Ripping the Shirt Off of Fear

Brandi focused on win instead of fearIt’s July 10, 1999 and in Pasadena, California Team USA and China are battling for the Women’s World Cup Soccer Championship in the Rose Bowl.  This is the largest attended women’s sports event in history.  At the end of regulation play, the score is tied and it goes to overtime.  In overtime, Brandi Chastain intently lines up for a penalty kick.  She sets herself, runs up to the ball, and launches it into the upper right corner of the goal to score and in her now famous celebration pulls her shirt off in mid-field.  A win and championship for Team USA!

Tell me, what do you think was going through her mind?  Was Brandi thinking about how she was going to blow it?

Pointing to Success

The Babe had ignored his fearsGoing back further, in one of the greatest sports moments of all time, George Herman “Babe” Ruth of the New York Yankees steps up to home plate in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series.  The score is tied 5-5 and the Chicago Cubs players on the bench have been riding the Babe mercilessly.  As Ruth steps to the plate, he makes a gesture that many believe has him pointing to the center field wall after taking strike one from the pitcher, seemingly declaring his intention.   He did it again after strike two.  On the next pitch, the Babe mightily smacked the ball deep into center field and over the fence for a home run!  It is estimated the ball traveled 490 feet!  The Yankees went on to win the World Series in a four-game sweep.

Whether you believe the intent of the gesture or not, do you believe for one minute that Babe Ruth, who not only held the record for homeruns but also for strikeouts, focused on what would happen if he didn’t deliver?

The difference in success and failure is often a matter of how we handle our fears.  Dr. Heidi Halvorson, co-author of the book Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing The World For Success and Influencesays that handling that fear effectively is often a matter of mindset.   It’s all about where we focus our attention.  According to Dr. Halvorson, we have a choice of one of two mindsets when faced with accomplishing a goal or meeting a deadline or performing during a critical moment.  We can have a what she calls a Prevention Focus; where we concentrate on the negative aspects of the situation.  The concentration is on NOT messing up.  We do this in our daily lives and with others.  When a parent tells a child who wants to help set the table,

Okay, but this is our best dinnerware, don’t drop it!”  

With instructions like that, you might as well trip the kid yourself.  Or a manager tells an employee,

it is very important that you don’t blow this account.

Best example I can think of is the story Zig Ziglar tells of the 1982 football playoffs between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers.  With Dallas ahead and less than a minute left on the clock, Dallas implemented the Prevent Defense.  Joe Montana dropped back and threw a pass deep into the end zone that appeared to be sailing for out of bounds when Dwight Clark jumped up and made a fingertip catch for San Francisco to win the game.  Later, someone asked Cowboys owner Tex Schramm about what made the difference and he said,

“The Dallas Cowboys were determined NOT TO LOSE the game.  The 49ers were determined to WIN the game and that made the difference!”

So prevention focus centers on trying not to lose the game.

The opposite then is Promotion Focus.  In this mindset, you are focused on what you have to gain when you are successful.  “If I complete this project on time, our company will collect a big bonus from our customer.”  Promotion Focus centers on the win, always opting for growth, willing to take the risk to see the reward, and quick to take action.

Promotion Focus people tend to have better and more consistent results than Prevention Focus people.  You have a tendency toward one or the other but the good news is that it’s not born in you.  It is something that has been learned, placed into your brain by the attitudes of people to whom you bonded, other people influential in your life, and combined with past experiences.  So, if your tendency is towards the cautious, risk avoiding, and tentative nature of Prevention Focus, the good news is you can change.  It is a matter of changing your mindset.

Start by imagining a change you wish to make or project you wish to start.  List all the possible positive outcomes from successfully making that change or completing the project.  Don’t downplay it, but also don’t go overboard.  In most cases, you aren’t going to be a guest on The Ellen Degeneres Show because you completed a proposal package ahead of schedule for a client.  But you will likely make a favorable impression on the client, which can lead to award of the project and potential future projects.

  • You may get referrals to other clients and generate a significant increase in business income and grow your business.
  • You may be able to hire staff and afford to take vacations.
  • You can build your reputation within the industry.
  • Your self-esteem goes up.

Imagine every possible positive outcome of making the change and WRITE IT DOWN!  Then, every time you start feeling fearful, bring out the list and read it to yourself over and over again until you feel more in control.

Determine for yourself to Play to Win instead of Playing Not to Lose.

