Tag Archives: overcoming fear

Fear is Like Gravity – It Holds You Down

1 Nov

Be thankful for gravity. If not for just the perfect amount of gravity we would all be floating around uncontrollably, which could be a real problem as we dodge other people, cars, trucks and virtually anything not nailed down.

Fear, on the other hand holds us down too, but unfortunately in a more insidious and harmful way. Fear, when not faced and overpowered, will often freeze us in place. Afraid to make a decision, afraid to make a choice, afraid to take a chance, we often do nothing.

I have a very close friend in that position right now and I’m not sure how to help him. Brent has been married for around 30 years to a woman I’m not sure he ever loved. They have 3 beautiful children and 3 grandchildren. Brent was never a great father but he’s making up for that now by being a wonderful grandfather.

Brent has been out of work for approximately 2 years and has not found another job. And I’m beginning to believe he doesn’t want one. Money is now tight. Very tight. I have suggested to him that with the kids all grown and his marriage an empty shell to just walk away from the life he’s lead, and begin a new life, one of his choosing.

But Brent can’t choose. He can’t make a decision. And actually as I look back on his life, he’s always let others around him make the decisions for him. I wonder why that’s so. He grew up like me in Chicago, but I don’t think his parents or his siblings had problems making a decision, only Brent. Brent has always been paralyzed by fear.

Recently, I read an article about a study of how people respond to emergency situations and it described an airplane crash with survivors. Some people would get up immediately and head for the exits. Others would instinctively look around for other survivors and help them to escape. And then there were those who just sat in their seats, paralyzed with fear, who did nothing. And that’s where rescuers found them. Dead in their seats. And there were more of these people then you would imagine.

I’m stymied. I love Brent like a brother and I’m at a loss as to how to help him. If I just gave him money he’d use it to pay his immediate bills, but in a matter of weeks he’d be back to where he is now.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I can’t help Brent. Maybe all I can do is offer him the tools, the encouragement and the support, and the rest is up to him.

Love,

Michael

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The Fear of Giving up Your Ego

17 Jun

In past blogs I talked about getting rid of your ego. I suggested killing it off so it will never again have the opportunity to stand in your way of having, being and doing all that you desire.

The reason I am so against the ego is that I believe it has only one function; to compare you and your possessions to others and their possessions. When you compare yourself favorably to another you feel pretty good about yourself, sort of superior. But, when your comparison finds you inferior to another it is a totally different story. A negative judgment manifests itself in fear, doubt, uncertainty and always disappointment.

Frequently these negative emotions cause us to lose confidence in ourselves along with our sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Often, we feel deflated and no longer the king of our domain. It becomes difficult to work at maximum efficiency, especially when our heart just isn’t in it.

The best example of this is the salesperson doing walk-ins and cold calls. When this person is rejected by the suspect, their ego, as the designated defender of their person, floods their mind with fear, uncertainty and doubt. These thoughts turn into the feelings of fear and emptiness felt within the body, and soon they’re ready to give up, to quit and throw in the towel.

While many people have agreed with this based upon the responses to my earlier blogs, many have expressed fear about what would happen to them if they did eliminate their ego. They saw the ego as their personality and their personality is how they are known, respected, valued and loved. Their fear is that they would no longer be themselves. That instead of the outgoing person with a terrific sense of humor they would now become a human zombie. Devoid of all emotions. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When you voluntarily give up your ego the only thing that changes is the constant comparisons to others, and the negative feelings they engender. The loving, generous person with the funny personality doesn’t change one bit.

With no ego, you will now see people as who they really are and they’ll get to see the real you. Who could ask for anything better than that?

With love,

Michael

What is Your God Given Talent?

10 Apr

My first real sales job came when I was fifteen years old working at Mr. Junior, a boy’s clothing store on the north side of Chicago. I loved it. Within a year of starting at Mr. Junior a new men’s clothing store opened up within walking distance of my house. I applied for and got a job at Kassner’s California Men’s Store. It wasn’t kids’ clothes anymore. It was the big time. I was selling men’s clothing to men and women who valued my services and liked the fact that I had a flare for putting together just the right look. And what I mean by that was I could sell the husband a suit, then take them over to the dress shirts and find just the right shirt to go with the suit, then the perfect tie and then a new pair of dress shoes. I suggested and they bought. I could up-sell and cross-sell, before I even knew what those phrases meant. Hey, at the time I was only 16 years old.

