Sunday, October 4, 2009

Overcoming Fear of Success

Are you drowning in invitations to dramatically increase your income, create a bigger plan, or achieve astronomical goals? I recently received an e-mail asking if I was “tired of taking small steps instead of making quantum leaps.” They said that if I was ready to take a quantum leap, I could join a 3 day program, and leap away with them.

I'm not ready, thank you, and the truth is most of us are terrified at a quantum leap. Did you know that the brain is designed so that any new challenge or opportunity – no matter how beneficial – will trigger some degree of fear? The bigger the challenge, the greater the fear. The idea that we can avoid fear in the face of success is pretty much impossible.

Once the fear response gets triggered, we unconsciously make excuses to resist any change and stay where we are. We say things to ourselves like “I’m too busy to deal with changing any behaviors right now,” “I don’t have the time to learn how to do new things,” and my personal favorite, “I don’t have the money to invest in myself today – I’ll do I it later when I have more money.” (Of course, that probably won’t happen until you change some things.)

This is why we find ourselves with big ideas yet resistant to implementation.

When our fear is triggered, we may experience one or more of these success-blocking behaviors: (1) lack of focus, (2) difficulty implementing ideas (3) perfectionism and (4) procrastination.

So, when you find yourself experiencing some of this beahavior, what can you do about it? I can’t tell you how to not be fearful – if you’re on the path to success, you’re going to experience it. (Give up, you’re nervous.). But I can tell you what really works…

Take extremely small steps. Consistently. Over an extended period of time.

It’s magic.

According to one of my former teachers, Dr. Robert Maurer, author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life, and psychological researcher at UCLA, “small, easily achievable goals – such as picking up just one paper clip on a chronically messy desk – let you tiptoe past the amygdala (fear center), keeping it asleep without setting off alarm bells.” He explains that while you take these small steps you are actually reprogramming the new nerve pathways for your desired change so that it happens almost without you realizing it.

Our Fired Up Mastermind Network™ system is built around this very principle so we get to see it in action all the time. We see successes created around amazingly small steps as a matter of course.

Recently Donna in our “Nooner” Mastermind team, has been transitioning from graphic arts into a voice-over career, but she also wanted to leverage her creativity to open another stream of income. “I can’t even imagine what that would be. I used to sew, but I have no idea what I could do with that. It’s overwhelming.”

The step was simple. Visit a fabric store. Let go of what she needed to do with it. Indeed, she went with her sister on an outing and loved it. “There’s something that happened inside of me at that store. I got in touch with my love of sewing. Now the ideas and opportunities are just coming effortlessly. I am so excited.”

Donna’s new ideas that may be up and running far more quickly than she would have ever imagined, but her new ventures did not come from the search for a quantum leap, but rather a focus on the smallest possible step.

If you want real magic to live a life you truly love, start small…….and keep it that way for a long time.

(If you're ready to go really small, try our Fired Up Mastermind Network™.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Entrepreneurs: Still Doing It Last Year's Way?

I recently celebrated an anniversary with a friend and I asked if she wanted to go back to a place we had been to before. Surprisingly, she replied emphatically, "Oh, not at all. We've already been there. Let's go someplace that doesn't represent where we've been, but where we're going."

How often, I thought, have I chosen to go back to the same place because I am familiar with it? The process of choosing a new meeting place with my friend became a larger metaphor for life.
What represents the future to you? This is a very different question from “What worked before?” After all, in this new economy, almost nothing works like it did before. We are forced to give up a lot of old ideas and fill in with something very different and new. What is that for you?

A client came to me because her thriving business was connected to real estate and her income had plummeted. We had to step back and go beyond how it was before and create whole new strategy and vision for her business based on her talents and what people need NOW. She had to adjust, let go, and commit to a new path. It was unfamiliar, but turned out to be much more profitable. She got the clarity and support she needed to create an entirely new approach to her life and work. I believe that is what makes the difference.

We cannot do it like we did before on a myriad of levels. What went before is over. It’s not going to “go back.” There isn’t going to be a “do-over.” The real issue is “What are you going to do NOW!” Your clients, bosses and colleagues have new needs; how are you going to use your passion and talents to meet these needs? Therein lay the seed to your success. These are the questions we all need to ask ourselves at various junctures in our life, no matter what the economy.

One of the old ideas is that you can do it on your own. That rugged individualistic ethic came over with the pilgrims who, by the way, did nothing alone. They were entirely a community based society. Community works because you need ideas that are not yours! I know my mind automatically takes me back to "where I've already been." It's trained to do that. Without new input, I only know how to do old things. (That’s one of the many reasons why our Mastermind community ( work so well.) Community gives you resources and feedback you would never have on your own.

