Tag Archives: entrepreneur

How to be Successful: Lean Into Your Fear

Man on Tightrope Over Skyline
Courtesy of Coen Tan – http://coentan.com/

Ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that one of the most critical success factors is the ability to lean into your fear. What does that even mean, though?

Certainly there are as many definitions of what it means to be successful as there are people who actually give thought to it. Why? Because success is very subjective. What it means to you could be entirely different from what it means to me.

Couple that with the definition of fear, which is also pretty darn subjective, right? I mean, we humans fear all kinds of things: fear of flying, fear of people, and, heck, even fear itself… as well as nearly everything else under the sun.

Somehow when we put these two words together, they take on minds and bodies of their own. There’s even a fear of success! Crazy, right??

I’ve read, by the way, that fear is taught, not inherent… for the most part. “They” (whomever the “powers that be” are in the scientific realms that study this stuff) say that we’re only born with two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.

Personally, this makes sense to me because you spend roughly nine months incubating in a safe, warm, cramped, muffled environment only to find yourself released one day into a seemingly loud, cold, and very big place that’s completely foreign to you. If I had to guess, I’d say the “loud” thing is due to the fact that, while in the womb, everything you hear – from the sound of your own mother’s heartbeat and voice to the roar of thunder to the slam of a door – is muffled by distance, liquid, etc. And that fear of falling thing (which I find to be akin to the fear of flying – If you fly, you could fall, right? That could be a long way down.) comes into play because, again, you’re incubated in a relatively small compartment where you’re sealed on all sides, yet get to move however you want with no risk of ever falling. So, when you’re born, everything you knew to be safe is gone – hence fear.

Bottom line: If fear is taught… it can be un-taught, don’t you think?
Alright. Now let’s begin to apply this to becoming a “successmaker”.

Since we all pretty much have definite thoughts and reactions to success and fear, yet they’re almost polar opposites, and each cancels out or prevents the other from catching traction in your life, how do we use this knowledge to our advantage? You lean into your fear – provided your quest is to be successful. If it’s not, well, you needn’t do anything except allow your fears to control your life. For the rest of us…

1.  Spend some time first figuring out what defines success to you. Be clear and specific about it. Is it money or acquiring money (because, ironically, that’s NOT the case for everybody – even some people who have lots of money)? Is it to be the best mom or dad you can be? Is it to Pen and Paperachieve a sense of fulfillment with your Creator and find peace in that relationship? There’s something. Figure it out, and write it down.

2.  Spend some time figuring out what you fear most. This may take a bit more time because humans are funny creatures who tend to mask their fears with other emotions or justifications. Your fear of commitment may stem from a feeling of abandonment way back in your early childhood. I’m just sayin’.

For instance, I have a significant hydrophobia (or fear of water). This doesn’t mean, like, bath water, but, like big bodies of water – pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc. I can tell you with 100% certainty that this fear was learned as a result of a sunny summer afternoon with my sister at the pool – who thought it’d be “cute” to take her little sister who couldn’t tread water down to the diving area and “drop her off”. So see, this experience as a young child ruined swimming and water sports for me from that point on.

Write yours down.

3.  Here’s where the painful and most productive work takes place. CHOOSE which is stronger: your will and desire to succeed or the fear of “whatever” you feel. (Some people even have a fear of people, believe it or not! That’s a real thing, apparently.) If you decide the fear is stronger, do nothing. Stop reading. Stop this short exercise. Put down your pen and paper, laptop, or other device. You need not expend one more ounce of energy to achieve your end result and defined level of success. If your desire for success is stronger, however, read on.

Still with me? AWESOME! I’m still here, too. Lol

4. Make a decision right now to “lean into your fear”. This means: consciously plan a way to meet your fear head-on, work through it, and overcome it. Now, odds are, you’re gonna have to engage in so-called fearful activities a few times; just stick with it.

Taking my fear of water issue, for example…

When my son was fairly young, he LOVED water. He was probably part fish.

