Don’t Lose Your Brave

The 2020 Covid 19 crisis has us living in unprecedented times.  Everything from our economy to our education has been disrupted.  We have endured community wide shut downs, added masks to our daily attire, and learned to keep a respectful 6 ft distance in all our social interactions.

Most leaders are living in decision fatigue.  Instead of creating yearly plans and following the steps to attain those goals we have been forced to make new decisions on a daily basis.  The carefully cultivated yearly calendar has been decimated and we are now “flying by the seat of our pants” in our weekly and daily planning.  Many have seen their businesses disrupted as events that were sold, planned for, and advertised have been forced to either reschedule or cancel all together.

Such system wide disruption leads to discouragement.  It’s hard to be stuck in the “in between” while you watch your business suffer.  The experts say that someday this crisis will be over and we’ll return to a “new normal,” but many wonder if their business will still be around to see it.

One of the causalities of this kind of forced inertia is the loss of excitement to pursue new goals.  Uncertainty breeds conservative thinking which may be safer but it is definitely more boring.   I have been struggling to dream big and find myself reluctant to follow through on opportunities that six months ago I would have jumped on.

A friend challenged me with the phrase, “don’t lose your brave.”    It is basically a way to say, stay courageous, but I like the way he said better.  He helped me to remember that I not only need to stay full of faith, but I need to actively grapple with the thoughts that fill me with fear.  It’s important for leaders not to “lose their brave.”  People depend on us to dream the dreams that push our organizations out of their comfort zones.

What are the dangers of “losing our brave?”

  • If we lose our brave we could miss out on life changing experiences.
  • If we “lose our brave” those we lead may lose faith in us.
  • If we “lose our brave” when things return to normal we will regret the lost opportunities to grow.

I challenge you fellow leader, “don’t lose your brave!”   You believed big in the past.  Dream big again.  Refuse to cower to uncertainty and push yourself to take on new challenges.

An exceptional life must be a life of courage.  People who impact the world for good must be courageous.  We often think of the bravery that is needed when we read a quote like this one:

“First responders are the people who when a crisis situation occurs can be seen running toward the danger when everyone else is running the other way.”

So we say, “yep, you have to be brave to be in law enforcement.”

But there are many areas where courage is needed that are not as dramatic, but just as demanding. For instance:

  • Having the courage to speak up when everyone else is staying silent.
  • Having the courage to bear being misunderstood without needing to explain.
  • Having the courage to accept innovation and with a positive attitude rather than operating out of the fear of the untested and new.
  • Having the courage to endure a painful situation or injury week after week and month after month.
  • Having the courage to lead when others are content to simply follow the crowd

You won’t see these acts of courage written up on the front page of the newspaper, but they are just as demanding and sometimes even more so, than running toward the sound of gunfire.

How do you develop courage?

Courage is a heart issue. In fact, the word courage comes from the Latin word for heart – “Cor.”

So we develop courage by developing our heart, or by increasing our love.

  • Deepen your love for others.
  • Focus on loving integrity and doing right.
  • Seek to love adventure over safety.
  • Keep your attention on staying calm, not being loved by everyone.

These are things anyone can work on. Each one of them will build up our heart which will naturally grow your courage.(credit to Dr. Brene Brown)

Running toward danger is courageous and I’m sure everyone reading this is willing do exactly that.  But, to be truly courageous you must work on demonstrating courage in the areas others may never see.  For that you must grow your love.  Learn to love big and become fearless.

 

 

Throw your Soul Through Every Open Door

 

Considered by many to be one of the greatest songs of all time, “Rolling in the Deep” was acclaimed by music critics and represented a commercial breakthrough for the artist Adele, propelling her to international success. The song reached number one in 11 countries and the top five in many more regions. It was Adele’s first number-one song in the United States, reaching the top spot on many Billboard charts, including the Billboard Hot 100, where it was number one for seven weeks. By February 2012, “Rolling in the Deep” had sold over 8.7 million copies in the United States, making it the best-selling digital song by a female artist in the US.   From Wikipedia website

Although the song is about a troubling romantic breakup, it contains a powerful thought for success.

Throw your soul through every open door.
Count your blessings to find what you look for.

