Get Over Fear and Take the First Step

The ability to get over fear and learn to take any first step toward your goal can become a daunting task. When you learn to see that life is a journey and each new task or endeavor we take on are steps of that journey, then you understand that you can never get it all done. This is a good thing. Many times our fears are born from the sheer size of our goals or tasks. They seem so impossibly huge that they scare us right into taking no action whatsoever. How do you get past this state of mind?

There is an old Eastern proverb that says something like this,  “The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”.Snip20130830_1

The first rule of thumb is to act upon your inspiration or motivation. As so well defined in “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John Maxwell: DO IT NOW is the secret to getting things done and it’s the secret to getting over fear and taking any first step. Learning to take the next logical action helps to break your goal into smaller parts, and when they feel really easy you won’t be scared into doing them. This is the first thing that comes to my mind whenever I need to tackle a large project. Taking action, any action, any one step in the direction of my goal or project is the first step to getting over the fear of the sheer magnitude of the goal. Once you take that first step you are a body in motion. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Taking the first step will be the most important step you can take. In most cases, when you look back at that first step, you will think it wasn’t that hard after all.

What holds us back

The number one fear of taking any first step is actually taking some action. What you need to do to overcome your fear of taking any first step of action in the process of achieving anything, is to see that any goal or project is a process made up a series of many, many steps. Perhaps even a thousand miles of single steps. (Thus my above quote.) Seeing what you want or need to accomplish as a series of steps, tasks or processes that get you from point A to point Z is a way to shift your perception and illusion that the task you’ve given yourself is too big, too scary and too difficult to master.

When no action taken in the direction of accomplishing a task or project, this means that we feel overwhelmed by the entire process. We think it’s only a one or two step process but in reality, it can be broken down into so many more simple and singular actions.

In order to get over that fear, you’ll need to get a new perspective on the task, action or goal you are trying to achieve. What’s holding you back is your fear that it’s going to take too much of your energy and time. So you keep putting it off. If you can see what you need to do as little, tiny, miniscule steps, instead of a massive action-taking plan, you’ll move yourself out of that anxiety state and onto the road of action.

Another way to get better perspective and get over fear of taking action is to see it through your heart. For example, if cold-calling prospects sends rivets of sweat down your back, learn to get a better perspective by seeing the prospects as individuals, human beings. Instead of lumping them “all” into one basket and seeing them as dollar signs. See each person you call as just that, a person. A person like yourself who might really need your product or service. Be honest and connect with the aspects of the product or service that ring true for you. Perhaps you have just the solution that this perspective buyer needs. Changing this perspective can be the mental action needed to get over fear and make the call.

Do It Now

At some point you will be motivated to act. When motivation and inspiration set in you get over fear more quickly and taking the first step is easier. As you take more actions, more steps on your path towards accomplishment, you’ll find yourself gaining confidence and you’ll take bigger steps later on. What will really help you get over your fear of taking any action is when you do “something” everyday, over a period of time, you’ll be able to look back and see that you’ve actually made progress!

Remember that life is a process, life is a journey. It’s about taking a step here and there. You need not accomplish it all today. You need not get it all done by nightfall. Move away from this modern day illusion that you have to hurry through life. Get over fear by seeing that you can do something to move things forward today, even if it’s really small. The hardest thing is going from inaction to action. It might start with a shift in your thoughts. It might start with taking a small action or it might start with feeling good about yourself and what you can do. Whatever it is, that ‘it’ really is something, a wee bit of energy that will eventually grow and help you conquer your hesitations to get over fear and take any first action.

Everybody Has a Gift

For many years now I have been practicing strengths-based living. The concept of strengths was first introduced to me by my friend and colleague Dr. Wendy Flint. She pointed me in the direction of Gallup’s StrengthsQuest. At the heart of the book is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder® Profile, the product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths. The program introduces 34 dominant “themes” with thousands of possible combinations, and reveals how they can best be translated into personal and career success.

I took the assessment and my results were intriguing. Some results where “Oh yeah” and others where “Aha..”. What was so exciting to me was that an interest I had always considered as a weakness showed up as my top strength. I had to know more…Of course I did – my top strength is Learner!

The next thing I know I am logging onto Amazon and purchasing the book Now Discover Your Strengths. I read it in less than a day. What I learned was that strengths and talents (gifts) are different. A talent or gift is a naturally occurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. It is only one of the three “raw materials” that make up a strength. The other two are 1) Skill: the steps of an activity and 2) Knowledge: factual knowledge about something. While skills and knowledge can be acquired, a talent or gift exists naturally within you.

