you! hey! you - we like you - you're great! know yourself - believe in yourself

Others Believe in You

you! hey! you - we like you - you're great! know yourself - believe in yourselfThe past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about what I’m grateful for. Fitting since this week is Thanksgiving for the US.

There are many things to be thankful for and one that’s been on my mind off and on for months is the people who asked me to take on responsibilities that I didn’t think I was capable of. These people saw potential in me that I didn’t recognize. They offered me opportunities that I would have never asked for and for that I am very grateful.

One wish for you dear reader, is that you find yourself surrounded by people who recognize you are extremely capable of things beyond your current belief in yourself. Surrounded by people who encourage you to seek out (or create) those opportunities just beyond your comfort zone.

Occasionally, take a step back and see yourself as they see you. Take strength from that.

If you currently do not that have those people in your life, I encourage you to look for them. Join groups where you can find them and also be that person for someone else.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know that I’m a big fan of quotes. Here are a couple to think about:

Many of our fears are tissue paper thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. – Brendan Francis

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. – Thomas A. Edison

If you need any help finding those people who know you’re capable of great things – let me know by leaving a comment here or emailing me at support [at] OneInsightCloser [dot] com

Two Reasons I Didn’t Set Big Goals

Big dreams. Do you have them? Big goals that might live in the back of your mind that you know you want to accomplish, but have no idea how?

Do they scare you? Excite you? Or even annoy you because they seem unattainable?

One of my mentors told me once “Enough with the baby steps Evie! Make big goals!” Now, that might be a slight paraphrase, but I clearly remember her tone and meaning.

And I remember thinking something to the effect of: “Goals have to be attainable in a set period of time. I can’t guarantee that I’ll successfully meet those big goals. Smaller goals are easier and more comfortable.”

Here’s the kicker, I wasn’t accomplishing those small goals either. I would dip my toes in the water and then decide that it was too cold and somehow expect my goals to magically materialize in front of me. Yeah, they didn’t.

One reason I didn’t set big goals was that I believed the myth that all goals must have a hard date that cannot be moved or adjusted for anything. And I didn’t want to dream about something that I’d be really disappointed that I didn’t accomplish in my specific time frame. It’s better to set reasonable expectations, right? And save yourself that pain of disappointment.

Well, that’s just bull.

Another reason I didn’t set big goals: I had to know every single detailed step I would take to meet that goal. So, any dream I had that I couldn’t do that with couldn’t be a goal – it had to stay a dream, an unattainable one. Again, why create goals you don’t logically know you can accomplish.  It’s better to see the path clearly laid out, right? And save yourself the potential pain of the unknown.

So, is it more painful to try for the dream, try for the big goal and have those failures along the way (but are they failures or course correctors)? Or is it more painful to stay safe and think about those dreams, those “if only’s…” and “what if’s…”?

Here’s what I know now. Big goals, big dreams are important. They drive you and give you something to look forward to. They propel you into action when you might want to sit on the couch and watch TV, surf the web or do something else that eats time, but doesn’t feed you.

And you know what happens when you set goals that feed you? You know that you can accomplish them. It may not be logical, but somehow, you just know it is possible for you.

So, set that big goal. Make it as big and exciting and even as scary as you want. Does your heart swell just thinking about it? Good!

Here are some closing thoughts:

  • Dates can be adjusted. Write it down somewhere each time you do and review it. Look for any patterns and address them as necessary.
  • You don’t have to know every single step that you’ll take on the way to the goal. Having a vague idea can be enough. Just know the next step (or two) that takes you closer to your goal.
  • Be open to the unexpected opportunities. Some opportunities that move you closer to your goal you can’t plan for. That unexpected phone call or meeting that results in an opportunity that you didn’t expect.

So, what’s your big goal? And what’s the next step you can take to move you closer to it?


Are You Ignoring Advice Because You Know How You Work or Because Of Fear?

Have you ever been told you’re doing it wrong? Maybe not in so many words, but the thought was there? Usually, it’s from someone very well meaning who’s trying to say “If you do it this way, the way I did it, it will work better.” Instead of feeling a sense of hope and direction, did you feel like this person just didn’t understand you? Or worse, that maybe there was something wrong with you because their way just didn’t feel right for you?