Action Plan

  1. Take Dr. Halvorson’s FOCUS Diagnostic assessment to see whether you have a Prevention Focus or a Promotion Focus.  Warning: be prepared to list about 12 attributes you would like to possess.
  2. Think about one big thing you want to accomplish; it can be a current project or a dream, particularly if you have been feeling a lot of fear over it.  Write down all the possible positive outcomes of accomplishing it and post it prominently.  Set a start date.

Find the Unique Sweet Spot

Stand out by being uniqueHow do you get to the point where you can truly embrace the weirdness, or uniqueness if you prefer, that is you?  This is a real solid challenge.  We know it is because you and I can look around us and see people who have no clue even that they are unique, let alone what that uniqueness is.  It is demonstrated in the way they jump on the latest fad as if they were missing the bus.  They line up for hours to buy the very latest iPhone or gadget, gotta wear the latest fashion, toss down the most recent popular drink, or try the latest adventure.

When I was in college I applied for a job as a bartender at a local bar.  When I told the manager I had no formal training, he waved aside with his hand in the air, and simply told me

read Playboy every month and learn the featured drinks.  That’s what these guys are gonna come in and ask for if they don’t want a beer!

That’s a great example of how the majority of people simply will allow themselves to be led around, told what to like, what to drink, what to feel, and what to do.  But you and I don’t desire to be that way; if you did you would have quit reading this several minutes ago.  So how do we escape the trap of being like everyone else and be who we really are?  Even more to the point, how do we do it in such a way that we add value to others and make a living and a life doing it?

Unique Awareness

Being unique, being weird, requires a special awareness of yourself that most others don’t have.  It means you need to spend time identifying and understanding your gifts, unlocking your passion behind them, and reflecting how to best use those gifts to add value to others.  See, we are all born with gifts that were bestowed upon us to be used to provide something unique in this world; something that only we can do.  That gift is designed to be used for a special purpose.  There is at least one someone waiting for us to come along and share that gift with them to make a difference in the world.  Some of us will directly influence a small number of people, maybe even one.  Some, like Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, or Tony Robbins may affect thousands or millions.  The point isn’t how many but how you will influence them.  So, identifying those gifts and learning to maximize them is the first step in preparing yourself to make that impact.  That’s your purpose.

Applying Your Purpose

Find your unique youOnce you have identified your gifts, it is imperative that you learn more about them and how to optimize them.  You also need to learn the various ways in which your gifts can be used.  The emphasis here needs to be on ways to use your gifts that benefit others.  God did not give you a gift to use only on yourself; he blessed you so you can be a blessing to others.  You must find that one way to use your gifts that allows you to provide maximum benefit.  It will based, at least partially, on background and life experiences.  We do not go through life randomly, even if we did not navigate it.  Every job, every experience, no matter how unrelated, prepared us for that one way that we will have the most influence.  Don’t de-value what you have done in the past just because it does not relate directly to what you want to do now.  It was preparation.  It was shaping you and molding you into what you are to become.

Now the real hard work begins.  You have to do the work of actually applying it.  You have to spend time EVERY DAY developing and honing those gifts. This is the start of a perpetual journey of growth.  It never stops until you have reached the point of not being able to learn anything anymore.  I mentioned in a previous post about Teddy Roosevelt that when he died they found under his pillow a self-improvement book he had been reading.  Teddy knew that your entire life is a growth journey to challenge yourself to become more than you were yesterday.

Be a 1%er

That sounds overwhelming, but you can break it down into an easily manageable system.  Focus simply on growing yourself by 1% a day.  Committing yourself to being a 1%er means that over time you grow exponentially one day building on the next and at the end one year you have grown yourself OVER 365%!  Remember that: become a 1%er.

No Weaknesses

And let’s make this a little easier:  STOP WORKING ON YOUR WEAKNESSES.  Conventional wisdom has always told us to identify our strengths and weaknesses and then work to improve our weaknesses.  It is non-productive to focus on our weaknesses because if we work hard we can at best become mediocre at them; while at the same time we neglect our strengths and won’t prepared to get the most out of them.  Focus instead on your strengths and your gifts.  Overcome your weaknesses by finding others whose have strength where you are weak and team up with them to meet your goals.

The I in Team

That leads to the last point of this, which is what John Maxwell always reminds us of

One is too small a number to accomplish anything!

We are meant to be dependent upon others and work together to achieve great things.  None of us is as smart as all of us.  So while building upon your gifts you should also be building your team.  Find people who have character you desire and are ready to buy into the vision of what you want to accomplish.  Walk the path together and share the journey and share the treasures.  Start it by being truly unique.