I saw this early on and decided to open opportunities to explore this love – despite my own fears. To this, though, safety and precautions had to be implemented, right? So, off to the YMCA we go… at 6 months of age… until he was about 8 or 9. Swimming lessons. I knew that if we were at a pool or something (because I wasn’t about to allow MY fear to ruin HIS love) and he found himself in trouble, beyond a shadow of a doubt – fear or not, outcome good or bad – I’d go in after him. Now, maybe I’d surprise myself (like other heroic stories) and “miraculously” save us both, but I wanted to stack the odds as much in our favor as possible.

As he grew, though, he wanted ME to engage in swimming and water sports with him – even to the point that HE determined he’d “teach” me to swim… just so we could enjoy this time together! My heart ached.

So, I “leaned into my fear”, took a deep breath, picked up the phone, and scheduled some private swimming lessons for myself. I didn’t tell him about them but went while he was in school and such. (Telling him would ruin the surprise.) Then, one day a few months later when he asked me to get into the pool with him, I said, “Okay.” He was so surprised and excited. I’ll never forget that day… his expression…

Don’t misunderstand. I’m NOT a world-class swimmer, and I still do NOT like big bodies of water. (Let’s say I have a deep respect for them and what can happen in them; that sounds good.) I AM a bit contradictory about it now, though, because the idea of a cruise actually sounds appealing to me (I’ve not quite been able to secede to the “pleasure over potential pain” in this activity yet.). I did go para-sailing with my son once (tandem, just me and him), and actually found that I like that a lot – as long as I never hit the water. Lol And, various water sports look like a bunch of fun to me, like jet skis and stuff. (I only boat on shallow-water river type excursions and when my bonus dad is driving because everybody else – seemingly – thinks, again, that it’s “cute” to scare the girl who’s already terrified. I’ve learned, so I just don’t do it.)

Lucky for me… my fear of water doesn’t prevent me from achieving my definition of success. If my definition involved becoming a marine biologist or something like that, there could be a much greater issue. Get it?

So, where the proverbial “rubber meets the road” is the spot where your definition and desire for becoming a “successmaker” clashes with your fear. THAT is where you lean into it.

Let’s scale it back a bit and choose a very simple example.

If you’ve found yourself in Sales but have a significant fear of the phone – essentially, calling people – you have two choices:

• Allow your fear to dictate and find another career choice where you may achieve a lesser degree of success

Or…

• Lean into your fear.  If you detest the idea of calling your clients, following up on potential sales, etc., maybe your choice is to do that which you fear most first every day. That way the seeming burden is lifted, and you feel freer the entire rest of the day. And, if you’re hardcore, maybe you give up your sales job for a bit, go to work in a call center to overcome your fear and hone your phone skills, then return to a career in sales better equipped to deal with your fear or have none of it at all.

Make sense? Great!

Now you’re armed with the knowledge that, ultimately, the sum of all fears is rooted in your mind. So…

You also know how to be successful by leaning into your fear.

Go get ‘em!

What Do You Think

Goals-to-Results in 3 Easy Steps

Dreams to GoalsAs the year winds down, many of us will sit down to think about and set New Year’s resolutions.  Less, but still some will go a step further and call them goals.  Still fewer will take another step and actually write them down for frequent reflection and reminders.  And, only a fraction of the original lot will put in the time and effort to reverse-engineer those goals, putting action behind them so they become quantifiable results.

 Do you want to make this the year that your resolutions and dreams begin to come to fruition?

Or, are you going to be happy and satisfied with yet another year of making resolutions that fail to last even three weeks into the New Year?  Decide now.  If you’re in the second group, you can stop reading; I have nothing to offer you.  If you’re in the first group, however, hold on to your hats because we’re about to embark on the journey of a life-time – and I can hardly wait to hear about your successes and achievements!

  1. Make a list of dreams you’d like to turn to results in the coming year.

Remember:  This is one year – not two, five, or ten.  Keep them realistic and manageable.  That said, this year’s goals can be part of bigger goals that will take a longer time frame to accomplish, which is okay; just see and know it for what it is.

  1. Pare that list down to your top three-to-five highest priorities.

It’s not “bad” to have more, and I don’t personally think there’s a right or wrong answer here.  What life has taught me, though, is that, for the majority of people, focus is easier to achieve and maintain when there are fewer distractions.  So, the more you can place a laser-focus on your target, the better your results are going to be and the faster they’ll come.

