Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sequestration ...

Sequester came just over two weeks ago. It follows, of course, the debt ceiling, rounds one and two, and everyone’s favorite year-end nail-biter, the fiscal cliff.

Now, there’s talk of a government shutdown later this month (though current reports say a ‘deal is likely’).

President Bill Clinton famously said, “I feel your pain.” That’s the missing ingredient here: not one member of Congress feels any real pain, any personal consequences, for the tremendous failure to lead with the decisive moral courage Americans expect of them. It’s analogous to arguments against the draft that resonated during the Vietnam War – congressional members were criticized because they sent the sons of the poor and middle class to war but their own families were rarely touched by similar sacrifice.

That’s true today, too. Nearly half of Congress has an “estimated net worth of more than 1 million.” They are so much better positioned than most to weather any economic storm, it’s a wonder they can tell when the rest of the country is getting wet.

And while I’m ever the optimist that our government will put this country ahead of self and party, I just can’t help entertaining my own fiscal thought experiment, in which members of Congress are compelled by statute to design and pass a sustainable, responsible fiscal solution. Failure would result in the following, alone or in combination:

- Losing their seats
- Pay 100 percent tax retroactively for the time they've been in office
- Forfeiting 100 percent of their pay received from their federal position
- Charged with fraud, waste, & abuse

Of course, these are merely musings, borne out of frustration, mostly with those members of Congress who are chiefly in safe districts, where they remain impervious to the consequences of their mistakes. As the CEO and founder of a company, the “Groundhog Day”-style repetitions of partisan wrangling and deals that are made (or not made) at the nth hour while citizens, economies and markets tremble in the balance are reckless in the extreme. No management team would be allowed to bring a company to the door of bankruptcy over and over. They would deserve to be ousted – and shown the door they would be, without ceremony or argument.

Like a word that is just on the tip of your tongue, our government is ever this close to being productive – if it can just get out of its own way and stop repeating this disheartening pattern of “upward failure.” I’m still hopeful that it can live up to our expectations before March 27th.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Mental Block You Absolutely Must Overcome

The Mental Block You Absolutely Must Overcome:
mental obstacles The Mental Block You Absolutely Must OvercomeWhat is stopping you from pursuing your dreams?
You have what it takes to reach greater heights in your life.  You have more to give, more to accomplish and more to receive.
So, what’s holding you back?
There is a mental block that stands in your way.
It robs you of your motivation to begin and unless you begin, you will never reach the finish line.

The Mental Obstacle That Keeps You Stuck

I’m writing about this obstacle today because I truly believe it holds a lot of people back from getting started toward their full potential.
The funny thing is this block is 100% mental.  It is all in our heads which means it can be beaten. But, as we know, we are often our own worst enemies.
So, what is this nasty little mental hindrance that holds us back?
The quote below was penned many years ago.  It was issued as a warning so we wouldn’t let this obstacle get in the way of us achieving our most audacious goals.
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
~ Earl Nightingale
Have you ever sidelined a dream because you knew it was going to take too long to accomplish it?
Boy, I know I have.
In fact, just last night, I caught myself falling into this very trap.  I had an idea for a new website, but I soon started thinking about how long it would take before I’d see any real results from it.  I was tempted to give up before I ever even began.
Your dream is probably different than mine.  Perhaps, you want to do one or more of the following:
  • Start a new business venture
  • Change career fields
  • Go back to school
  • Pay off all the debt you owe
  • Save a piece of the environment
  • Rebuild a relationship
  • Get in better physical shape
  • Find your life purpose
Well, what are you waiting for???  Why are you frozen at the starting line?
As Earl Nightingale says above, the time is going to pass one way or another.  Why not use it for making at least some progress toward your goal instead of just squandering it by doing nothing?

The Fear of the Time It Will Take

I’ve told you before that if you need a push, then you’ve come to the right place.  So, let’s face our fears together and figure out what it is going to take to get us past that first step off the ledge.
As we’ve already been told, we FEAR the time it will take.  Why?  I have some pretty good theories.

1.  It Might Not Pay Off

We fear failure.  We worry that we might invest a lot of time, energy and resources into this dream of ours and then it might not pay off or that we might not reach the level of success we hoped for. <whine>
Of course, by doing nothing, we cement in the result.  By quitting before we ever get going, we immediately reduce our probability of success to zero.
If you actually try, if you put forth your very best effort, who knows, you might just succeed.  I can tell you one thing.  You’ll certainly raise the odds in your favor.
Plus, you are guaranteed to learn something along the way.  This education will benefit you in the long run.
Finally, I’d ask, “What’s the alternative?”  Do you want to stay stuck on this plateau for the rest of your life?  Not me.  Therefore, in my humble opinion, the risk is almost always worth it.

2.  It Is Easier To Do Nothing

I can’t all together argue with this one.  It is definitely easier and more comfortable to do nothing.  Of course, what’s that going to get us?
Let’s examine a little closer why doing nothing is often, at first glance, more appealing.
The minute you start to think about making a significant change in your life, your amygdala (also known as your Lizard Brain) goes crazy.  If you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, then please take a moment, click the link and enlighten yourself.  Go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back.
Many of us, myself included, sometimes let the Lizard Brain win.  We let it make us afraid of the hard work and change ahead of us.
Of course, when it comes to personal growth, comfort is just not an option.  If you want more out of life, then you are going to have to lean into the fear.
Bottom line, we have to decide which we want more – our dream OR the easy way out.  I know which way I’m going to go.

3.  It Might Lead to Rejection or Resistance

Lastly, I think we fear the time it will take because, along the way, we strongly suspect that others might reject or resist our plans.
When I say “others”, I’m talking about a wide variety of people.  It might be our spouses, our bosses, our family members, our friends, our potential customers/audience or just the world at-large.
The thing is, I’ve come to understand that opposition often lets you know that you are doing something right and worthwhile.
I don’t think anything meaningful has ever been accomplished without someone opposing it.  Therefore, the only time you should really be worried is when you AREN’T experiencing any resistance or rejection because that’s a sign that you’ve grown complacent.
So, yes, opposition isn’t always fun.  In fact, it is often tiring and discouraging, but if you understand it properly, it is a little easier to deal with.  Therefore, we should never let it halt us from starting to work on our dreams.

Feel the Fear AND Do It Anyway

Susan Jeffers has written a powerful book called, Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway The Mental Block You Absolutely Must Overcome.  In it, she says, “Take a risk a day – one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it. Even if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, at least you’ve tried. You didn’t sit back…powerless.”  This is great advice.
I hope today that I’ve empowered you to defeat this paralyzing mental block when it arises.  One things for sure, you’ll certainly know it when it seeps in and tries to jerk the rug out from under you the next time you are contemplating a big move.
I challenge you to take the risk.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.  Remember, the only sure way to fail is by doing nothing.  Why not use the time for something more useful – like pursuing your dream?
Overcome this mental block and you’ll realize a lot more of your potential.