What would you be doing if there was no such thing as fear?
I posed that question to my friend recently, then turned it on myself.
The answer was scary.
Not because I would be doing something horrible, but because the gap between what I’m doing and what I would be doing was still there. And it was larger than I’m comfortable to admit.
Why is that? Why does a gap exist for most people between what they do for work and what they’d like to be doing, or wish they could do, or would be doing if money were no object?
Some of the more skeptical people I know would say, “Because what we would like to be doing isn’t realistic!”
That’s small thinking. I don’t buy it. I think that’s the easy way out. And I’ve debunked that myth in RESET already so I’m not going to spend my time addressing it here.
Rather, I think the answer is self-sabotage.
It’s easier to say “it won’t work” or “the numbers don’t add up” or “how would I even do it” than it is to be vulnerable, raise your hand, and say, “I can do that.”
It’s easier to get all logical about it and question it to death, then go back to working that mediocre job.
I’m an expert in self-sabotage, by the way.
For 7 years I didn’t publish RESET because “who would read it?” or “what if it’s not that good?” or “who would publish it?
Then I published it. And sold 1,200 copies in the first year. And coached more than 200 people as a result. And brought in an income to support my work. And built influence in the area.
When I tell that story, people look confused and say, “So why didn’t you publish it 7 years ago?!” Because 7 years ago there was no certainty. In fact, the day I published it there was no certainty. Isn’t that what stops all of us? No guarantee that it will work?
The better question is “what aren’t YOU doing that you could be doing?”
And what’s stopping you?
Call it what you will, the answer is probably fear, which is a hallmark of self-sabotage.
Trust me, I know. I’m in the same boat.
The way out? Don’t think so much. Just take action. Then iterate. Then act. Then iterate. Then act.
Just. Do. The. Thing.
Yes, but not if you show up every day and execute a job description.
There is no inherent satisfaction in doing the bullet points of your job. Satisfaction is derived from bringing your best self to the bullet points and doing them in your unique way.
For example, I have a good friend who is a dentist. His job description may read like this:
He doesn't inherently love cleaning teeth or doing a root canal. But he does love this:
He would tell you that he didn't love dentistry, but he's grown to love being a dentist. How?
He applied his uniqueness to the job at hand.
He connects with his patients, teaches his hygienists, motivates and inspires his team, and gives advice and counsel as asked. He prepares himself to do so everyday by meditating, studying, and serving people. And this method has sustained him in a career he doesn't inherently love for more than 20 years.
So, before you leap from your current job in search of more fulfillment, check yourself against these questions:
Note that my dentist friend didn't change the nature of the work to find satisfaction. Cleaning teeth still happened. Root canals still occurred.
And neither should you.
You shouldn't have to stop lesson planning or filing people's taxes or creating law briefs or conducting geological surveys to love your work. But you may need to start bringing more of yourself to your work. And that requires self awareness. So get clear about this:
…is every person you meet.
I can trace virtually all of the 150+ people I’ve coached in the past year and 45+ clients back to approximately 10 people.
Like the Kevin Bacon game, the degrees of separation are small between the clients who have supported my business and allowed me to continue to grow and a core group of friends and past colleagues. These were early followers, believers, supporters, and advocates.
Here’s the catch: I didn’t build a relationship with any of the "core ten" expecting to tap that relationship for future opportunity.
I built a relationship with them because I cared, I liked them and I wanted to add whatever value I could.
Years later, when I launched Proof Leadership, I turned to this core group for feedback, ideas, and support. I didn’t even ask for business. And yet, they gave me business, referred me, and fueled my growth.
I shudder to think where my business would be today had I shunned those opportunities to build relationships or said to myself “what’s the point of meeting up — there’s no immediate payoff.” What if I had stayed in my office, kept those relationships superficial, or not explored them at all?
Over the past two days, I’ve had several meetings that have no direct connection to future earnings. At least that I can see. But I know better now…every interaction is an opportunity for connection and trust. And when you add value to other peoples’ lives with no expectation of return, the law of reciprocity kicks in and balance is restored in the universe.
A simple contact today could mean a huge opportunity in the future.
Who have you had a meaningful connection with this week? What value have you added?
Hi! I'm Dustin.
I post here once a week on Tuesdays, every week, at 4:59am. You can also sign up below to have these posts magically air-dropped straight to your inbox.