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™.)