rather, the determination to act because the rewards are worth it.

There’s more where this came from.
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