I’ve had that experience. And then felt a bit like I was my own little island and everyone one else was on a boat yelling directions at me that I just didn’t understand or quickly became frustrated with.

If you relate, then know that you’re not alone.

I’ve been thinking about this off and on for several weeks. Why didn’t I get it? Why did [fill in the blank] come so easily to them and was so difficult for me? Even when someone gave me the steps?

The main problem was I work differently than they do.

I like focusing on one thing at a time. I really immerse myself in it and it can be difficult for me to change focus. Have you ever seen an old fashion juke box with actual records? When you change songs the record spins down, is put away, then the new one is found, put in place and spun up to speed so you can hear the new song. That’s how changing focus feels for me. It can take time for me to switch “songs.”

While other people get bored if they don’t have a lot of variety each day, I prefer to focus on one or two things. One is not better than the other, it’s just different. I know that when I’m planning my week, it’s better for me to group tasks around a particular project together. In the long run it saves me time and frustration.

Here’s where it can get tricky. Sometimes, when someone is offering a piece of advice or an insight from their own life and you tell them that their method is not for you, they might say (again, with the best of intentions) that you’re just afraid or hiding from something or even playing small. This is where it’s important to recognize if they are right.

Remember the story from last week? I had been told by various people that I needed to become comfortable making phone calls. Problem was it scared me. I know people who regularly make anywhere from 25 to 40 (or more!) phone calls each week. Thinking about doing that was intimidating. It was a fear response with a dash of “that is sooo not for me.”

After avoiding it for a while, I realized that I was avoiding making phone calls mostly out of fear. You can see what I did about it in last week’s article. The gist of it is that I created a solution that worked for me and it didn’t look like the solution other’s had suggested in the past.

So, it is one thing to know how you work and it is something completely different to use it as an excuse to play small. Many times those methods can be tweaked to work for you (make 10 phone calls instead of 30).

Trust your gut, or intuition, or whatever you call it. If the advice, task or goal is not right for you move on, but if it’s fear holding you back recognize that and decide how you want to address it. The secret is to know yourself and be willing to step outside your comfort zone in a way that works for you.

Moving Past Fears to Meet Your Goal

I have a huge fear. It feels silly to say it out loud, because I know that as an entrepreneur this fear holds me back. I have a fear of picking up the phone and calling people. This isn’t something that’s new to me. In my previous job, when given the choice between calling someone and sending them an email, I almost always chose the email. And my bosses noticed it.

As an entrepreneur, I know that this fear holds me back. So, I find other things to do. Hoping, or at least telling myself, that I don’t really have to call people. I’ll do this other thing instead and people will call me (I don’t mind that, I actually like that).

It ties in with last week’s post – I was doing what I wanted to do instead of what was challenging. It’s funny how everything kind of ties together.

Anyway, I realized a couple weeks ago that I want and need to overcome this fear. I just had NO idea of how to do it! At some point I remembered that I had this same fear feeling around leaving my house to go to networking events. The mental and physical feeling of dread and fear was almost the same. The difference is that I don’t have that feeling about networking events any more.

So, what did I do to move past the fear of networking? I went out and did it. I left my house at least once a week to go to some kind of networking event. I kept doing it and eventually, without really even noticing it, I didn’t dread it anymore. I actually look forward to it sometimes! I like meeting new people and saying Hi to the people I already know.

Based on that observation I could start calling people and eventually my fear and dread would decrease, right? But what would I talk to them about? This lead to my informal poll, I’ve been calling people over the last couple of weeks asking them some version of “What do you do to make sure that you’re getting the important things in your business done?” I also have a couple follow up questions.

Now I was armed with a reason to call – no reason not to pick up the phone and start dialing, right? Well, I had a lot of networking things I was doing that week and there were these other things that I really wanted to get done. Ok, so I had a lot of excuses and I told my accountability buddy that my goal was to talk to at least 10 people. So, excuses really wouldn’t cut it.

