QUIT BEING AFRAID TO BE YOU

Quit being afraid to be you. If you want to create something that has power and lasts, then you have to be the authentic you, no matter who that annoys or makes angry.

A copy has no power to inspire.  A cheap knockoff has limited appeal.  People want to see and hear something that is real, and they get pumped when they encounter leaders who are irrepressibly themselves.

Why do we fear being ourselves?

  • We fear we are not good enough.
  • We buy into the lie that other leaders have it all together, all the time.
  • We have the tendency to overemphasize our failures and downplay our successes.
  • We feel arrogant to assert our ideas and opinions.
  • We wonder why people would want to hear what we have to say.

But, you are the only you in the universe.  You have life experiences that no one else has.  You see things in your own unique viewpoint and that viewpoint might just set someone free.

In the biographical movie “Walk The Line,”the young singer, Johnny Cash tries to get a record deal by singing a gospel song that has been recorded by Jimmy Davis.  The producer Sam Phillips stops his performance and says “this is awful.” Then he asks this question.

If you was hit by a truck and you were lying out in a gutter and you had time to sing one song—one song that people would remember before you’re dirt, one song that would let God know what you felt about your time here on earth, one song that would sum you up—are you telling me that’s the one song you’d sing?  That same Jimmy Davis tune that we hear on the radio all day about your peace within and how it’s all real and how you’re gonna shout it.  

Or would you sing something different, something real, something you felt?  ‘Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear.  That’s the kind of song that truly saves people.  It ain’t got nothing to do with believing in God, Mr. Cash, it has everything to do with believing in yourself!”

I don’t agree with Sam’s theology, but I agree with his plea for authenticity, and so did Johnny Cash. He put away his props and sang for the producer a song he had written called “Folsom Prison Blues.”  The rest as they say “is history” and a new star was born.

I ask you, what are you meant to say, sing, do, or produce?  Will you continue to spin out weak copies of other people’s work and ideas? Or will you start singing the song you were put on this earth to sing?

Quit being afraid to be you. If you want to create something that has power and lasts, then you have to be the authentic you, no matter who that annoys or makes angry.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Protecting Yourself From Panic

Panic in stormDangerous storms containing high winds and heavy rain passed over our neighborhood last night.  Thankfully we were blessed and had no real damage to person or property.  The media coverage of this storm got me thinking about how the media and others like to scare us into paying attention to their programs.  As I considered that idea I generated some questions:

 

 

Is it really necessary when trying to warn people to totally fixate on the worst-case scenarios?  Have we become so callused to media hype that we ignore even the most stringent of warnings?  What kind of impact is this constant use of scare tactics having on our lives?  What other warning signs do we ignore in our lives because we have been over exposed to fearful forecasts?

 

My first exposure to panic broadcasting came during the Arab oil embargo of the 1970’s,  I remember how the doom and gloom forecasters had us headed for complete worldwide financial meltdown.  It didn’t happen. Forty years later we are still moving on.   Some of the people who broadcast woe and anguish over every approaching danger are well meaning and truly see difficult times ahead.  But some of the panic mongers are just shrewd marketers who know that fear sells and people can be stampeded into buying or investing if you sufficiently tweak their insecurities.  What is the proper balance?   I know it’s foolish to plan a picnic in the middle of a tornado warning, but I am sick of having my emotions jerked around for benefit of marketers and broadcasters.

 

Truth- Times are hard and can be dangerous- we need to pay attention.

Balancing Truth- Times have always been hard and people have survived worse than what we face now.

Truth- Storms are real and can be dangerous- we should take adequate precautions.

Balancing Truth- People have experienced tornados, tsunamis,  and earthquakes before and not only survived but many are prospering.

Truth- Financial markets change, you can loose money if you don’t pay attention.

Balancing Truth- Some people make money in every kind of market.

Truth- Storms cause damage and you could suffer loss and your community could be affected.

Balancing Truth- Somebody has to rebuild those homes, so more jobs will be created.

Truth- There will always be storms and struggles in life

Balancing Truth- I can prepare and protect myself if I remember the most important step is not to panic.

As a people we are a lot more resilient than we think and we need to balance the fear and panic of the media with realities that with God’s help, hard work, and good friends and family we can survive what’s coming and maybe even prosper.

Working Through Mind Terrors

Macra_Terror

WORKING THROUGH MIND TERRORS

I am not talking about the nightmares that from which we awaken trembling and drenched in sweat.  That is the mostly harmless and rare occurrence that most of us experience from time to time.  Those kinds of terrors appear to be the stuff of the unconscious struggles of our mind and for which we seem to have no control. I am talking about the damaging and limiting experience of our imaginations spinning out of control.  Perhaps you have had this kind of terror. You make an error, maybe in business, maybe in your social life, maybe in your relationships.  You are aware that you have messed up and you logically count the cost of your mistake and realistically understand that it is probably no big deal and you simply determine not to do the same again.  But, here’s where the terror begins.  Suddenly, your mind is taking your error and calculating it’s possible ramifications on your life.  Ignoring all practical sense your imagination begins racing along a path of devastation and drama.  You see this mistake as taking on life changing implications that deal irreparable damage to your reputation, finances, and family.   You are gripped in a limiting and locked down mindset and begin loosing the zest you have for life.  You start second-guessing all of your recent decisions and start to question your motives in an unkind and unfair manner. Basically, you blow everything “way out of proportion” and you start living in a nightmare of foolish yet terrifying repercussions for your mistake.  You know you are being irrational but your mind just keeps racing ahead in its fears and you cannot seem to get back on track with your dreams. How do you stop such an event?

  • Talk the issue over with a wise and uninvolved party who can help you see the mistake more realistically.
  • Force your attention onto a positive alternative
  • Play  a round of golf or some sets of tennis or just go work out at the gym
  • Revisit some previous errors you made and honestly reflect on how they were frightening at the time, but certainly manageable
  • Remind yourself that every one is a  “Jerk “ sometimes, and cut yourself some slack. (I borrowed this one from an old “FastTrack” book.)

Make the decision right now to shorten the duration of your next Mind Terror.  You have too much important work to do to let a runaway imagination sap you of your creative energy and zest for life.  Save the “terrors” for the horror writers and get on with your life.