Archives – May, 2010
Last week, in the discussion of Conquering Fear, I briefly introduced the concept of FUD—fear, uncertainty and doubt—and how it can freeze you in your tracks if you’re not careful. This week, as part two of Overcoming Obstacles to Your Professional Destiny, we’ll talk about uncertainty and doubt. They are a bit more insidious, but can be equally paralyzing. FUD is natural whenever you endeavor to do something different—especially when it’s a big step. Yet while it may be natural, it’s not particularly helpful… so let’s expose it here for what it is and weed it out!
The first four letters of the word “doubt” are also the root of the word “double” and it means believing in two things simultaneously. Meaning, you may believe in your success, but you also believe in your failure at the same time. This, in effect, cancels out or lessens your power (depending on the level of doubt). You’re become like a boat tossing in the waves, bobbing back and forth.
If something is not happening in your life that you want (new job, new relationship, success in your business, whatever) check to see how much doubt you are carrying. Then do your best to throw it overboard.
Uncertainty can also be a “success delayer.” It can keep you hemming and hawing—but, on the flip side if managed correctly, it can also open your eyes to new possibility. That is the way to harness it.
The following is some wisdom from Professional Destiny:
“Finding and living our purpose isn’t easy, and sometimes we just don’t want to deal with what is facing us. It seems too big. Or, we believe we will face a hard time in the unknown, so we just tune everything out and hope things will get better. The unknown is uncomfortable and no matter how unfulfilled we are feeling in our current situation, we’d rather stay in a situation we know instead of venture out. There is a great fear in moving from our familiar life, even if it is unsatisfying. We get to the point where we know ‘this is what I am not,’ but we don’t yet know what we ‘are.’ We say to ourselves, ‘This is what I don’t want, but I don’t really know what I do want.’ In other words, we know our current situation isn’t working for us, but we don’t know what our new situation will be or what it will look like. We are ‘in between’ and for most of us it’s a very uncomfortable place to be.”
But there is a completely different way to look at it. When we are uncertain, we are more open. Many possibilities are available to us—and we are more apt to pay attention to the “maybes.” A maybe could be our golden opportunity, but in the past we might have charged along, not even noticing it. Instead, we stayed narrowly focused in our comfort zone and missed the budding possibility.
Uncertainty is actually our time of greatest opportunity. So get comfortable with it and embrace it. If we hold our vision and resolve to take a step toward it each day, we can be assured that great uncertainty only lasts for a while. This too shall pass.
May 19, 2010
If you want to discover the career you were born for, one of the greatest challenges you’ll face is overcoming the obstacles that tempt you to stay complacent. In my book, Professional Destiny, I dedicate a chapter to “Obstacles and Tests” because there are several nasty forces that threaten to throw you off course if you’re not diligent. The biggies are: Fear, Uncertainty, Comfort and Complacency, Limitation and Habit, and Counter Intentions.
This week’s topic is fear and the following is an excerpt from Professional Destiny about how to move through it:
“In any undertaking of substance, we cannot expect ourselves to be fearless—we all have fear. The secret is to be courageous and not let our fear win over. Having courage is not the absence of fear but the drive and the strength to keep going in spite of it. Our desire and our vision must always be larger…
Since we were young, we have been taught to live in fear. Fear of ‘not enough’ and survival of the fittest.
Nothing stands between us and our highest purpose and the true desire of our heart, as much as doubt and fear. FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. It is our greatest enemy. Most often the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. Fear of failure, fear of scarcity or ‘not enough,’ fear of sickness, fear of loss, fear of humiliation—all stop us from moving forward. We must substitute faith for fear. If you think about it, fear is really faith in the negative. It is faith in failure instead of faith in success.
Years ago, early in my marketing career, my peers and I used to pride ourselves in spreading FUD—fear, uncertainty and doubt—about our competition. We looked at it as a fundamental business game and took great relish in mastering it. FUD also stands in the way of achieving your purpose, and your mind is a master at it. It is the single greatest obstacle to accomplishing your purpose because it is insidious and can show up at every step of the way. The larger your purpose, the larger your fear, uncertainty and doubt will present itself. Expect this. Anytime you do something big, you can expect big challenges. They go hand in hand. Some fear is good, it can keep you safe, but the majority of fear only holds you back. Once you take a stand and commit to your vision, the fear that weighs you down will dissipate and you will make faster progress toward your goal. Anytime you experience new fear, it is a sign that you need to re-commit to your vision and re-commit to action. Make forward movement and the fear will take care of itself.
The question to ask yourself is, ‘what would you do if you weren’t afraid?’”
That’s some pretty powerful food for thought. Stay tuned for future installments covering the sister topics of overcoming Uncertainty, Comfort and Complacency, Limitation and Habit, and Counter Intentions.
May 12, 2010
A few weeks ago in my blog post about How It Starts, I promised a summary of the five key steps to following your Professional Destiny. In between then and now, I admit to being diverted by that fantastic Elizabeth Gilbert talk about overcoming fear and the timeliness of the Graduation message. But, here we are… better late than never… with a discussion of the five things you need to do when making a significant change.
- Get clear—Go within and remember what your unique talents and interests are. Your Professional Destiny is something that you are good at and love to do. Fill out the three-column exercise included in my book (Love to Do, Naturally Good At, Loathe to Do) and draw the parallels. Then set your vision and develop three to five simple, but powerful commitments.
- Do something toward your goal every day, even if you can’t see the whole picture—Write a “to do” list each morning and include a least one thing that will help you move in the direction you want. Even if you can’t make a full transition right away, push yourself to make a little bit of progress toward your interests, even if it’s only for 30 minutes each day. If you don’t see where it all leads right now, that’s okay, just take the first step and new possibilities will open up. The next step will be revealed.
- Actively weed out self-doubt—We all have a fear of failure, but refuse to give it power. When you find yourself thinking sabotaging thoughts, notice them and change your thinking—quickly! The journey can be unfamiliar and challenging, so be sure to have a support system in place. Many people will express their fears for you… to you. When they do, shake it off, avoid the naysayers and seek out the support of friends and coaches instead.
- Show up and have discipline—Show up at least five days a week and put some time in toward the interests you’ve identified in step one. Having discipline means that if you need to make three calls a day, and don’t really want to, you make the three calls anyway. Discipline also means prioritizing and trimming down to the essentials to fund your dream. For more information on this, see The Freedom Plan.
- Enjoy the journey—Go full speed ahead and be sure to notice the progress you’re making. Appreciate the small things along the way because they will lead to the big.
Remember, anyone can make a change at any time. We all have gifts and they are meant to be expressed and shared. It’s immensely fulfilling to put our unique talents into action and feel like we’re making a difference. When we do, we’ll soon notice that we’re on the path to discovering the career we were born for.
May 5, 2010
Professional Destiny® is about finding the career you were born for. I've created this site to help you in your pursuit. Here, you'll find excerpts from my book, as well as new ideas and stories to help you make the most of your natural gifts. We're a community, so please join the conversation!
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