  1. Reverse engineer the goal.

What does that mean?  Well, this is the part where you really begin to exert some mental power and time into the process because it means you need to actually think about the steps it will take to achieve that goal.

For instance, if you want to lose weight or become more healthy in the New Year (unsurprisingly one of the most common – and least fulfilled – resolutions that people make each and every year), put some thought into what this means for youWhat defines “weight loss” for you?  Is it 10, 30, or 100 pounds?  Everybody’s different, so define what’s best for you.  Then, choose the steps that are going to help you make this a reality.  You may end up with an action plan that looks something like this:

GOAL:  Weigh “X” pounds by December 31, 2015

  1. Eat one serving of fresh fruits and vegetables each per day
  2. Weight LossEat six small meals each day instead of two or three big ones
  3. Go out to eat one time per week as a reward for sticking to my plan
  4. Enhance my food regimen with high-quality vitamins and minerals to maximize my energy, stamina, mental performance, etc. (Free Health Assessment available here)
  5. Do some kind of cardio workout 20 to 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  6. Do some (light) weight training 20 to 30 minutes ever Tuesday and Thursday
  7. Weigh myself every morning and record my progress
  8. Envision myself as this lean, healthy machine daily (5 to 15 minutes)

Make sense?

But what if your goal is non-physical?  Let’s say… financial, since most people rack up a lot of credit card and other debt at Christmas then try to recover from it all year long — so they can do it again next year, right?  This is the year that pattern gets interrupted, and the way you look at and feel about money moves to a higher plain.  Your plan may look more like:

GOAL:  Eliminate “XYZ” Credit Card Debt

  1. Create and adhere to a budget (based on percentages, not dollar amounts, for psychological reasons; aligned with your frequency of pay)
  2. Credit Card DebtContact my credit card providers and request a lower interest rate
  3. Improve my financial education by reading on the topic 20 minutes daily, by those who are where I want to be or are at least debt-free
  4. Apply a consistent additional amount to my payment every month – or make a partial payment every time you get paid
  5. Set-up separate accounts for different purposes:  savings for short-term accumulation, checking for paying expenses, special-purpose savings for taxes or insurance or household expenditures…
  6. Give to some cause or charity every month (or pay period)
  7. Match your “giving” to yourself, and put it in another account or investment vehicle
  8. Plug-in to a free Financial Freedom Friday call for knowledge, strategies, and support (click the link or send a blank email to awlist3692158@aweber.com for details)

See, the thing is, most people make resolutions and goals with the greatest of intentions; they simply fail take actions that drive results.

And, honestly, most people try to rely on themselves to “make the magic happen”.  In reality, though, the encouragement, support, and sharing of ideas and knowledge you get by working with others who have (a) either “been there, done that” or (b) are like-minded and also taking action will compound and accelerate your progress, getting you results beyond anything you can imagine.

Make your plan today – not midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Keep your “head down”, focusing on  your goals; and by this time next  year, you’ll come up for air, look back at how you and your life has transformed, and be amazed by how much you’ve achieved.

Your partner in success…

Crystal Schwindt

www.crystalschwindt.com

Leverage: The Key to Success

Ask any truly successful person you know what the secret to success is, and I have no doubt they’ll tell you, “leverage”.

Gates, Buffet, Kiyosaki, Gates CollageStudy notable, successful people – Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates — and you’ll also find they all say the same thing: Wealthy, successful people become that way (and, probably more importantly, stay that way) because they learn and master the skill of utilizing effective leverage.

 

Many people believe that the word “leverage” in this context only applies to money. You know, the use of “other people’s money”. OPM, right? We hear about this a lot. That’s certainly accurate, but also pretty narrow-minded, in my point of view.  If you dig just a bit further, though… below the surface… you’ll find that the truly successful, ultra-wealthy find and utilize not only the leverage created by using “other people’s money”, but also time, talents, skills, locations, and a multitude of other variables.

See, the poor and middle class are often slaves to their money because instead of learning to leverage their own money (or the use of “other people’s money”), they put their money in “investments”, where the person or institution handling those investments is actually leveraging that exact same money – for their own benefit.

