Tag Archives: risk

It’s Resolutions Time! Again?

30 Dec

I often wonder who came up with the idea to create a list of New Year’s resolutions. A list of all the things we are unhappy with about ourselves, and the “wish” that we will miraculously change over the coming months.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe in change and I believe that each of us has the power within to change practically anything about ourselves. We are that powerful. No, what concerns me about New Year’s resolutions is the way we go about creating these changes.

Often the buoyancy of the holidays (too much cheer, food, spending) gives us a false sense of optimism when it comes to changing lifelong habits. We believe that change will come automatically when we once decide to make that change. Nowhere within the listing stage do we ever ask ourselves, “Can I do this? What plan do I have to succeed? What sacrifices will I have to make? Am I biting off more than I can chew?”

According to a January 2013 article in Forbes magazine only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions succeed. If a doctor wanted to perform surgery on you and then shared with you the fact that in better than 9 of every 10 patients the surgery was an utter failure, would you still agree to go under the knife. I have my doubts. Yet, millions of people will sit down over the coming days and create a list of changes they desire in themselves, yet knowing somewhere deep within, that they are going to fail.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions? Of course not. Go ahead and make your list, but then do the following:

  • Prioritize your list from least important to most important. Then choose the most important item on your list to begin. One item, no more. Once you succeed with this resolution the others will be much easier to attain.
  • Plan the next 90 days and how you’re going to succeed. I suggest learning and using SMART goals. You’ll find them in my book Overpowering Fear or just Google them. If you’re going to lose weight ask yourself, “What help do I need to accomplish my goal.” Over the years I’ve used Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. Choose a system that feels comfortable for you. Don’t think you’re going to accomplish this alone, YOU WON’T.
  • (This example can be used for most goals). If your goal is to get more sleep create a log to fill out just before you go to bed. Write down the time you went to bed and if you’re not getting to bed on time, write the reason. Review this log at the end of every week. You’ll see that the reasons you wrote down were meaningless. If it was important for you to watch Scandal to the end, ask yourself, what the episode was about? If you can’t remember then it wasn’t very important.
  • Accept the fact  that no great change happens without some sacrifice. Whether it be food, time, alcohol, video games, etc. you are going to have to give up something. Prepare to give up the known for the unknown.
  • Because you create your life through your thoughts, don’t let thoughts of failure derail you. Done right, you have a greater chance of success than failure. Whenever a negative thought enters your mind causing unwanted fear say to yourself, “Thank you for this thought but I choose not to accept it. Instead I ask for a thought that is just the opposite.” It may sound crazy but it works.

For those who try my plan for accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions, I would love to hear back from you. Tell me your successes and your failures. My goal is to make this work for everyone.

Love,

Michael

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I Don’t Know What to Say

4 Nov

A couple of months ago my mother passed away. I posted a short message to my friends on Facebook and was soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of messages of sympathy and comfort I received back. In difficult situations like this social media really comes in handy.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with an old friend about a year ago. He shared with me that he had heard that the wife of an old friend that we used to work with years earlier, had recently passed away. Neither of us had spoken with this friend for a quite a while, and, when I asked him if he had called to offer his condolences he said, “No, I haven’t but I really want to. But I never know what to say in these situations.”

This seems to be a very common occurrence. You don’t know what to say even though your heart feels the emotion you so want to express. It’s happened to me. In fact, when I was a younger man I almost always felt uncomfortable speaking with people older than myself and expressing my sympathies or just my concerns. Why, was that? I’m really not sure. But obviously I felt fear around it.

Maybe I was afraid I’d say the wrong thing. That would definitely get my face to glow red. Or, maybe I feared that whatever I said would be taken the wrong way. Then for days afterward I’d be beating myself up about what an idiot I was.

I remember once, I was on this board, and one of the members approached another and expressed his sympathies on the death of that man’s wife. I hadn’t heard that she died but I was afraid to even mention my sympathies for fear that maybe, since we didn’t know each other that well, my words would sound counterfeit and insincere. And so, to my shame, I did nothing.

As I’ve gotten older I realize how crazy all of this is. It’s was my crazy thoughts that were keeping me from reaching out to another human being with emotions that were both heartfelt and genuine. I learned to overpower my fear of doing this by just doing it. I learned not to be afraid of what to say. Just about anything you say will be greatly appreciated. I know because I have been on the receiving end.

But, if you need something to say try these. For a death: I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I know this is a very difficult time for you. So if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. For an illness: I am so sorry to hear about your wife’s illness. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I know you’re probably going to be stretched thin in dealing with this. So, if I can be of any help I would welcome your call.