The formula is this: Your talent and passion + meeting real (or perceived) needs + a strong support system for regular feedback and resources = success. If you want to experience something more promising, more profitable and new, you have to DO something new.

When I thought about what my friend had said, I did some soul searching and then asked for feedback. It made me realize I want to go in the direction of more laughter, fun and freedom, along with some risk and adventure…and maybe some just plain childhood fantasy.
So where did I go with my friend? Disneyland!

What are you doing to let go of the old way of doing things which may actually be hurting you, your career and your business and re-engineer yourself to meet today’s needs? If you want a fresh strategy, read more at

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


by Mary Lyn Miller

I have wonderful, creative, innovative, interesting clients and students.

In my experience you do NOT lack ideas. In fact, the problem seems to be TOO many ideas and possibilities, all leading in somewhat different directions. Then, there’s the dilemma of WHICH idea to pursue – and if you choose one, doesn’t it leave all the other ones out? But, what if the other ones are great ideas too?

So, you ponder and hesitate and months later NONE of the ideas are implemented. Then, there’s that horrible moment when you discover SOMEONE ELSE has taken one of YOUR great ideas and done something very successful with it.

Yes, it HAS happened to me as well. So, if you have ever thought like this, you can see it does not work. Here’s some tips that may help you get up and running.


Keep them in a central place: a notebook, bulletin board, I-Phone or computer. This gets everything out of your head so you can clear a space for creativity, and, as you do this, you begin to realize that many of your ideas are just fragments of a larger vision, and that when you look at them over a period of time, a bigger vision may emerge. There are probably connections that are not possible to see while still floating around in your head. Some clients see consistent themes, and a timeline may become more obvious. I have become aware that I have the SAME idea over and over which takes up mental and emotional space, and when I write it down, it simply relieves me of enormous mental gymnastics.


We wrestle with choosing the right idea, but here is a shocking fact: there is no one “right idea.” Every idea you have is connected to some inner yearning. Your ideas and dreams are not whole pieces, rather they are connected to each other like an invisible chain. As you begin to move on any part, the rest begin to follow. Like a chain, move one link, and the whole chain begins to move. Just do something and your chain will begin to move.


Again, when you gain momentum on one link of the chain, it affects the whole chain. But, the key is focus. Whether you’re writing an article (like me right now), or planning an event, or working with a client, or creating a new business plan, do it fully with no distractions. (Well, I am drinking carrot juice.) It’s about being present. Multi-tasking does NOT work (see below) and actually makes us feel perpetually empty and unfulfilled. We find that our Master Mind teams create the environment for our members to take the space and become present to what they REALLY need to focus on so they can do one thing at a time and see where it fits into their larger vision.


Our lives tend to be filled with starts and stops. We leave things hanging. Practicing completion means you do one thing until there is a natural stopping point. You can then savor the completion and job well done, and move on to the next task. When you multi-task, it usually requires different spheres of your brain, which is not only confusing, but makes you less effective at everything. When you do complete one task, there is no cause to celebrate because there are always others left undone. It’s never over, never completed, never enough. We take those feelings into every part of our lives.


After 20+ years of coaching, I know accountability is the key to success. It’s not big news. Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and few other major players were in the same Master Mind group decades ago. Carnegie believed it was a critical tool to extraordinary success. I do too.

That’s why I’ve created the Fired Up for Success™ Mastermind Network. You need to be reporting in regularly, and for other people to be tracking your progress. You need to be accountable for taking small, but consistent steps and to celebrate your completions. Not looking bad in front of others is a huge motivator for most of us. As solo entrepreneurs or home based businesses (or aspiring to be) your progress will escalate dramatically when you’re involved with a Master Mind team.

What if you had a variety of teams and times to choose from? What if you had extraordinarily successful and well trained facilitators: authors, coaches, and award winning trainers? What if it was all on the phone so you could be anywhere and participate? That’s what this is about.

If you’ll be in the L.A. area at the end of June, we’d love to have you joins us for our Fired Up for Success Mega Masterminding and Networking Workshop and Luncheon.

It will generate even more ideas –and get you focused! (Just in case YOU’RE going in too many directions!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Entrepreneurs: Get Focused with a Mastermind

What’s the #1 challenge most entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants face today?

Focus. As an experienced coach for the past 20 years,
“staying focused” has been the top concern of literally thousands of my clients.

We are constantly distracted. We have responsibilities to our children, friends, spouses, aging parents, and school and on and on – and we aren’t even at work yet.