It’s funny; I don’t know where this talent came from. The joke in our family, even to this day, was that as a family we were devoid of talent. Nobody could sing, nobody could dance, most of us when it came to art could only draw stick figures (certainly me), no one had a gift for writing and no one had any musical talent. So where did this talent for putting together outfits and matching and blending colors come from? Maybe it was in my blood since I come from a long line of merchants.

And maybe it was just a God given talent, although I wouldn’t know what it was called. Either way I loved what I was doing and it probably helped that I really liked people and truly enjoyed helping them.

As I grew older I met other people who shared my belief that they were talentless. I shared their pain, so-to-speak. In my forties I took a spiritual path and began discovering my own talents, ones I never believed I had. The more I was willing to try new things by overpowering my fears, the more I realized that I was blessed with a number of talents. Writing being one of them.

Today, I believe that each of us has been blessed with at least one unique talent, just waiting for us. Overpower your fears and you’ll soon discover your talents, hiding in plain sight.

With Love,

Michael

To Be Alive!

5 Apr

“No one who lives in fear is really alive” ~A Course in Miracles

It has always been my belief is that we live this life on earth to fulfill a certain function, a purpose that we agreed to before we manifested into this body. For some, that function may be to invent a wonderful product that adds value to people’s lives. For others, perhaps, it’s to discover a cure for some horrible disease. For another it could be to give life to a child who grows up to free his people. This function can be considered our reason for living and experiencing what we do in our daily lives.

But does everyone achieve their life’s purpose? I wish I could say yes, but I think the correct answer would be no. They don’t.

So what is it that stands in our way of achieving our function and our magnitude?  It is our fear. Not the lifesaving fears that we experience, but the ones created by the delusional thoughts running through our minds.

Fear prevents us from achieving in life what is rightfully ours. What we were destined to accomplish. Fear prevents us from having, doing and being what we deserve. Each of us faces fear on a daily basis. Our choice when facing fear is to either overpower it, and do whatever is necessary to succeed, or to give in to it. It is at this critical juncture that we either continue on our path to greatness, to being fully alive, or create excuses as to why we didn’t reach our agreed upon goals.

When deciding whether to overpower fear, by finding the courage to stand up to it, or to run away and hide, God will not step in to make the decision for you. He knows there is a 50/50 chance of you making the wrong decision, but since he gave you free will, he won’t intervene. But that doesn’t mean he won’t help you. When faced with a fearful decision ask God for guidance, that you make the perfect decision. He won’t make the decision for you, but if you quiet your mind, the perfect decision will come to you.

And ask that you always choose wisely!

With Love,

Michael

I Worried and Worried – But Nothing Happened

1 Apr

I have been through some terrible things in my life…some of which actually happened. – Mark Twain

When was the last time you had to give a speech or get up in front of your colleagues and make a presentation? Was it scary for you? Were you so afraid that you lost sleep over it?

For most people it is the epitome of terror. In fact more people fear public speaking than fear death itself. Fortunately, you won’t have to give the eulogy at your own funeral?

As scary as it was when you finally had to give your talk it was nowhere near as frightening as your mind made it out to be in the weeks leading up to the event. The fact is for most people the daily fear they feel regarding an upcoming event is often greater than the fear they feel at the time the event happens.

Why does this happen and what can you do about it? In my book, Overpowering Fear – Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life I talk about having to give a speech after accepting an award in New York City. For weeks leading up the speech I was a nervous wreck. Every day my mind raced as I came up with one excuse after another to try get out of it, including faking an illness. It was pure misery.

But at the moment I was called up onto the stage the fear seemed to dissipate and I knew I would be alright. Isn’t that usually the way it happens? We allow our minds to generate nothing but negative and catastrophic thoughts which in turn cause the fear based feelings we feel in our bodies. It ruins our days and nights, and for what?

Mark Twain knew what most social scientists know; that over 90% of the things we worry about and fear the most, never happen. They never happen.

So, the next time you’re facing a scary challenge remember that only one out of ten things you worry about ever come to pass. And when that one thing does happen it is never as bad as you made it out to be.

And remember: Happiness comes from living each day without fear.

