I really admire successful people. And over the years, I’ve studied many of them, read their biographies and books and tried to emulate their strategies.
These books have helped me, but it wasn’t their strategies that gave me the most valuable insights.
I discovered the one thing all successful people have in common: a trait that all of them have practiced without exception:
They try new things. Risky things. Innovative things.
Their progress and success are based on breaking the mold and doing the things very few people are willing to do.
And I’m stating it so simply because it is that simple and that difficult.
Sure, we all try things in our business:
We read articles and books
We put together a website
We try new software and online tools
We participate in social media
We ask for referrals from existing clients
We get out there and network
But with most of these, we’re just going through the motions. We’re doing what everyone else does to just survive in business.
Most of these activities are safe and don’t challenge us, let alone lead to breakthroughs in performance and results.
This article is an attempt to help you understand what it takes to successfully try new things.
Why do we settle for doing the safe things that everyone else is doing? Why do we hold back and play small more often than not?
It’s very simple, really.
Trying new things is scary!
If it wasn’t, we’d all be outrageously successful at everything we attempted to accomplish.
And clearly, we’re not.
Instead of trying new things we delay and procrastinate. We get stuck in perfectionism. We judge and second-guess ourselves. We are paralyzed by analysis. Or we hope things will change.
The first thing we tend to do is make a whole lot of excuses. We convince ourselves that we’re not ready yet.
We don’t try new things because we believe…
we don’t have good enough ideas
we’re not smart enough
we don’t have enough information
we are lazy
we’re not committed
we don’t know the right people
we don’t have enough time
we are disorganized
we don’t have the right resources
we don’t have the experience
we are not creative
we don’t know where to start
we have bad habits
we can’t get a break
All of these are just delay tactics. And none of them is legitimate.
The one and only reason we don’t try new things is:
Many people, much wiser than me, have a few words to say on the subject:
“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.” – Frank Herbert
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paul Coelho
“When we are afraid, we pull back from life.” – John Lennon.
“Fear cuts deeper than swords.” – George R.R. Martin.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato
“Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.” – Dan Brown
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. – Yann Martel
“Fear kills everything, your mind, your heart, your imagination.” – Corenlius Funke
“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.” – Krishnamurti
Yes, the only thing that stops us from trying new things, from success, from living our dreams, is fear.
Therefore the only way to succeed is to face our fears and try something new anyway.
And this is a lifelong process, an everyday process.
Thankfully, many wise people have even more to say about going beyond your fears.
“Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.” – Isabel Allende
“I believe that every single event in life happens as an opportunity to choose love over fear.”– Oprah Winfrey
“We meet fear. We greet the unexpected visitor and listen to what he has to tell us. When fear arrives, something is about to happen.” – Leigh Bardugo
“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.” – Chuck Palahniuk
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks
“There’s no shame in fear, my father told me, what matters is how we face it.” – George R.R. Martin
“It’s better to die laughing than to live each moment in fear – Michael Crichton
“Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” – Bruce Lee
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie
“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” – Aristotle
“Courage is feeling fear, not getting rid of fear, and taking action in the face of fear. – Roy T. Bennett
Face your fears. Find your inner courage. Take action.
This is really the only strategy we need to remember and come back to over and over again, no matter what we want in life.
Don’t be distracted by a million strategies that everyone tells you are the answer to success
– Develop a perfect 10-step morning routine
– Read one book every week
– Exercise 30 minutes every day
– Write down your goals and look at them daily
– Meditate before you take on a big challenge
– Write a step-by-step action plan before you start
– Make sure your goals are aligned with your purpose
– Keep lists of every task and project important to you
– Write down all the things you’re grateful for
– Pursue excellence in everything you do
Forget about all that stuff. It only clutters your mind.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these, except that we think they hold the key to our success.
Instead, they just distract us from taking action now on that new idea or project that’s important to us.
We don’t need to be perfect or make things perfect and organized before we take action.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, trumps trying something new that we fear. And then simply doing our level best.
Everything in our lives neatly falls into place when we make that our primary success habit.
All the ideas, strategies, tips, people, and resources that we need will come to us naturally and easily when we face our fears and take action.
If you don’t believe me, believe these people:
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Everything you want waits on the other side of fear.” – Lisa Wingate
“On the other side of fear is your breakthrough.” – Jeanette Coron
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers
P.S. You’ll find some wonderful quotes (more than 6,000 of them) about overcoming your fears on Goodreads.
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