Once at our business, the “To Do” List is endless. The “Information Age” has become the “Over-Information Age.” Data, ideas and demands stream in from everywhere: the phone, e-mail, text messaging, Facebook and Twitter. As is if that isn’t enough, cell phones make us totally accessible. We can be found give us MORE.

Then add the confusing landscape for entrepreneurs to marketing their services. Should we be active in the community, speaking, writing articles, branding ourselves, fixing our website (oh, wait do I have that yet?), or get a better social networking strategy? How can we get the time to do all this?

Yikes! There seems no escape. What’s the answer?

A Mastermind group becomes critical whether you are a new or experienced entrepreneur. You need to have a place to show up for up for yourself regularly. It’s not just going to happen on your own. As mentioned, there are just too many distractions.

Mastermind groups are not just to build business, but to build our lives. They offer the opportunity to regularly sort through our options, take a balanced look and make proactive, rather than reactive decisions. For a mere 3-4 hours a month, we save ourselves weeks and months of being frustrated, fragmented and stuck. In my groups, members do get stuck, but they rarely remain there. When you take the time for additional input, brainstorming, and support, you will discover your life and business decisions netting you much greater reward and profit in a much shorter period of time.

I don’t know about you, but especially as an entrepreneur, I need structure. I chose not to have to show up for a boss a long time ago, but, in the process I have discovered I don’t always show up for myself.

Want focus? Try a Mastermind group!

Want to to know more about Mastermind groups?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Personal Growth & The "O" Word: "Overwhelm."

Have you ever said "I'm so overwhelmed!" I used to say it a lot, and I am sure it was utterly justified, however, this is what I have learned about talking about it:

It actually makes it worse.

One day I was talking to a dear friend about the state of my very justifiable overwhelm, and then I OUTLINED in great detail all the many lists of things I had to do. I have to tell you, afterwards, I just felt depressed. It certainly didn't inspire me to get to what I needed to do. I just wanted to go to sleep. Talk about NOT being fired up!

No question overwhelm is a major energy drainer. But I previously viewed feeling overwhelmed as a time management issue (and some of it is) but I was startled, when she said to me, “Oh, please stop giving me the litany.” Litany? “The long list,” she responded. “If you stopped doing that, you’d feel a lot better, and get more done.”

What! How insensitive of her! Then I thought, "I have been teaching for years that what you focus on expands. Whatever you give your attention to invites it in." Hmmm....that means the more energy you give to being overwhelmed, ..well, the more overwhelming everything becomes!

I began to realize this was beyond Time Management - it was Self Management. I had to start by eliminating talking about my frustrations all the time, giving my problems all this energy and attention.

Since every month of my Mastermind Network is devoted to a specific topic, this was this month's subject. One group made a membership vow to eradicate the word “Overwhelm” from their vocabulary! It has proved to be more challenging than they thought.

What can we say instead? Here are some thoughts:
“I have some challenges.”
“I need to prioritize where to take immediate action.”
“I am making choices.”

In other words, shifts from being a victim of “too much to do,” to being pro-active, prioritizing, and making decisions about what works for you. That’s much more empowering!
Of course, this really is a deeper issue. Overwhelm is also a control issue, but that’s for another day.

Let me hear YOUR experiences with the "O" word!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

4 Positive Results of the Economy

I know you are familiar with all the negative aspects of our economy today. After over 20 years working with clients in transition, I am very familiar with the process, and realize the entire world is in a classic transition process!

Every transition process begins with something going wrong, (as it most certainly has), and the transition piece is where we begin the renewal process. It is scary, exciting, and uncertain – a fair review of our situation today. But, this major shift is offering some interesting positive results and new opportunities:

1) IMPOSED RE-EVALUATION: Certainly as a nation and planet we are re-evaluating everything from our policies and foreign relations to economic structures. Similarly, as individuals, most of us are re-evaluating our choices including core values, work, family and how we have spent our money. For many it’s long overdue. We’re finally forced to finally release jobs that bored us, work that doesn’t fulfill. This is a positive result. One of my clients made a comment awhile ago about her experience as a result of 9/11: “If it weren’t for 9/11, I wouldn’t have lost my job. But it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to re-evaluate my life, make a career change and start my own business. Today I love my life! Without that kind of crisis, I may have gone along in that old life a long, long time, letting it just sap the life out of me.”

