(Today is a guest post by author and entrepreneur Steve Rice. Thank you Steve!)
“I’ll try” or “I’m trying” is a cop-out as Yoda points out in this succinct insight from Star Wars.
It is a way for us to hedge our bets on life. The problem is that life is an “all in” game. There are no hedged bets. You have to play through. There is no other option.
Take Action in the Face of Fear
Facing fear head-on can be debilitating. In college, I remember walking to my freshman speech class in a cold sweat, with my legs shaking and heart pounding. I bargained with myself. If I can just get through this, I won’t ever have to speak in public again.
Fate has a cruel sense of humor.
Two years after I graduated, a friend encouraged me to join her Toastmasters club. I didn’t know very much about the Toastmasters organization.
She described it as a communications and leadership organization focused on personal development. I was intrigued by the “personal development” part, and I guess I kinda glossed over the “communications” part!
Despite my fear of public speaking, I decided to stick it out. My skills improved, and I gained greater confidence in my speech making abilities. I went on to lead the club and represent it in various speech competitions.
Create Positive Experience “Landmarks”
What I found in facing my fear of giving a public presentation is that taking direct action by doing the thing I feared most allowed me to construct positive experience “landmarks” (ie positive feedback and applause) around the feared action.
These positive experience landmarks helped me build a different relationship with my fear. Instead of being paralyzed by it, I could look back and see the progress I had made in spite of it.
These landmarks them motivated me to continue building my skills. As my skills increased, so did my confidence. As my confidence increased, my fear in the unknown abated and my general anxiety subsided.
Take Action to Make a Difference
After a few years in the Toastmaster’s club, I was elected the president of the club. One of the tasks with which I was entrusted was spearheading a charitable project during the holiday season.
The club decided to sponsor a family in need and provide gifts, food and funds to help ease them through the holidays. I wanted to find a way to give beyond what I could do personally and what our small club could do as a group.
I wanted to make a bigger impact, so I approached the company of one of our members as well as the company for which I worked and challenged them each to match the donations of our small club. We were able to raise over $3,000 by combining our efforts.
Taking action to reach out and make a difference in someone else’s life creates momentum in your own in a couple of ways.
1. It causes you to take attention off of yourself and your own anxieties.
It makes you face the fear of what others will say or think about you. It allows you to disregard the judgments others may make of you or your motives.
2. It also inspires others to jump on board.
We are all looking for leadership. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
When someone stands up and says, “Okay, here’s the plan…” and articulates it well, we want to be a part of that.
When you face your own fear to impact the lives of others, you position yourself in a unique place of leadership.
Take Action in the Face of Failure
What if you have already faced your fears? What if you grabbed the bull by the horns and got emotionally and psychologically gored?
This will happen. It is part of the process. You can choose to make it mean something greater than it does. You can call into question your own beliefs, motives and intention. Or you can recognize it as part of the experience and decline to judge it (or yourself). Essentially, you can give yourself some space to breathe and grow.
I failed this week! I faced my fear and uncertainty. I was not successful.
I interviewed for a great job opportunity at a local company. It is a wonderful job that would have allowed me to use my public speaking skills and would have challenge me to grow beyond my comfort zone.
“We’ll be in touch regarding the next step,” they said. They haven’t been in touch.
“Do or Do Not” I had two options. So do you. Always.
One of my biggest goals this year is to build my business of helping others to craft a well-lived life into a stable, sustainable and supportive foundation of my life’s mission: to give hope.
It really is that simple…and that difficult.
Here I sit at the back door of Failure with these two options. The question I asked myself, and that I ask you today is:
What are you going to do now?
When you fail, what will you choose? You always have the choice. You can choose to blame and make excuses. You can choose to settle.
You can talk about how hard you tried and how you’ll try again. Or, you can do–take action.
Ultimately, there is really only one choice. Even if you choose choose not to take action, you have chosen the alternative which is to settle. In both cases you are “doing”.
Doing nothing is really an active choice of antipathy, ambivalence and apathy. To “do not” is to try to play safe in a game that doesn’t have a safe mode. Life is not safe. Life is only “on.” You grow or you die.
I’m not talking about the future. I’m not asking what you will do or might do.
What is your choice? You make it each day. You choose in each and every moment.
The blessing of this realization is that you can choose differently in each and every moment.
Will you take action in spite of your fear? Will you take action that makes a difference in your own life and the lives of others? Will you take action in the face of failure?
Choose wisely. Remember that life is always “all in”. There is no try!
Steve Rice is the owner of True Spiritual Awakening. He is an author and entrepreneur committed to creating a well-lived life and helping others to do the same by helping them bridge the gap between abstract philosophy and practical, hands-on tools which, together, create a life of momentum.
Photo by Angelo