And remember, UNIQUE and UNITE both begin with UNI, meaning one.  By developing your uniqueness and finding unique others, you can UNITE together to have a singular impact on this world.

A journey like that is worth starting today!

Follow your passion, not your pension – Denis Waitley

Action Plan

  1. Start identifying your unique gifts.  There are lots of tools to help you here.  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and DISC are a good start, but look to other less scientific tools as well, such as Stand-Out by Marcus Buckingham and StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  I am also a big fan of the Fascination Advantage Test by Sally Hogshead. I have tried them all and find these three to highly accurate and consistent.  You may have to purchase a book for the access code to some of these, but it is well worth it.
  2. Think back to ways you have used those gifts in the past.  Which times did you find yourself getting the greatest results?  The greatest joy?  When did you get lost in the moment while using your gifts?  This will help you identify how you should use them.
  3. Plan and schedule your daily growth of those gifts.  Remember the 1%.

Big Dreams At a Conference

Dreams through juiceplusI am spending some time this week at the JuicePlus Leadership Conference.  As a distributor for JuicePlus and Tower Gardens, Sherry and I are able to attend the conference, especially since it is here in Orlando.  Our family has benefitted greatly from both and we enjoy sharing that with others.

A couple of things that really caught my attention about the conference so far:

1.  There are over 5,000 distributors here.  There are couples and individuals, women mostly but quite a few men, young and old.  Apparently the desire to eat and be healthy and share that with others isn’t really limited by demographics.

2.  Very reputable medical professionals like Dr. David Katz and Dr. William Sears spoke and endorsed JuicePlus and the Tower Garden enthusiastically.

Even more of what caught my attention is the people themselves.  As I mentioned before, the people attending here spread across age ranges, cultural ranges, gender, body structure, and level of passion.  But what they share in common is a desire to share healthy alternatives to the way we eat and, for a great many of them, how they fulfill their dreams.

See, some of the people here run this as a little supplemental income side business, but many are running this as their main source of income.  Either because they were laid off and could not find work or because they always wanted to run their own business.

From a leadership (and good business management) standpoint, Jay Martin, the CEO of The JuicePlus Company (formerly NSA) and his team have gone out of their way to make it very easy to make this a business.

  • no overhead
  • very little management required
  • flexibility in what you offer and when you offer it.

If someone had dreams of their own business but worried about capital, stocking product, or handling process, this is ideal because it takes those roadblocks away.  It gives hope to their dreams.

Dreams Leaving the Corporate World

laid off workers have dreams dashedMore and more, people are seeing that placing their dreams in the corporate world just isn’t the same promise it might have been before; or perhaps it never was and people are seeing that now.  College graduates are finding it harder and harder to get a job and it may not have the income they need.

The older workforce is being laid off by short-sighted executives who value savings in human capital expense more than productivity.  As the 50 and over crowd gets laid off, they also find getting new work to be challenging at best and darn near impossible at worst.
So these people turn to entrepreneurial dreams in companies like The JuicePlus Company.

As Meridith Martin, the Director of Marketing Operations for the company said in her speech today,

“More of you are saying, I don’t need the latest version of What Color is My Parachute!  I know what color my parachute is; it is Red, Green, and Purple!”

(Red, Green, and Purple by the way are the colors of the JuicePlus bottles.)

It seems dreams have entered the new millennia.

Teddy Roosevelt was a Weakling!

Roosevelt pursued him dreams with passion

It’s true.  Growing up, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., the 26th President of the United States, known for his gregarious personality, adventure-loving and thrill-seeking lifestyle, leader of the Rough Riders, and one of the faces on Mount Rushmore, was actually a sickly, frail child.  He was so asthmatic that he had to sleep propped up in bed.  He had frequent illnesses.   He was almost literally a 98-pound weakling physically!

I don’t tell you this to try to take down another public figure.  If that was the whole story it would certainly be a negative, and malicious attempt to destroy someone regarded as one of, if not the, greatest Presidents of the United States.  Obviously, however, he didn’t stay that way.

As Theodore (he actually hated being called Teddy) entered his teens he desired to become something more.  Encouraged by his father, he began boxing lessons, working out, and reading a steady stream of books to improve himself.  He quickly improved both physically and mentally and led a life of great experiences and adventures, including becoming at 42 years of age the youngest person ever elected President.