With Love,

Michael

Failing Does Not Make You a Failure

28 Mar

Missing the mark does not make me a failure; it only means that my plan did not work out as I had anticipated. ~From the Book Born Rich

It is said that the fear of failure is one of our greatest fears. But why is that? We certainly weren’t born with the fear of failure. In fact as infants and toddlers we were pretty much fearless. We needed to be, because there was so much to learn, and if we were afraid of trying we would never have learned to crawl, to stand up, to walk or even to speak.

So who taught us to fear failing? You can say society but I think it came a little closer to home. Failing, and the fear of failing, are learned responses taught to us by our parents, siblings, friends, classmates, teachers and others who interacted with us when we were young. It usually came when we took a risk and tried something new.

Have you ever watched a baby learn how to stand on their own? They’ll crawl up to a low table and with chubby hands and fingers reach up to the tables edge, and then using all their strength pull their body up, only to find that their little legs couldn’t hold them. So they plop back to the floor and within seconds their hands will be reaching out to the table’s edge to try again. And they’ll continue to try over and over again until they succeed. At this age no one taught them to feel embarrassment and shame at failing to succeed.

I recently gave a keynote address to a corporation’s international sales team about our fear of failing, and this is what I said:

“In 2nd grade your teacher may have asked you to come up to the front of the room and read your essay on what you did that summer. At first you were confident, but then as you began reading you struggled over some words, or lost your place. The kids all started laughing and the more they laughed the more embarrassed you felt, and the worse you did. As you looked over at your teacher you saw on her face that she was disappointed in you, and when she admonished you by saying, “Next time I expect something better,” you were praying that there never would be a next time. But oh there was.”

Fear of failing is a social fear and has absolutely no basis in fact. What we fear is not the thing we are attempting, but the laughs and jeers of others if we don’t succeed. Our faces will flush with embarrassment. We may even feel some shame. Our “friendly ego” will flood our mind with vivid memories of all the other times in life we failed, repeating every taunt we heard from those who were present.

The older we get the more failure adverse we become. Some of us actually believe that we should know the answer to every question we are asked. And when we don’t we fear we’ll look stupid to the asker. Others are totally risk adverse. Avoiding at all costs learning or doing something new, because they fear being a newbie or a novice. Every time we do this, we lose. We lose the joy of doing something or learning something new. We lose the opportunities that come with a new skill. Sometimes we may even lose the perfect life partner – because we were afraid to go to a dance or party where we would have met them.

Is this any way to live our lives? Absolutely not. Just remember that when you do fail it is an expected part of the learning process. And failing does not make you a failure.

With Love,

Michael

Don’t Listen to the Critics!

27 Mar

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ~Theodore Roosevelt

I’m not crazy about critics. From the professionals, like the political pundits, to well-meaning friends and family. I have always had tremendous respect for the doer, the one who has the idea, believes in themself and risks fame and fortune to follow their dream. I’ve always thought of critics as those who stand on the sidelines, scared to death to get into the game, but more than willing to criticize and condemn those that had the guts to try.

Have you ever had an idea for a new business or a new product or service? If you have, then you know how thinking about your new venture brings incredible feelings of joy, enthusiasm and confidence. That is, until you share your idea with others; co-workers, friends and close family members.

You’re waiting for them to agree with you and tell you how great your idea is and how it will revolutionize the world. But instead you hear things like this; “You’re going to do what? Start a business? What makes you think you can start and run a business? Especially in this economy.” Or, “That’s the stupidest idea I ever heard. Nobody would spend money for something like that.” And then what happens. In a split second your joyful emotions are dashed on the rocks. Your self-confidence drops in free fall, and you begin to doubt yourself.

With friends and family like this you certainly don’t need any enemies. But why are they saying these things to you rather than sharing your excitement? I believe it is because they’re scared. You see they too have dreams of what they want to accomplish in their lives. But for them they’ll always be just dreams, because they’ll never overpower their fears and get into the arena.

But, you’ve made the choice to enter the arena. You have your fears but you’re willing to face them, overpower them, and do everything within your power to succeed. And so they’re jealous. Jealous you just might succeed while they never will. And it’s more than they can bear. So instead of supporting you they prefer to destroy your dreams.

Don’t listen to them. Follow your heart. Overpower your fears. And, you will not only change yourself but you will change the world.

With Love,

Michael