34strengths

34 Strengths

Talent ( A natural way of thinking feeling or behaving) X Investment (Time spent practicing, developing your skills and building your knowledge-base) = Strength ( Ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance).

Now that I understood the anatomy of a strength I was jonesing for more information. This led me to the next book  – Go Put Your  Strengths to Work. The most valuable part of this six-week, six-part process was to pick a week and capture your emotional reactions to the activities of your week, then clarify and confirm what you captured. When I reflected back on my “I Loved It” reMemo pages I could see all of the things I loved about my job and how they played into my strengths. My challenge was creating my own strong-week plan to include all or some of the things that invigorated me while planning to minimize from my week the things that drained me.

For you non-learners out there this may just sound like ton of work. But I have to tell you that the time I invested in understanding how to maximize my strengths and minimize my weaknesses has propelled me to new heights in both my career and personal life. Over the years I have shared these concepts with hundreds of friends, co-workers and students causing what I believe to be signifiant impact for them as well.

The StrengthsQuest is not the only assessment out there. Marcus Buckingham, one of the authors of the original book, has since parted ways with Gallup and has his own similar version called Standout. Both of these are available for a nominal fee. Join our conversation on Facebook to learn about a FREE Assessment Tool.

Everybody has a talent or gift. Let tomorrow be a stronger day than today.…You’ve always known what your strengths are.You’ve always known what lies within you. So, trust them, be proud of them and take your stand.

Just Do It!

I don’t know about you, but in my head I keep an ever-evolving checklist of the things I want to do with my life – a series of places I want to see, experiences I want to have, skills I want to acquire before I am too old to enjoy them. It contains bank-account busters like a year-long world cruise ( I keep a drool-worthy board on Pinterest), but also affordable fun such as hiking all of the major mountains in California.

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The biggest thing I’ve learned about my checklist is that given the vagaries of health and life, I shouldnt dawdle. So when I was in India on business recently and got an opportunity to see the Taj Mahal, I went even though I was traveling alone and somewhat concerned about my safety. My reward: a truly amazing day trip that immersed me into a completely new culture that gave me an entirely new outlook on life.

My latest adventure began when I left my traditional corporate job to start and run a non-profit to provide resources, training and coaching for women. I’ve always been one to help others but this is my really big idea to give back. I hope the end result will be a wonderful legacy of education and support that will make me proud.

Life is too short and far too precious to waste time going through the safe motions that distract us from what will really bring us joy.  The leap you take can be big, or it can be a small or it can be somewhere in the middle. It can be the fear of quitting your 9–5 job to finally pursue your love affair with the culinary arts.  Or running the marathon that you’re too afraid to try. Or starting the business you’ve always dreamed of. Or it can very well be finally overcoming your fear of stage fright at Monday Karaoke night for your love of singing. In our current world where stimulated ideas, new opportunities and innovative minds are so openly welcomed, oftentimes the biggest thing standing in the way is ourselves.

Take the leap of faith in yourself, or someone else for that matter.  Go back to school or even an online school, finally start your blog or accomplish the resolutions that have been making cameos on your New Year’s list for the past five years running. At the end of it all we all have two life lists: All the things we actually did.  And all the things we wish happened. Focus on building the first list, starting right here and now.

So consider this blog your call to action. I hope you will enjoy my ramblings, both in writing and on the ground – and start checking off entries on your own life list. I’d love to hear more about the leap you want to take or have taken on our Facebook page.

Have a great rest of the day!

Live Wholeheartedly: Daring Greatly

I’m always the last to know. How did I miss hearing about Brene’ Brown and her new book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”? So I pop onto YouTube to learn what the fuss is about. I watch her TED presentation (I’ve included it below if you are interested). This gal really resonates with me. Some say the book is flawed, too filled with personal realizations, family anecdotes, and personal practices where she fails to elaborate. I didn’t mind it in the least. I’m not inclined to reject a book because of style or format – I’m searching for the message. This book is full of messages for women like me.

Brave-Brene-BrownLive wholeheartedly? YES! Imperfection is beautiful? YES! Let go of who you think you should be? YES!

This book encourages us to take action in our own lives by first understanding ourselves and our motivations. It’s a look inward to affect outward action, and its important work. I’d like to imagine that shame and vulnerability for women are not issues…but they are.