Even after that, he never stopped learning and growing.  He read thousands of books over his lifetime (which meant several books a DAY) and legend has it that after he died in his sleep and they removed him from the bed they found a self-improvement book he had been reading.

You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.  –C.S. Lewis

Putting All You Got Into a Dream

There is a point here.  Roosevelt had visions, he had dreams of what he wanted to be, and he pursued them with passion and enthusiasm.  He had his detractors and enemies, including very famously Mark Twain, but never let it stop him or even slow him down.  He continued to dream new dreams and set new goals, even up until he died.  Despite his robust life, he battled Rheumatoid Arthritis most of his adult life and lived with a bullet in his chest for many years.  Still, he kept on learning and growing and dreaming, preparing himself as well as he could for the next adventure and the next episode of his life.

Theodore Roosevelt knew you had to GROW INTO YOUR DREAMS!

They don’t just happen.  You achieve your dreams only when you fill your pursuit of them with passion and enthusiasm, prepare yourself for when your dreams arrive, expect to achieve them, and pounce on the opportunity when it arrives.  As Zig Ziglar says

You were born to win!  But to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win!

Action Plan

  1. If you haven’t written your dreams down, now is the time to do so.
  2. Have it written down?  Now, think about how life will be when you achieve it.  You need to create a very specific vision of achieving your dream in order to commit it to your mind and develop a passion and enthusiasm for achieving it.
  3. Now think about how you need to prepare for it.  Consider yourself a poor marketer and know you will need to effectively market yourself to achieve your dream?  Read marketing books and attend workshops on marketing.  Need to develop your leadership skills?  Find a leadership coach, attend workshops and seminars, join a leadership mastermind, identify your leadership strengths.  Just need to grow yourself overall?  Find a growth coach, read self-improvement books, join mastermind groups of other like-minded people to help each other grow.  Preparation is key!


A Dream in Your Head is Called a Fantasy

One of the things I have noticed in my talks with people about their dreams is how many have to search their minds for exactly what their dream is.  In fact, that’s the only place they have their dream documented.  “I have it all up here!” they proudly proclaim, yet seem to have trouble finding it in that filing system.

It doesn’t work!  You need to get your dream out of your head and down on paper!  When you write down your dream, you have made it more than just a dream.  You have made it a goal.  You have given it substance.  As Napoleon Hill said in Think and Grow Rich

A goal is a dream with a deadline.

When you document it, you commit to it probably truly for the first time.  Things written down tend to have more meaning and permanency to them, like an ancient king making a declaration and then saying, “so let it be written, so let it be done!

If we put it down on paper, we put it not only in our minds but in our hearts as well.

visualize your dreamNow when I say paper I simply mean documented somewhere.  You can do it in Word on your computer.  There are lots of apps out there for tablets and smartphones.  I use Evernote because I can synch it between my tablet, my smartphone, and my laptop and access the same information everywhere.

However, you do it, DO IT!

When it is documented it takes on legs.  And wings!  It spurs you on to action so much more than if you simply keep it “all up here!”  It creates a visualization that helps you really paint a vivid picture of what you dreamed about.  It becomes detailed and real and tangible.  You begin to see it, feel it, touch it, taste it!  It moves from the realm of “one day, it would be nice” to “gotta have it NOW!” and you begin to build your case and your plan.

How to Record Your Dream

Here’s a few great ways to get your dreams down “on paper”.  Remember that detail is important here.  The more you write down the dream with all the trimmings — the who, what, when, where, why — the more real it becomes and the more likely you are to take action.

  1. The simple one is…get a sheet of paper and write it down.  Or buy a composition notebook.  Or if you want a lot more guidance along this lines, buy a goals planner.  Zig Ziglar publishes a great one but it can be pricey.  Here is a shorter version you can download as a PDF. I used this and it was sufficient for the time being.
  2. Use an online application or use Evernote to write down your dreams in detail.
  3. Create a “vision board” using pictures to represent your dream or dreams.  Vision boards are great because it completes that step of visualization, making your dream real and tangible, that we talked about earlier.  If you want to have an online version of this, consider using Pinterest.  You can create a page with your vision board and make it private.  It’s about the only real good usage I have found out of Pinterest at all.

Action Plan

  1. Set aside time tonight to think about your dreams.  Brainstorm for 15 minutes and write down every dream that comes into your head.  Don’t evaluate them, write them down.
  2. After the 15 minutes is up, look at what you wrote.  Pick out the top three to five to start working on right away.
  3. Write them down in detail using whatever method you have chosen.  But write them down, don’t keep them in your head.