We all want to be successful; it’s part of being human. We want to be better at what we do, particularly when it comes to our business; whether that’s increasing revenue, implementing better processes, improving how we hire, or perfecting a skill. Finding success and getting what you want is often attached to making a change or improving in some way.
We start, then we put it down. We put it on our to-do list, and then it sits there. We put in a stack on our desk and assign a due date, and then it sits. Undone. Incomplete. Nagging at the back of our minds, “gosh I really need to …”
I get it. Trying something new can be intimidating. A new habit or a half-finished project can seem too complex and daunting. It’s hard to start when we are uncertain about where to begin, or how to do it right – we fear we’ll fail. Believe me, I’ve battled that demon. It’s tough to have the thing you feel least certain about be the thing you spend your time doing.
This happens to all of us – business owners and employees alike.
Overcome the Fear of Failure
For the longest time, a goal of mine was to write a business book. And for even longer, I put off doing so. Without fully understanding what it took to be good at it, I feared failure. That uncertainty about how and where to begin and “do it right” had me start and stop many times.
Two years ago, I started asking myself what the real reason was I was not getting the book written. The answer came one early summer morning – I was afraid I’d write a book no one would want to read.
Next question … “How can I gain more skills and confidence and eliminate the fear?”
That got me listening to audio courses on book writing, talking with other authors, and asking lots of questions. Questions like: What makes for a good writer? Are they more creative than I am? Are good writers born with a skill set that I’m missing? Are they smarter than me?
What I found is that good writers are seldom born. They learned. They committed They practiced.
Often, our mindset is the biggest obstacle standing in our way. Fear and doubt – the by-products of a change in routine – cause us to overcomplicate the journey we must take to achieve our goals. When things get hard, we often turn around and head for the familiar. Back to the status quo. Better the devil we know, we tell ourselves, than the devil we don’t.
After years of personal experience (writing the book being just one example) and working with different clients, I’ve discovered that getting what you want doesn’t have to be so complicated, so fraught. The path to get there requires effort, yes, but it’s a lot more straightforward than we let ourselves believe. The looming roadblocks are usually manageable bumps.
So, how do you get what you want? How do you do what you claim you want to do without turning tail in the face of doubt, quitting? How do you adjust your mindset so you can reach your goals? Here is what I learned…
- Commit to it. The first step is always choosing. You have to go into it with an “I’m going to do this!” attitude. When you commit, create accountability for yourself by finding someone to hold you accountable to your goals.
What I did: I committed to finishing my book by a set date. Then I asked a few key people who I trusted to ask me about it regularly – specifically ask me what I’d gotten done.
- Acquire skills/knowledge. There’re lots of ways to sharpen the axe. You can take a course on a specific subject; read books; or hire a consultant or a coach. I often see business leaders become embarrassed when they don’t know how to do certain things that they feel they “should know”. You’re not alone, so set the embarrassment aside.
What I did: When I realized I didn’t know how to write a book, I set the embarrassment aside and hired a writing coach. Working with an expert who gave me feedback all along the way, helped me understand the fundamentals of good writing. That increased my confidence level, and eliminated my self-doubt, allowing me to move forward with more ease.
- Dedicate time to it every week (on your calendar). We avoid doing the things we don’t feel comfortable doing. The only way to get around the natural reluctance is to set time on your calendar to do the dreaded task. Sure you’re busy, we all are, but the key to mastering any new skill is persistence and prioritization. If it’s on your calendar as an appointment, it means it’s a priority.
What I did: Every week, I made time on my calendar and designated it to writing. In this dedicated writing time, I turned off my cell phone, closed emails and social media, and just focused on writing. That allowed me to be completely present and focus on creating.
- Practice, practice, practice. The more you do something, the better you’ll get at it. Whether it’s learning how to organize project schedules better, or learning to read your financial reports, make it a habit to keep practicing.
What I did: I’ll be honest. When I first started writing, I was just not that good. Yet, the more I did it, the better I got. Now, I find that it takes much less time to write than it used to, as I’m more confident in how to approach the page.
Over time, showing up and practicing will build your confidence, and make you a better leader, which will result in helping you and your business grow and thrive.
As for me, I finished the book, and it’s currently in design and editing. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have accomplished this goal. The real gift? I now have more confidence to take on other projects that I felt heretofore were too big!
Normally in my blog posts, I like to give you some resource to help you on your path to success and in this case, getting what you want. I think the best thing I can give you is this… Just do it.
Start getting more of what you want by committing, taking on an accountability partner, and allocating time weekly to at least ONE action that will forward your goals. You’re not going to be an expert overnight – so keep at it. Time will pass either way. It’s up to you to choose for yourself.
You can do it!
As always, if you have any questions or comments to add to the topic – please drop a comment below or feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or LinkedIn. I’m happy to help and very interested to hear how others get on with implementing these ideas for themselves.