The message makes sense. I like her style and authentic demeanor. I’m not going to blather on about her book. I’m going to let her speak for herself. If any of this strikes a chord, I suggest grabbing her book. It’s really been a great read for me.

I’ve pulled some quotes from Daring Greatly that caught my attention:

On shame: Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. This is exactly why I advocate for openness in adoption. No secrets and no shame. Let’s keep things above board and in the open where mold and rot don’t grow.

On courage: When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.

On ownership: If I own the story I get to write the ending. Great advice for a recovering victim. It makes me the playwright of my life rather than merely an actor.

On joy: Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.

On worthiness: I carry a small sheet of paper in my wallet that has written on it the names of people whose opinions of me matter. To be on that list, you have to love me for my strengths and struggles. You have to know that I’m trying to be wholehearted, but I still cuss too much, flip people off under the steering wheel, and have both Lawrence Welk and Metallica on my iPod.

Reading this book really helped me put a lot of my own life into perspective, and not just my present and future, but also my past in terms of who I am as a person and why I’ve gone the path I’ve chosen. I wholly recommend it.

Find Your Strongest Life

Women today struggle with questions of direction, purpose, passion, work and family balance, courage to make a change, and the correct definition of success. And all of these deal with one challenge — living a strong life.

In FIND YOUR STRONGEST LIFE, Marcus Buckingham, the world’s leading expert on career success, challenges conventional wisdom by revealing that happiness and success require that you:

  • Don’t agonize about who you aren’t — accept and act on who you are. Discover the role you were born to play and play it.
  • Don’t juggle — catch and cradle. Don’t keep things at bay, select a few things and draw them close.
  • Don’t strive for balance — strive for fullness. Intentionally imbalance life toward moments that make you feel strong.
  • Always sweat the small stuff — know and act on details that invigorate you and let go of what doesn’t.

You can have it all!
A DIFFERENT KIND OF ALL!

Join me Thursday June 23, 5-6pm pacific to learn more – Register Today!

Careful, Your Professional Etiquette Is Showing!

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

By Cookie Tuminello

There’s so much buzz going around these days on developing the proper ‘netiquette’ when posting on the worldwide web that I wonder if we’ve overlooked the workplace where real professional etiquette is in danger of going the way of the dinosaur.

Professional etiquette isn’t solely what type of clothing you wear to the office although I do think that it is a very important factor. A favorite saying from my friend, Debbey Ryan, the Queen of Networking is, ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’

In this past month alone, I have had several requests for coaching and guest speaking on this very topic. Professionals don’t have a clear cut vision of how they’re supposed to act or communicate with co-workers, clients, and team leaders. They struggle with unreal expectations and workloads. And to add to the confusion, we now have 4 generations of folks in the workplace. Most of them are suffering from severe communication breakdowns due to the fact that the majority of communication is being conducted via email and that, my friends, leaves a lot of room for misinterpretations to occur between the lines.

While I think that the internet is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I also think it is one of the most abused areas of professional etiquette. While it may be faster, it is not always the best. That is why it is very important to be very clear about what it is you want to say and how you want to say it before you say it.

Here are 5 simple rules that I think will calm some of the chaos and confusion in the workplace:

Rule #1: Be respectful. If your message is very important, deliver it in person, or at the least via the phone. Do NOT rely on emails or text messages to inform others of crucial pieces of information or worse yet, reprimand them about something they did or did not do, because I can guarantee you that at some point electronic messages will either become lost or be misinterpreted.

Rule #2: Set Boundaries. If you’re not getting your work done during the day then take a look at where your time is going. Yes, I know that this may go against the idea of having an ‘open door’ policy, but that phrase doesn’t mean that people should be able to waltz into your office any time they like. By setting Open Office Hours (Follow Up/Questions/Meetings) and Closed Office Hours (Email/Phone Calls/Paperwork) you will find that you will be both productive and creative.

Rule #3: Learn how to present powerful ideas and handle difficult conversations. If you’re due for a salary increase and it doesn’t happen, don’t sit and stew about it for weeks on end until you’ve worked yourself up into a towering inferno of suppressed anger. Schedule (there’s that word again!) some time to talk to your supervisor and go to the meeting with a clear-cut action plan. And stick to it! Many times we are so angry because we believe that our needs are being overlooked that we fail to maintain our objectivity when discussing our expectations with our boss. Face the issue head on and be ready to justify why you believe you are definitely due for that raise or promotion.