With just the changing of a few words either of the above statements can be altered for any situation and give voice to whatever it is your heart is saying.

Love,

Michael

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

You Were Created for Greatness!

1 Jul

My belief is that each and every one of us, upon our birth, was given the ability by our creator, to achieve greatness. But how many of us actually fulfill our destiny? I’m afraid not many. Why do you think that is?

I believe there are a number of reasons. First and foremost, is that nobody told us of our uniqueness as a human being. Nobody told us that we were capable of being and doing so much more than we are. Nobody told us that we could aspire to greatness. And, no one encouraged us to seek greatness. And so we settled for littleness and mediocrity, not even being aware that we could have just as easily chosen greatness.

For most of us growing up in our average middle class homes we didn’t see greatness first hand, and we didn’t know that we were capable of achieving all of our goals. So instead of greatness we accepted littleness. And felt that littleness would sustain us and bring us the joy and happiness that we sought. But littleness never does. Constant joy and happiness only comes from the belief that we can achieve anything and everything that we want, need and desire.

Another obstacle to achieving our greatness is our nagging thoughts that we don’t deserve greatness. That for some unknown twist of fate others were more deserving than us. So we accept our fate and never even venture to the point where we can even attempt greatness.

And, then of course, there’s fear. The fear that prevents us from even taking a risk. We fear failure and we fear success. We fear rejection and we fear embarrassment and humiliation. In fact we harbor so many fears that even stepping out of our comfort zones causes us enormous fear. And so we do very little or nothing at all.

There is a thread that runs through this article. Have you picked up on it? If not, no problem. The thread running through the above paragraphs is that everything relates to the thoughts we entertain in our minds. Literally, how we view ourselves. Of the 60,000 thoughts that scientists say we think in a day, better than 90% or 54,000 are negative. Negative thoughts that cause us to feel fear and turn away from challenges, because we don’t believe we are capable of succeeding.

To achieve your greatness means changing the things you think about. Because it is your very thoughts that cause your fear, and it is your fear that is preventing you from having, being and doing all that you deserve and desire.

Remember this: God made you for Greatness. Don’t disappoint her!

With Love,

Michael

To read more of Michael’s blogs go to: https://michaelluckman.wordpress.com/

Contact Michael: Michael@ OverpoweringFear.com or call 408.404.6764

For Those Who Risk!

24 Apr

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spires who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat. ~Theodore Roosevelt

One of the reasons I love quotes by President Roosevelt is because they are chock full of common sense. But then again common sense is not always so common.

Teddy Roosevelt was a doer, whether it was charging up San Juan Hill or creating the National Park Service, and a man of action. He believed that man was created to push past his “so called” limits and to aspire for greatness. He didn’t have much patience for those who stood on the sidelines of life.

How many people do you know who sprinkle their conversations with somedays, as in: “Someday, I’m going to own my own business.” “Someday, I’m going to go back and finish my degree.” “Someday, when things settle down I’m going to really get involved in my kid’s lives.” For these people I would say; today is yesterday’s someday. If not now, when?

Life is risk. We never know what’s beyond the next bend in the road. But to avoid all risk is to not ever know how truly powerful we are. To live in our comfort zones, safe and secure, is to never really know what living is about.

We have been created to create. To try new things. To learn new things. To grow. To even fail, but to get back up and re-enter the ring.

You only have this one life. Why not create the life you have always dreamed of having. Don’t wait. There is always another bend in the road coming up.

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

Don’t Just Sit There!

19 Feb

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. ~Will Rogers

Will Rogers (1879–1935) was a great American humorist.  He was a cowboy, vaudeville performer, social observer and motion picture actor. A plain spoken man he used simple words to convey some very important social commentary. One of my favorites is the quote above.

I believe that almost everyone knows someone who achieved a high level of success — and then lost it. If not an individual than perhaps a company. Maybe even one you worked for. What happened?

What happened was that person or company plateaued. They reached a point where they needed a next step to maintain their forward momentum, but what often happens is they reached the very edge of their comfort zone. To them the next step was scary. It required them to step out of their comfort zone and take a risk.

If it was a company maybe they needed to add to their headcount or move to a larger facility, but the naysayers said now is not the right time to expand. Or if it was an individual their friends or relatives may have talked them out of making a move because they were afraid they would fail.

So instead they allowed their inner voice to negotiate with fear. They convinced themselves that they could just maintain the level they were at. But that’s impossible. You see we’re all a part of nature, and in nature you either grow or you die. There is no standing still and there is no in between.

To grow is to risk,

Michael