Great topic, Chuck! - Posted by Jerry Freeman
Posted by Jerry Freeman on January 24, 2002 at 12:33:14:
I think different personalities have different levels and kinds of fear, probably based on what we’ve been through in the past and the messages we’ve absorbed from our families and other early influences.
HABITS OF THINKING
Most of us have some kind of inner dialog running about just about everything we do. Some of those inner scripts tend towards confidence and success, and some of them are self-defeating.
I think the real key to accomplishing our goals is to try to sort through those thoughts and amplify the ones that will lead us where we truly want to go. In the process, we may discover some self-defeating thought patterns that we can bring out into the daylight, acknowledge, and then make a choice to stop letting them run the show.
Ideas like, “I’m not destined for the good life – that’s for others, but I’m not cut out for it (or not worthy).” “This is too hard. I’m not strong enough for this kind of challenge, even if it can lead to success.” “This is too complicated. I’ll never understand it.” “It’s no use talking to (fill in the blank – sellers, PMs, prospective customers, sources of funding, etc.) because I know they’ll turn me down.” Etc. etc.
FEAR IS PART OF LIFE, AND IT CAN BE A POSITIVE ELEMENT
I don’t believe we can make these kinds of thoughts go away completely and forever, but we can get to a level of self-knowledge and experience where we recognize them when they come up and work past them so that they don’t slow us down.
I remember reading that one of the all-time greatest writers of advertising, David Ogilvy, admitted that every time he sat down to write an ad, he began with the thought, “This time I will fail.” That didn’t stop him from founding one of the largest and most prestigeous advertising firms in the world and gaining universal recognition as one of the most successful and influential advertising people in the history of commerce.
Some of us are blessed with unfailing confidence, but most are not. It’s been said that the presence of at least some fear is a good sign because it indicates that we’re extending ourselves outside our comfort zone, where we have to go to get the things we don’t have now.
TECHNIQUES FOR MANAGING FEAR
Figuring out how to deal systematically with fear (because it WILL come up, for most of us, routinely) is one of the most important skills, and I agree with you, Chuck, this is something worth discussing at some length.
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE
It’s been said that ultimately, all fear is fear of the unknown. I’ve only been in this business a short time myself, but the decisive factor that gave me the confidence to go ahead was getting a response to one of my posts, from Tony-VA, telling me that there’s someone in my area who might be able to give me some pointers about my local market. I exchanged some emails with that person, and found him to be very open and encouraging. I spent an afternoon with him driving around, and within a couple of weeks, bought my first MH, based on the confidence gained from seeing with my own eyes that “it really does work, right here in my area.” That person was you, Chuck, and I will be grateful for that for the rest of my life.
Knowledge does set you free, and one of the techniques I use to deal with fears is keep gathering information until the thing I was afraid of becomes familiar enough that I’m no longer so afraid of it.
I try not to pass up an opportunity to ask questions of anyone who might be able to give information or help. For example, I got acquainted with the woman living next door to a MH I’m rehabbing. She was easy to talk to and not in any position of power that would tend to make me afraid of her. It happens that she used to live in a park that I’m interested in buying. So I asked her about it, and she had lots of information.
WE ARE NOT ALONE
Feeling alone is another part of fear. We’re truly blessed to have such a community of helpful people to reach out to here, and reaching out is another important tool for managing fear. I’ve also found many genuinely kind people in my local area who’ve been extremely generous with information and support. I’ve learned that following the golden rule, creating win/win scenarios with PMs and others everywhere I go as Lonnie teaches, people really seem to want me to succeed and have gone out of their way to help me.
JUST DO IT
And taking “baby steps.” I try to take action as a way of getting past fear. So I look for something, almost anything, that will get me started on whatever task is at hand, and then, once I’m in motion, it gets easier to do the next thing, and the next, and pretty soon, I’ve done something that I was really scared to do at first. Then I go on to the next thing and take the same steps all over again.
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE
Fear of failure is another factor. No matter what happens, if you use every event as a way to learn and gather experience, everything is success, and that fear can be managed.
A young person once approached a famous, successful businessperson he admired and asked if he would be willing to answer a few questions. The gentleman said, “Yes, I’ll answer your questions.” The young person asked, “How did you get to be so successful?” The man said, “By making the right decisions.” The young person asked, “How do you know which decisions are right?” The man said, “Experience.” The young person asked, “How did you get the experience?” The wise gentleman said, “By making the wrong decisions.”
Of course, we have the benefit of being able to use other’s “mistakes” as sources of wisdom, but we can’t help but make a “mistake” now and then, no matter how carefully we prepare – unless we just shut down and never attempt anything. Whether each “mistake” is truly a mistake or just another step in our path to inevitable success depends on how we use the information gained. Developing the habit of using “mistakes” as opportunities to master the business is a big help in overcoming the fear of failure.
Those are a few things that work for me. What about you?