Paralyzed by Fear

Are You Waiting…

for someone to lead and inspire you?
for the boss to recognize you?
for clients to thank you?
for coworkers to help you?
for prospects to find you?
for the world to hail you?Well here’s a news flash…. They are all just sitting there waiting for you.Someone recently asked me, what I felt was the biggest challenge for marketers today? My answer was complacency. Websters dictionary defines complacency as contentment and self satisfaction. You might say, “Hey hold on there Deo! Isn’t that what we are striving for as entrepreneurs and small business owners? Shouldn’t it be our ultimate goal to be content and satisfied with our business, finances, family and life?”I say, NO.When we become content and satisfied, we no longer have any motivation to get better.We drop our guard. We become OK with achieving the minimum. Unfortunately in today’s competitive environment achieving the “minimum” in the short term may just not be good enough to “survive” in the long term. This can be very dangerous in the fast paced, high risk, volatile economy of the 21st century. You may be thinking, “that sounds a little scary, Mark.”It is.Many people today are saying that fear is bad. I agree that too much fear can be debilitating, just as a complete lack of satisfaction can create disappointment and disillusionment. There are no absolutes. But if we completely eliminate fear from our lives, we lose some of our most base instincts. Think about when you first started your business or your first day on the job. Weren’t you a bit apprehensive? Didn’t you have some fear? You probably found yourself asking questions like, what if this doesn’t work? What will I do if I fail? What if my coworkers or clients don’t like me? Can I really compete? Do I really have the skills necessary to succeed at this?I think you would agree that this is the GOOD kind of fear. The fear that drives us to greater levels of performance. Fear that motivates us. It’s the kind of fear that makes us have more apprehension for things staying the way they are rather than bringing about change.What does this have to do with marketing, you might ask. Successful marketing must allow us to significantly differentiate ourselves from our competition. We need to look different, sound different and be different. We need to go beyond the expectations of our clients and prospects. We must be willing to always be a bit uncomfortable with the way things ARE if we want to change. We can not be content with waiting for change. We can not be satisfied with the most comfortable option.Here are some very specific things that you can do to make fear the friend that you consistently court, rather than the foe that you chronically avoid:1. When things look bleak don’t deny reality, accept it and begin to develop some options. Write them down and take action to change things rather than waiting for them to get better.2. Don’t allow yourself to be forced into change. Make the decision to bring about change BEFORE you are swept-up in the maelstrom.3. Find someone that you can mentor. Taking this leadership role with even just one person will allow you to see the power of fear and change in another person. In the end, this will make it much easier for you to cope with fear and embrace change.4. Look for situations where others are positively dealing with fear and change. Give them the recognition they deserve for coping with their changing environment. This will reinforce your own values.5. Change the way you celebrate achievements.Typically, we set goals, we work hard at achieving them, we reach them and we celebrate. We are content and satisfied with a job well done. Hopefully when the party’s over we set new goals and the cycle starts all over again. But shouldn’t we be setting new goals BEFORE we pop the cork on the Champaign?6. Be an evangelist for your company, product or service. Ask yourself, how YOU change peoples lives for the better. Focus on this. NOT features and benefits.7. Be a catalyst for change with everyone that you meet. Look for ways that you can help them to cope with the fear and change in their lives.8. Don’t try to eliminate all stress in your life. Like my old boss, Sue Schneider used to say, “Stress is good, DISTRESS is bad.” If we try to completely eliminate stress and fear in our lives we will be sadly disappointed. On the other hand if we find ways of coping with stress and fear, we will amass for ourselves resources of great value.9. Be the first. Decide from this day forward that YOU will be the first to initiate change in your organization and even at home. You will lead and inspire. You will give compliments and provide recognition. You will thank your clients and vendors. You will lend a hand to help fellow workers. You will seek prospects whose businesses and lives can be improved by your company, product or service.I hope this helps you to begin see fear as a friend and change as the precursor to growth.

Posted in Growth Strategies, Improving Productivity, Management Development, Managing Change, Uncategorized.

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