Rule #4: Bypass the office gossip mill. Water cooler chit chat is always going to happen, but you don’t have to be a part of it. If you have a disagreement with someone, have a conversation with that person to clean it up. Remember that the person you cut down with harsh words or make fun of today could very well become your boss tomorrow! Nothing good ever comes out of idle gossip unless your employed by the leading supermarket tabloid publication.

Rule #5: Find a mentor to inspire you. Charles Caleb Colton once said that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and he was right! If you want to be a great manager or team leader, then observe how your favorite one acts, dresses, and behaves in general. I’m not suggesting that you literally stalk them at work; just take note of how they conduct themselves and try to incorporate their positive actions into your own business demeanor. Ask this person if they would consider becoming your mentor. Believe it or not, most people are flattered when asked this question and usually say yes to the request.

If you follow these 5 simple rules to effectively communicating with your team, leaders, and/or managers, I can guarantee you that you’ll have less confusion, more productivity, and see better results in your relationships and endeavors.

Cookie Tuminello is the ‘go to’ coach for CEO’s, executives, business owners, and organizational leaders who want to unleash their potential, attain big goals, and create productive, powerful, and fulfilling lives. She provides powerful tools and tactics to engage, inspire, and energize them to attain amazing sustainable results. Receive her complimentary ezine and report at www.cookietuminello.com

The Lessons Are in Your Story – Women in Leadership Learning Through Storytelling

By Consuelo Meux

Women's Leadership Conference Online

Register Today! Women's Leadership Conference Online

When I decided to study women’s leadership, I needed to interview women leaders. To do this, I had to design a way to determine what gives a woman her unique leadership ability. When I contacted women leaders and asked them about their leadership skills, many couldn’t find a way to identify exactly what it was that gave her the ability to be a leader.

So I decided to take a different approach. I decided to ask the women to tell me their stories. Having the chance to talk about leadership stories was the key to finding the lessons from women leaders.

The lessons were in the story.

One story was about how a woman had decided to lead the fight for quality education in her community. With a group of other parents, she went to the City Hall to talk to the council-person. When the group got there, everyone turned to her to be the spokesperson. That was her moment of becoming a leader.

Another professional woman related how her workplace needed some innovative ideas to market educational products to an adult population. She knew how to work with this target group because she had taught adult education for years in a past job. Her ideas resulted in a significant increase in sales for the company. This led to her being the leader of a new division in her workplace.

Sometimes it is not easy to describe certain behaviors, such as leadership. But when you hear the stories behind the situation or event, you can find the lessons. Finding lessons in stories can provide a way to mentor others. You can share the steps you took, the insights you’ve gained, and the wisdom that you now put into action. Women are great storytellers. Have you thought about how you can use your storytelling ability to share leadership lessons with others? Think of how effective you could be when you learn how to find the lesson in the story.

The first step to take is to actually find your story. Women have a particularly difficult time talking about the things they’ve done and achieved in life. It seems like bragging to say you’ve done something good. But learning to identify those good times do several things.

1. It lets you build your confidence because you see what you’ve accomplished in life.
2. You become bolder to know that you can share what you’ve accomplished to encourage someone else.
3. It makes you want to try something else and you move to higher steps.

After speaking to one woman about their leadership story, she said that actually hearing the words come out of her mouth gave her a new perspective on her life. She felt proud in a positive way. Some pulled out of feeling like their “time had passed” and started getting involved in their community again. What happened was that after doing a great feat, many were worn out but didn’t recognize this as a natural reaction to doing something powerful. Now, by seeing how a leadership event requires a time of healing and rest, these women can empower others to know this truth too.

Take time to find the lessons in your story. Write out what you’ve accomplished or find something to talk to about it. You will find a power that you failed to recognize before when you acknowledge the lessons in your story.

Don’t miss the Women’s Leadership Conference Online.   When was the last time you attended a conference that changed your life and gave you new direction? Learn from other leaders, entrepreneurs and successful business women who have gone beyond boundaries to be successful. Register now for the Women’s Leadership Conference Online !

Consuelo Meux, PhD. owns the Confident Business Women programs for women who are determined to succeed in life and business. Women learn to embrace levels of confidence needed to maximize success and to live an authentic life on purpose. Find out about the upcoming Embracing Confidence Program or join the monthly Confident Women Cafe. Go to the website to find out how at http://www.confidentbusinesswomen.com