When I have things on my task list that I really don’t want to do, somehow the tasks before it take a much longer than I anticipate and I just run out of time. Do you ever have that problem? So, I scheduled it. I put a two-hour block of time on my calendar. It didn’t matter where I was with my other tasks for the day, during that two hour time period I would be making phone calls.

And you know what I noticed prior to that 2-hour scheduled time? More reasons, well actually excuses, not to do it. For example, the networking event I went to earlier in the day ran longer than I expected. Oh, and I got an email from someone that meant I could spend time doing some work for a committee I’m on. And, well, I could go on and on, but I think you get my drift. Lots of little excuses popped up.

I was committed though and I really wanted to be able to say that I made those phone calls. So, when the scheduled time came, I sat down and started planning to make calls. Umm, yep, you read that right! I started planning how I was going to track the calls and keep track of responses. I caught myself about ten-minutes in and stopped planning and actually started calling people. Oh, and I added ten-minutes to the end time so I did spend a full two-hours making phone calls and I did talk to 10 people (and I left many voicemails).

When I had about 15 minutes left of my two hours I almost stopped. I figured I was close enough, right? I spent 1:45, that’s plenty long right? Well, if I had committed to spending 1:30 to making phone calls, then yes, 1:45 was plenty long. But I didn’t, I committed to spending 2-hours. So, I made a couple more phone calls and met my commitment to myself. Ever notice that sometimes those are the hardest commitments to keep?

So, what lessons have I learned going forward?

  1. Occasionally ask yourself “What am I avoiding?” Be open for the answer, whatever it is. And if you’re working with a coach – let them know that you want to take a look at that question. Your coach probably won’t tell you the answer, but they’ll definitely help you find it.
  2. Commit to your goal. Commitment is about more than just saying you’re committed, it also involves actions that support it.
  3. Schedule a time to do the tasks that you are avoiding. And then sit down and do it!
  4. Know what done looks like for the task. For me initially it was 2-hours. This week it was a specific number of people.
  5. Be aware of excuses that masquerade as reasons.
  6. Be aware of distractions. You might suddenly decide you need to check email, Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever. It’s really just a distraction.
  7. Forgive yourself if don’t complete the task and re-evaluate. Are you really committed to this? What stood in your way? How can you set yourself up for success? And don’t spend time beating yourself up for not completing it. Beating yourself up about it doesn’t’ move you forward, it just takes up time.
  8. Work with a coach. I didn’t do that in this case, but I have in the past. A coach is a great resource for this kind of thing!

Also, know that you’re not the only one. Sometimes a client will preface something with “this will sound silly, but…” and it’s never silly. Often, it’s something that other people struggle with too, but don’t talk about.

PS. A big thank you to my wonderful accountability buddy Suzanne of The Implementation Station for giving me the loving kick in the butt I needed to tackle making phone calls.
PPS. The “results” of my poll will be posted in two weeks.

Excitement and Fear

On Friday I start a three-day training class that will mark the beginning of my training as a life coach.  This is what I’m meant to be doing right now, but I get really scared about the changes I’m making as often as I get really excited about it.

What is it about these big changes that makes us excited and scared at the same time?  I think it’s because we’re leaving our comfort zone and going into something we can’t exactly know what to expect.  Part of us wants to put the brakes on and comes up with lots of excuses.  I remember having the scared feeling especially strongly when I was 18 and driving to my first class at my community college.  I was no longer going to be in the familiar company of the kids I went to my small high school with, many who I’d known since grade school.  I made it through that day and the next two years at that college and I met friends that I still get together with now.

This experience and others have taught me that the things I’m most excited and scared about are also the most rewarding.  I keep telling myself that when I get really scared about being trained as a life coach and the changes I plan on making to my life as a result.  When I get really excited about the changes that are coming I really allow myself to feel the excitement (and remember that excitement when I’m having a scared moment!).

I’d like to say that we shouldn’t be scared of change, but being scared is part of the growing process.  Instead, don’t let the part of you that’s scared define you or your choices.  Acknowledge that you’re scared and identify exactly what it is you’re scared about, for me it’s failure.  Work through that fear and if you need help doing that, then get help. Don’t let the fear stop you from making the right decisions for yourself.