In the 16 years I’ve built Information Experts, here are just a few of the obstacles and fears I’ve conquered:
- 1. Fear of not making payroll.
- 2. Fear of having to do a layoff.
- 3. An essential employee giving notice.
- 4. A disgruntled ex-employee terminated for cause threatening a lawsuit.
- 5. Spending $25,000 on a proposal response and losing the work.
- 6: Having a loan called (10 years ago but still sort of bitter).
- 7: Major customers declaring bankruptcy and a loophole law giving them the right to ask for the return of our owed payment, and not paying us for additional work (telecom industry).
- 8: Discovering an employee is selling your equipment on E-Bay.
- 9: Discovering an ex-employee has shared your proprietary methodologies with competitors, prompting the need to threaten litigation.
So how does a leader keep going – with a smile on her face? I’ve developed several strategies to continue moving towards my goals, and I’m happy to share 6 of them with you. Reach back to these as you move through your challenges.
Remember: You are stronger than you think you are. You are stronger than your challenges.
1: Consider the possibilities, free of criticisms, opinions, and judgments.
All possibilities start from that one moment of consideration. If there were no hurts, criticisms, or judgments, what would your life look like? What would you be like?
Our possibilities start with our commitment to participate in the experience of our own life, and to not allow others to decide our outcomes.
People will constantly remind you of your failures, of the things you don’t have going for you. Don’t let them in to your mind, your spirit, your soul, your willpower.
The hardest thing I’ve done is blocked out all of the negative thoughts and people that have the power to derail me, and push them to the side. For all of my challenges and my climbs, I’ve learned how important it is to keep a bubble of confidence and strength around me.
2. Create a supportive web of influence.
Research has proven that we are the average of the 10 people that most closely surround us. We become the people that are closest to us. People have a lot more control over their web of influence than they realize. They automatically put long-time friends, family members, and business colleagues into their web, even though they may not be the people that are most supportive, understanding, or happiest for their success. This is your life, and your web and you get to decide who is in it. It should be very difficult for someone to earn a spot on your A-team or in your inner circle.
What would you do if the naysayers weren’t around? 87% of people allow fear of failure to stop them from pursuing their dreams and fulfilling their possibilities.
The crime is not that others tell you that you can’t achieve what’s possible. That’s exactly what you should expect from human nature. The crime occurs when you don’t believe in yourself. Every day is a selling job on you.
“I can do this. I can make this happen. No matter how bad things get, no matter how hard my climb is, I can make it happen.” Feed your faith, and your doubts will starve to death.
3: Consider what’s around the corner and beneath the surface…and breathe.
Technology has forced us to run at a non-stop breathless pace. Yet our breath, when we are conscious of it, improves the quality of our day, the quality of our thoughts, and the quality of our interactions. Our breath is the kind, loving, gentle breeze of our spirit.
While our productivity focus may be high, our possibility focus is low. It’s difficult to consider what is around the corner or beneath the surface when we barely have time to savor what is happening right in front of us. This makes it even more important for us to take time to breathe. I’ve created a 4-step process for taking time to breathe called the SILO process: Silence, Intuition, Listening, and Observation.
My first experience with long periods of reflective silence occurred early this year, when I attended a spiritual & meditative weekend retreat led by Richa Badami, who owns Anahatha Retreats (www.anahatharetreats.com). That transformative experience taught me how to quiet my mind, clear away the emotional clutter, identify those that were a help or hindrance to my path, and helped me to further tap into my intuition. Through active silence, listening, and observation, I can hear my intuitive voice more clearly, and I have more confidence to follow it.
Most of our answers to the questions regarding our paths and our outcomes are right in front of us… right inside of us. So often we seek external sources for our answers, when they are with us all along. Through silence, intuition, listening, and observation, we can enVision our desired outcomes, or find the strength to push through outcomes we may not have necessarily selected.
4: Change “I Can’t” into “Why Can’t I?”
How many times do you think or say “I can’t” in a day? From Napolean Hill’s best seller – “Think and Grow Rich” to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “You’ll See It When You Believe It,” what the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve. Our thoughts lead us in the direction they are following. If our thoughts are self-defeating and critical this will be our path. There is nothing as powerful as a made-up mind.
5: Consider the possibilities of all connections.
I love to meet new people and hear their stories, perspectives, experiences, and goals. We can learn so much from one another. We can connect on so many levels in ways we can’t foresee.
Every relationship that happens in our life has some spiritual significance and is an important piece of our own inner growth, our own path, and our own journey. People’s paths cross intentionally, and often for multiple reasons, even if the reasons do not present themselves at the outset. And often, the reason two people initially connect ends up being secondary to the true reason they were meant to know each other.
We must be open to all of the possibilities. By habit, you may stereotype a person based on where they work, their title, or what they look like. You may pass an insurance vendor at a conference expo booth, and think, “Oh I don’t need insurance. I’m going to pass right by.” You aren’t simply passing an insurance vendor. You’re passing a possibility of a new friendship, or a connection entirely unrelated to insurance. Before closing the door on a new relationship, consider the possibility of that connection, in all facets of your life.
6. Get back up!! Life is full of situations that knock us off our feet. 8 out of 10 millionaires have been financially bankrupt – multiple times.
The goal should not be to live a life devoid of pain and difficulty… after all is that really living? To feel pain also means to feel love, joy, passion, and happiness. We can’t have the capacity to feel one side without feeling the other.
What matters is that when we are knocked down, we find it within ourselves, and also from others around us, to get back up. It may take days, weeks, months, or years depending on our situation, and that’s OK. What matters is that we get back up.
Have you put any of these strategies into practice? What are your strategies for discovering the power of your possibility and your potential? I look forward to hearing how you’ve embarked on your journey to become your best self.
PS: In a follow-up column, I will share my strategies for goal-setting and accountability, and how you can find and engage an accountability partner to keep you on track!