2) RENEWED FAITH: The last few months have seen a dramatic increase in church attendance. People are being driven back to their spiritual roots or seeking new outlets. Many of us feel moved connect with a Higher Power. It is said that we are always making the choice between fear and faith, and that whichever one we choose, cancels out the other. Faith and an uplifted heart will outperform just about any business building tactic. Sandy Gooch, founder of “Mrs. Gooch’s” which has since become Whole Foods Market here in Southern California commented that she would have failed if she knew that a mother of small children with no marketing or business background couldn’t build the empire she did. Her faith came first and created her success against all odds. If you’re focused on increasing your energy and relying on higher laws to create your results, you can accomplish anything.

3) RE-CONNECTION TO COMMUNITY: The uncertainty has led to a marked increase in people seeking comfort and community. Job seekers are filling hotel meeting rooms and bars, banding together to help and support one another. Networking is suddenly a vital skill. Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In are all thriving. People are reconnecting with old college roommates, former schoolmates and lost loves. It’s great! We are all one and there is comfort in being together as never before. In January 2009 I started Fired Up for Success Mastermind Network and it is steadily growing because people not only want to connect, but more than ever need to keep focused and their energy fired up so that they can attract what they need for the next step. This trend of connecting to community is contributing to making the world a better place to live.

4) CREATIVITY AND RE-INVENTION ABOUND: “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” In my book, “The 8 Myths of Making a Living,” I talk about my dad who was a young man in the Depression and saw that period as a time of “opportunity.” He invested heavily in stocks – which were really cheap! The result was he became a wealthy man and taught me that all economies offer opportunity! He taught me to be an “opportunity seeker,” no matter what is going on.

I have clients coming to me saying, “What I did to market myself or make a living a year ago – or 6 months ago –is not longer working! Now what do I do?” Take heart: There is plenty of opportunity; it’s just being re-tooled.

There are more creative ideas than ever. Once you have re-evaluated what you really want, gotten support to keep your spirits “fired up,” and have community, you can create just about anything. That’s the good new for today’s economy!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Career Strategy: Never Need a Full Time Job Again

If there ever was a time to begin re-thinking your career and work life it is NOW. No longer is just getting another job going to be a lasting strategy.

Everyone of us is going to need a whole new relationship with our concepts of career, work, and livlihood. No longer can our work be defined by the confines of a job. In fact, it can't be. The "job" as a form of livlihood is becoming a relic. As William Bridges, author and visionary commented,"Looking for jobs is like looking for deck chairs on the Titanic."

If not a job, what then? If you start a business how long will it take for you to make money? What do you do while you're building the business? What if you don't want a business of your own? How could you balance everything? Where are resources and support? Aren't these great questions? Yep, and these are the things we talk about, and that EVERYONE needs to think about today.

No matter what you're doing, it's important to redefine how you think about your work and your life.

It's important to explore your core values and passions. **

You've GOT to find a way to GET EXCITED. That's what is going to propel you. It's hard to do that alone sitting in your living room.

If you're not local, just keep reading this blog, because I'm going to talk about this stuff a lot. Trust me, you won't be able to stop me.

Meanwhile, I want you to think about what would you do with you if you never had a full time job again!

**If you want to quickly understand your natural gifts, talents and passions and turn them into profitable, fufilling strategies, go to my Special Offer for my Jump Start Clarity session at

Welcome to My Blog - Moving Beyond My Comfort Zone Now!

You know that feeling you get when you're doing something outside of your comfort zone?

That's me right now. I've never done a blog before. So I want to welcome you to this place where I will share my successes, my fears, and the tools I have employed over the past 20 years for both myself and many, many others facing transition and challenges in their careers, businesses and lives.

I'm all about becoming Fired Up...embracing the energy of success and prosperity. Passion and fire are the most powerful forces in the Universe and are the creative source of all things.
We'll explore where your fire comes from, how to nurture and ignite it, and how to keep the flame from burning out.

Beyond self discovery and positive thinking, there is action. I believe that success requires us all to stretch beyond our comfort zones regularly. My guideline is that you need to be working "about 1 inch outside of the comfort zone." That means taking calculated, consistent small risks.

If you're feeling blocked or stuck, or bored, you're probably not taking enough risk. You're trying to stay safe. That's why one of the tools I believe in is Masterminding. The way we employ it in my coaching is really a combination of group coaching and networking. It helps to keep you focused on working very small and consistently - and to become accountable for those small actions. Whatever ways work for you, set small goals, take them regularly and become accountable to someone.

Oh, by the way, that's how this got done. My dear friend Rita helped me set this up, and then gently sent e-mails and hounded me on Facebook until I did this. My fondest wish for you is that you find a good "hounder"in your life. More later....