My purpose in life is to give you a pattern interrupt. I am looking to be an inflection point in your life where you literally “wake up” to the power you have to change everything for the better.
This past year has been a tough one for me, however learning to distinguish between fear and anxiety has helped me to alleviate the majority of both. I feel anxiety when I am worried about something in the future that is out of my control. Typically I stress in regard to the great unknown, any potential threat to my security. Now, fear is a little different because it’s based on a past experience and projecting what could happen based on a particular, usually negative experience. Anxiety is worry about the unknown that hasn’t happened yet, where fear is worry of what’s known that might happen again.
I used to think that when I had a successful business I would feel secure, that I would feel confident enough to prevent anxiety or fear from existing within me. But the fact of life is that these things do not go away. The same things that frightened me ten years ago still haunt me today.
Maybe you haven’t made your first dollar as an entrepreneur. Or maybe you’ve made your first million. Either way, you’ll have many of the same fears after becoming successful that you did before. What changes is that you get better at dealing with them. You develop a greater tolerance for these fears because you have honed successful methods to reduce or eliminate them.
97% of society works for the other 3%. That 97% does not have the ability to write their own paycheck. They rely on the 3% for that security. I’m not placing a value judgment on employees or entrepreneurs here; I’m just saying that, when you’re obligated to provide a service to another, it is very easy to slip in and out of anxiety mode. You can love or hate your job. You can “warm your chair” if you choose to, and get away with it. According to research, employees are only making their employer money 20% of the time. This means that if you deliver just 20% of the time, you’ll probably be able to keep your job. (I got this from Dan Kennedy’s Ruthless Time Management.)
As an entrepreneur, however, you cannot afford to be productive only 20% of the time! You have to be productive 100% of the time. You cannot afford to be in anxiety/fear mode where nothing gets done.
Shawn Achor is a leading researcher on happiness and productivity studies. Shawn finds that the happier people are, the more productive they tend to be. He proved that people who are very happy are over 40% more productive than people who are just moderately happy. Put another way- you cannot afford to not be happy! As an entrepreneur, it’s not about willpower or how many hours you actually put in. You have only your goals and dreams to answer to. It’s the best AND the worst thing about being an entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur’s responsibility is to create value. How do you transition to an entrepreneur from an employee? Ask yourself how you show up in your life and how you contribute value. The secret is to make society reliant on you. (I’m speaking in a very broad context here.) I consider anyone that makes a living by creative means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs create more value than they consume. The law of the universe is that you’ll always be paid back for what you put out there. And since money is just a byproduct of service, entrepreneurs will-by that universal law- be rewarded for the value they create.
There were times in my life when I was unhappy and my productivity would always be affected negatively by that. The number of people who hear this show will be affected by my message, which will be affected by how happy I am. Your happiness level affects EVERYTHING you do in a huge way.
But at the end of the day, how many hours did you REALLY deliver?
Give yourself a score of 1 to 10 for each hour. And as an entrepreneur, if you end a day saying “holy crap, I wish I had more time to do things today” then you know you had a good day. You know you’re in the happy, productive zone. THAT’S being an entrepreneur.
Guilt is the most debilitating form of fear. You absolutely CANNOT afford to have it. Do whatever you need to do to get rid of it. Because people are easier to manipulate when they are afraid. Put your head up, stop worrying about the future, and deliver today. Play full out today. Do it again tomorrow, and the next day. Surround yourself with other people who play full out. Cut everything else out of your life that doesn’t support the dreams that you have. Any relationship with anyone or anything that doesn’t support your dream is holding you back, and you don’t need it.
Your dream is your passion, and you need to protect it. Leave the naysayers to bother somebody else and project their fear and anxiety somewhere else. Be ruthless in protecting your dream, and carve everything else out of your life that doesn’t support it. That’s how you stay in your place of productivity and get the most done.
Here’s some great resources you can use to do your own research on this topic. “Blue Zones” by Daniel Buettner are pockets of society where people have lived for 100 years or more; Google it, find their website, and take their happiness assessment. (You’ll see an amazing correlation between happiness and living longer.) Shawn Achor measures people’s happiness by asking people to write down one hundred things they are grateful for, try doing this yourself. There’s so many little things in your life that you can- and SHOULD- be happy about. By doing this exercise, you’ll identify these positive triggers and shift your brain from the things that make you fearful or anxious to things that make you feel gratitude and happiness. This will increase your productivity and make you feel better about yourself. As an entrepreneur, just watch what happens when you’re feeling more happy and productive. There’s a serious snowballing effect from that.
Do NOT allow fear or anxiety into your life.
It can only affect you if you allow it to. It could show up in the form of an environment, a person, anything. Protect your vision at all costs against such things that drive you to be fearful or anxious. They are killing your productivity. If what’s in your life does not align with the purpose you’re on this planet to serve, you MUST remove it. Nothing is more important. And in the end, you’ll literally be happy you did.
My WAKE UP CALL radio show is on Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday at 10:30 am ET (GMT – 5). Join the thousands of entrepreneurs around the world who are waking up to their possibilities every week! Catch this week’s call right here.