Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How Fear of Making a Mistake Limits Your Success

If you are thinking about leaving your job, starting a business, or expanding your business, I'll just bet you may be experiencing some fear of making a mistake.

For instance, have you ever experienced this?

You have an idea - a good idea that you're excited about. Then maybe you think: "I could turn this idea into a book - and then into DVD's or maybe even a multi-media project.  Maybe I could add graphics and special effects. Wait!! I don't know how to do any of that.  I don't even know if there is a market for this, and I don't know how to find out. Probably no one wants it anyway. What am I thinking!!

This all happened in a split second.  And now you're feeling stuck because you've run out of ideas. And, you are terrified to make a decision for fear it will be the wrong one, and, you feel awful about yourself because you can't seem to make any progress.

This "fear of making a mistake pattern" is "perfectionism at work."  Perfectionism is an addiction to lack.  That's why perfectionists struggle to succeed.  The perfectionist only sees what isn't there, what they don't know, what the problems are. They will argue for their limitations. They will explore all the possibilities for making mistakes. Their lives and businesses are filled with "Not Enough".....not enough confidence, decision-making, and risk taking resulting in not enough clients, support, staff, and income. You may even think: "Why can't I get it  right!"

Now, we all have moments of feeling inadequate.  This "not enough" comes from fear, uncertainty, insecurity, and terror of making decisions in case they're wrong, and we learned it early on in childhood no matter how stellar our parents may have been.  Many of us may not have had anything close to the ideal upbringing, and we are still viewing our lives and work through those younger eyes.

I have certainly experienced this for myself, and realized at one point, I was trying to run a grown up business with a 5 year old emotional body.

So here are a few tips to break the cycle:                                                     

     Recognize you are afraid, but understand it is NOT the smart, savvy, experienced adult person you are, but a very scared 5 year old.  (Yes, you do have a very adult side to you.)  But, treat yourself with gentleness and respect just like you would any young child. If you are critical, that part of you will shut down even more, and your business can really stall. Like it or not, the child in all of us runs our world, so be kind.

      Lower your expectations.  Keep it light.  Experiment often. One of my favorite quotes is from a former coach of mine:   Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.  She also told me that if I wanted to be successful there is no room for perfectionism. I have found that to be sage advice.

      The More Mistakes, the More Success.  Mistakes are just experiments that didn't turn out as expected. Major industries have evolved from big mistakes. In 1970 Spencer Silver at 3M was told to make a strong glue, but it was a tragic failure because he only produced this slightly sticky substance, which is now known as Post-It Notes, 3M's most successful product.

Ruth Wakefield, proprietor of the Toll House Inn, was having trouble with her cookies and added some broken pieces of chocolate that, to her surprise, never melted properly in the batter. Voila!  The chocolate chip cookie was born and was named after her inn and is still the most popular cookie in the world providing jobs to thousands of workers.  You get the idea.  The list of success from mistakes is very long.

    Take it Slow.  If you have a great idea, or any idea, get support from other people so you don't race into the "What- made- me- think- I- could-do- this- so- it's- over" mode. Run it past trusted advisors, a coach or mastermind group so they can help you break it down into pieces and talk you off the ledge. You need support and soothing, and most of us just can't do it for ourselves. 

     Any Action Creates Momentum.  Just keep focused on what you want and take tiny steps. You don't have to do everything overnight. Actually the big approach usually slows us down because we get scared. With smaller steps, you can easily self-correct.  You're less likely to make big errors, but action, ANY action creates momentum. It doesn't have to be big or bold; just consistent.

And, one day, you'll realize you have achieved a goal, and it was so imperfect and non-stressful that you will actually wonder how it happened!!  Here's to achieving your success and enjoying all its imperfections!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

GOT A BIG DILEMMA? GO SMALL…. by Mary Lyn Miller

Have you had the experience of not knowing what to do next, so you just try to do a whole bunch of stuff, hoping against hope something is going to work? 

You read articles, watch videos, listen to teleclasses looking for the BIG IDEA that will make the big difference. 

You are smart and trying your best, working hard, and very busy, but you're not getting the results you want - and you feel frustrated. 

You start feeling like you're not good enough, that you're failing, and that's a dangerous path.  You may lose faith you can get what you want!

Yes, it happens to almost everyone, so it if it's happening to you, you are not alone.

One of the problems is that while we seek the BIG IDEA, it doesn’t really work.  I have talked about how your brain is not wired for big change - no matter how much YOU want it!  Your ego craves a "big breakthrough," but your brain isn't all that interested!  It wants it small otherwise it is simply too frightening .and you will begin to resist immediately.

Where do you begin?
The last thing you need to do - even though you think it’s what you are supposed to do - is TRY harder.  In fact, you need to STOP "trying," relax, and use some different tools. 

Here are some simple tools that can help:

·         Write down everything that’s on your mind on your IPad, computer or a plain old yellow pad (my tool of choice.)

·         Don’t segment personal and professional life initially; just write stream of consciousness!

·         Start to see what the patterns are and categorize by what is critical and what can wait for a short period, and what needs way more info to pursue.

·         Get feedback from a trusted associate, coach or advisor. You need to know what’s on your mind, but you need additional minds to see new perspectives. As Einstein said, “You cannot solve your problems with the same mind that created them.” solve big problems!

·         Get an accountability partner or mastermind team.  Progress seems to require that you have to check in…somewhere.  We don’t do well left to our own devices.

·         Commit to the smallest possible step.  (No, not large ones.) Small steps are life changing. Save your poor brain from being overwhelmed.

Let me know what steps work best for you and how going small can solve big problems!