There’s a date you will never find in anyone’s calendar - and it’s possibly the most important one of all
Around 3 and a half years ago, I made a significant step-change in my entrepreneurial journey and that was to invest in a Mastermind Group. At the time, it was a huge step forward, a massive leap of faith, or so it seemed.
As well as a significant investment in my time, it was also a monthly cash investment that I knew I had to be sure I could commit to through my business. It was a huge commitment at that time, but one I have never once regretted. I do recall though prior to my joining the group, I fell into the classic trap of “ok, one day I will do that, because that is the next logical step to scale everything up!” And there’s the date - ONE DAY!
Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I still have yet to find this date in my Outlook Calendar - maybe it’s hiding between May 8th and May 9th?? It’s a date I used a lot I must admit when I had a very different mindset to the one I have developed nowadays, and depending on the level of fear and ignorance, it could change format slightly - SOMEDAY, ONE DAY, MAYBE SOON, NEXT YEAR. I guess all of our calendars have been peppered with these dates at one time or another.
Making that step change
For me, procrastination around making a significant step forward was facing the terror barrier, the fear of the unknown! It can feel like a chasm at times when we are about to move forward in a VERY different way as it promotes all the fears and doubts we may be harbouring.
I recall many years ago attending a seminar for business owners at a venue in the Midlands and the speaker was talking about this very subject of stepping out of the comfort zone. He took things a little further and asked us all to open our diaries or calendars and find the entry called “ONE DAY” - of course, the penny very quickly dropped! But he made a good point - why do we continually put things off that we know are going to significantly improve our performance, our business financials, our people. It’s because we are gripped by fear and will give ourselves all the reasons NOT to change things as opposed to all the reasons as to why we SHOULD change things!
Often, we have no evidence whatsoever that our next leap of faith will be unsuccessful, so how come we convince ourselves to step away from change?
Well I guess it’s to do with our DNA in a way in that we are programmed at a very deep level to protect ourselves. But what’s the worst that can happen? Have we even considered that if Plan A fails, we have a robust plan - and here’s a thought - what if stepping forward DID work? How good would that be? What would that give you?
The Chimp Paradox
Incidentally, at the same gig I heard Dr Steven Peters speak, the author of The Chimp Paradox. This guy is trained in psychiatry and has a distinctive medical and scientific career behind him. He is probably best known for his work with the GB Cycling team as well as key sports teams and individuals. He is himself a medal holder. He took to the stage and began enlightening the audience in how the mind works at a scientific level in that it is a difficult part of the body to be in control of. Hence, the Chimp will run havoc with your thought process when faced with possible fear. He went on to enlighten us about the fight or flight part of the brain and how this works at its basic level when dealing with times of change. He’s a fascinating person and I would highly recommend taking some time to look at his work.
So, back to dates in calendars……..
Facing the terror barrier
I have since learned that by actually making appointments and deadlines in my Calendar regarding big, scary steps forward it makes me commit in a different way rather than avoid them or overthink them. Facing the terror barrier is a hostile and paralysing place to be when we hit it. It presents us with a way of moving forward like we have never experienced before, so the fear of the unknown is immense. Several times over the past 3-4 years I have found myself in this position, but nowadays I have learned a coping mechanism in order to move forward. It goes something like this:
Asses the good as well as the bad factors about making a significant step forward, whatever that looks like
Make sure you understand the RISK attached to the outcome and is it a risk you can minimise should things not work out?
Focus on the world beyond making this particular decision – what does 6-12 months look like as a result of this being a good decision?
Who is at your side whilst taking this decision and how particularly can they support you?
Once you come out the other side and the result is a favourable one, be sure to reward yourself in some way - some time off, something enjoyable with the family, a day at the spa or an extra round of golf!
As business owners, inevitably we are going to face numerous obstacles and hurdles along our journeys and what we need to do is be able to either tackle them head-on or delegate where possible. Using our calendars in a positive way will help. Just by simply marking a date, highlighting it in a different colour, circling it on the fridge, it’s getting the mind to understand that NOW we have made that commitment, NOW It’s a step further to becoming reality.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to “put things off” or “wait for the right time” - truth is, there’s never a right time is there? When does something pop up in our calendars that says ” Hey, guess what? Today’s the day to make that decision about you know what!!!”
We put things off because of 2 key factors - FEAR and MISUNDERSTANDING.
If we misunderstand something then it is up to us to go seek the answers in order to make an informed decision about a step forward or maybe a purchase of some type. That’s pretty easy to fix.
If we fear something that stops us from taking a leap of faith, it’s not a bad thing either - it shows that we are about to do something outside of the comfort zone and the body and mind are sending us signals in order to protect you from the unknown. It’s learning to embrace these feelings, explore them, reason with them and then take the plunge. We should get into the habit of doing something every day that puts fear into our bellies, it shows we are growing.
EFC Performance now run our own Mastermind groups. If you're interested in making that step-change towards doing things differently why not contact us to find out more.