  • To succeed in life, you must learn how to give yourself wholeheartedly to new adventures.
  • To find staying power in crisis, you must learn to count your blessings to find your contentment.
  • To offer the world something unique, you must learn to turn your sorrowful experiences into golden insights.

Is there something you are interested in that you think if you engaged, it would help you move forward? Stop waiting to join. Stop testing the waters of involvement.  Quit paddling around in the shallows of your dream.  “Throw your soul through the open door.”

Half-hearted efforts will never lead you to success.

Determine today that you are going to throw your soul through the next door that opens for you.

Is Your Faith In Yourself Greater Than Your Fear of the Future?

 

“Kim Beckham’s message at the East Texas Leadership Summit 2018 provided a blueprint for me to take action in an area of my life.”

This was a quote sent to me by a young lady, who heard me speak at a local leadership event. I shared in the speech some key truths from my soon to be published book,“Game Changers, The People, Places and Ideas That Change Your Life.”  She wrote down five of them and put them to work. Just like I do when I coach people, I encouraged the participants in the seminar that knowledge is only useful when we put it to work. This woman did just that and she landed a new job with a huge increase in pay.

In my last blog, I wrote about her use of the concept I coached her on, which was “doing a new thing.”  Today, I want to share the second concept I shared with the group, which was overcoming fear by developing faith.

Here’s the teaching:“You will be able to take action, when your faith in yourself is greater than your fear of the future.”  People get paralyzed by fear, because they are uncertain of the what the future will bring.

  • What if the economy has a downturn?
  • What if my health fails?
  • What if a major competitor to my business moves into town?
  • What if, what if, what if?

These kinds of open-ended fears can cause us to fail to make the bold moves that will drive our careers and lives forward.

The fact is that the future will always be unknown, but there is one thing you can know for sure and can count on to make your dreams come true.  You can count on yourself.  You know you!  You have come this far in life by using your mind, skills, and passions to reach goals that once seemed impossible to you.  You can count on you.  Remind yourself of your strengths.

When I coach people, I encourage to them to create the list of 25.   Everyone should have one in their desk drawer, on their phone, or somewhere else close by.  This is a list of 25 things you are proud of that you have accomplished in your life. It can be as small as learning to ride a bicycle, or as large as starting a business.  The key is to write them down and don’t stop till you get to 25.  Then, when your fears rise or you’re having a negative day, pull out your list and read them aloud.  Remind yourself of just how competent you are and then get back to work.

When your faith in yourself is bigger than you fear of the future, you can and will accomplish your goals.

So take action on your dream today.   Make 2019 the best year of your life by replacing fear of the future with faith in yourself.

 

 

What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid?

What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid?

I came close to refusing the offer to become the Pastor of the amazing church that I am privileged to lead.  I was afraid that I wasn’t up to the task.  I told myself, “I should tell them thank you, but you should get someone else.” I am extremely grateful that the Lord spoke to my heart in that moment and said, “Oh yes you can do this.  If I have called you to this task, I will empower you to accomplish it.”   Thirty-one years later, I am still enjoying the opportunity to lead this fantastic group of people, which has certainly been one of the greatest of my life.

Are you letting fear keep you from something that you would like to do?

Is there a position you’d like to apply for, but you’re afraid to submit your resume?  Is there a project you’d like to take on, but you are afraid you will fail in bringing it to pass?  Is there a relationship you’d like to pursue, but you fear that you’ll be rejected?  Do you wish you had the courage of people around you, who seem bold enough to chase any goal they get excited about?

Here’s a little secret: They are afraid too.

Everyone feels fear.  Everyone has doubts.  Everyone feels that they are not up to the task.  But, successful people push through their fear and do what they dream anyway.   It takes courage to put yourself out there in front of people.  It takes a brave heart to write a book on relationships, offer a class on success, or apply for a demanding job. The ugly thoughts of your inner critic begin to hammer at your doubts. They attack you with questions like:

  • Who are you to think someone would listen to you talk?
  • Who do you think you are to write a book?
  • Who made you an expert?
  • You know you are not perfect. You’ll be a hypocrite if you write or speak about success.

Michael Neill wrote about his strategy for facing fear in his book “Financially Fearless.”

 “As I have written elsewhere, there is a tremendous difference between feeling the fear and doing it anyway and the freedom which comes from finding that space in yourself which is beyond fear. And the more time you spend living beyond fear, the sooner the answer to ‘What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?’ will become ‘Exactly what I’m doing now.'”  

How to push through fear to success:

  • Make the decision to try, after all, the worst you can do is fail
  • Make the distinction that failure is nothing more than a learning experience
  • Make the connection with your God and tap into His power
  • Make the leap of faith

In the beautiful movie “We bought a Zoo.”The father, Benjamin encourages his teenage son, who wants to ask a girl out, but is afraid to, with the story about how he met, the boy’s mother. Benjamin told him he saw a lovely girl through a shop window and found the nerve to walk up to a complete stranger and introduce himself.  This led to the great romance of his life.

Then he told his son:

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

What would you attempt if you found 20 seconds of insane courage?  I hope you find those 20 seconds, because I promise you, the world is waiting on your greatness.

 

 

 

 

 

The One Thing All Successful People Do

A Rigorous Commitment to Reality

“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”– Carl Sagan

The first key to mental toughness is to commit to facing the reality of every situation of life without flinching.

Have you ever tried to hide from reality?  Have you ever refused to open a bill that came in the mail, because you were afraid to see how much your debt had grown?  Have you ever refused to see your physician, because you were afraid to know what that pain in your stomach might really be?  Have you ever pretended not to notice the distance between you and your mate, because you were afraid to hear an honest answer to the question, “What’s wrong with you?”

Mental toughness demands that you face the truth.  One of the greatest questions you can ask yourself is, “What am I pretending not to know.”   It is staggering to think of how some of the most powerful leaders in some of the highest organizations, pretend not to know certain hard truths.

Mentally tough people have a rigorous commitment to reality.   They don’t ignore problems and hope they will somehow magically disappear on their own.  Mentally tough leaders encourage their subornates to tell them the honest truth about every situation, even if it is unpleasant or discouraging.

How hard is it to make the commitment to reality?

  • It could be as simple as deciding to pay attention to an uncomfortable, nagging feeling.
  • It could be as easy as not looking the other direction when you see something disturbing.
  • It might be as difficult as asking someone for the complete truth when you sense they are holding back.
  • It might be as demanding as setting up a meeting with a disgruntled client.
  • It might be asking yourself, “What am I pretending not to know?” 

First of all, reality isn’t the way you wish things to be, or the way they appear to be, but the way the actually are.   Secondly, the theory states that you either acknowledge reality and use it to your benefit or it will automatically work against you.”  Robert Ringer “Winning through Intimidation.”

In my next blog, I will examine the second attribute of mentally tough people; the refusal to dwell on past regrets or failures.

 

HOW BEING TERRIFIED CAN HELP YOU

 

 

 

I went zip lining in Costa Rica last week. I thought I was going to have to “wimp out” as I flew out into space on the first of 7 consecutive zip lines.  I am not afraid of heights and I’ve zip lined before, but never at such heights and speeds.  I didn’t want to go on, but I was with my church group and I refused to let them see me “chicken out.”

Flying hundreds of feet over the jungle canopy while supported only by a skimpy seat harness and a well-worn cable, I began to doubt my rationality.  What kind of crazy man risks his life like this I wondered? No, that’s not quite right.  What I really thought was, “Dear God what have I just done, please don’t let me die.” I was three zip lines into the experience before I began to relax and enjoy the amazing view and the thrill of speeding down the line. Once I got over my initial terror my senses were almost overwhelmed with the beauty below me and the fun of getting as close to personal flight as I have ever been.

Are you going through a terrifying time? Remember you are not alone. Starting a new business, career, or relationship can be scary. But often you’ll find that what waits on the other side of your fear will be one of the greatest experiences of your life.

What did I learn while terrified?
• Once you relax it gets good
• Beauty is available even when you are terrified
• Trust in those who have gone before you
• Use your peer group to propel you past fear
• Don’t miss the experience of a lifetime out of fear

When was the last time you were afraid? What lessons did you learn? Please leave a comment. I’d love to read your insights.