It’s like this: You put your money in the bank – like, a savings account or something. Many checking accounts pay 0% in interest or dividends unless you already have upwards of $5k or more in that account. Well, the vast majority of America’s (statistically) have less than $1k in savings, let alone their checking, which tends to be the put-n-take account to pay bills from, as a norm. So, let’s forget about checking accounts and look at savings, right? Right! Okay, here it goes.

Your money goes into your savings account. IF your account even pays or qualifies (two very different things) for interest or dividends, it likely pays you 1% or less. That same bank, however, uses your money to fulfill loans to other poor and middle class folks who also have less-than-enough money – but they’re loaning it out at 7% and higher! Usually upwards of 10, 11, 12, 13, or higher percent! That means you get your measly ½ to 1% in interest or dividends, and they get the difference: 9% and up, on average. Are you excited yet??

“But,” you say, “I don’t have more money… or enough money… to do any leveraging with, so I can create wealth.”

That may be true… for now. What do you have, though, that you’re squandering — instead of leveraging — to put yourself in a better position? Understand this:

If you’re not using leverage to your own advantage, you (by your very essence) are probably serving the role of leverage, helping to grow somebody else’s wealth and success.

The big asset being squandered by most of us: TIME.

ClockIn my opinion, time is the most valuable asset each one of us has, yet it’s also the one most often wasted.  It’s spent doing nothing productive.  Sitting in from of the TV.  Playing video games.  America is the most entertained country in the world!  And, since the implementation of “No Child Left Behind” and decision to cease teaching things like handwriting in our schools, we’re also on the fast-track to becoming the dumbest, too.  (Don’t misunderstand, I don’t condone teachers or schools who pass children along into higher grades just to get them out of their classroom.  In their quest to slow things down for some children to catch on, however, they’re also damaging the more advanced students who need a faster pace and more engagement to keep their brains learning at an optimum rate.  Likewise, I disagree with things like removing handwriting in exchange for typing or computer skills because the mere act of hand-writing has been scientifically proven to create more activity and synapses in the brain than the act of pecking at a keyboard.)

Most people are just sleep-walking through life, never making good use of the time God has given us. So, here’s a novel idea for you: If you’re currently lacking money (but want some… more…) but have plenty of time, leverage your time right now to move yourself ahead, by learning new skills and trades or changing your mindset in preparation of the wealth you’re going to create, so you can recognize and take full advantage of those opportunities when they arise — then keep that money when you get it.

Once you begin to see results in this area, begin making the shift away from trading time for money. Leverage. Remember: What’s your most valuable asset? Time, right? I mean, you do realize that time on this planet for a human being is finite, yes? And do you also understand that none of us (Can you say NONE of us?) truly know whether our time ends today, tomorrow, or another 20 years from now? Internalize that for a moment. Truly. Stop and think about that fact for just a minute. Once you get that into your heart (not your head; your heart), you’ll find you better start playing life full-out!

“Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid!”
~ Basil King

A business acquaintance of mine recently shared with a group of us that about a week ago an incident occurred with his mom that shook him to his core and brought this realization into a very personal state for him. I mean, of course he logically always understood it… but now it’s really real.  Here’s some background and the way it went down:

He’s grown and successful with his online network marketing business. HE has traversed the “great divide” that many in network marketing seek: moving from a part-time to a full-time, self-sustaining business. One of his goals and reasons for getting into that kind of business is the fact that there are no “glass ceilings”, and he wants to retire his mom… who continues to work two jobs, despite some significant health challenges. He wants her out of that situation – and, for the record, I believe he’ll accomplish that in very short-order now.

Well, I believe it was just last week… His mom’s blood-sugar level apparently hit bottom in a fast way, causing her to have a reaction that HE mistook for her dying… in his arms! He said when he went to her, she was unresponsive, and he felt no detectible signs of life. He shook her. He yelled at her. He even called 911, I believe, because he felt her go limp in his arms and thought she’d died – right there, right then. Just a few minutes later, his mother “awoke”. She remembered none of it and was behaving as though nothing had happened. That moment, he said, changed his life and focus in a matter of just a few minutes. He said he realized – despite his work ethic and current dedication – he’s not doing all he could to achieve his goal of earning the income necessary to retire her for life.

Now, he’s already pretty darn good at leveraging his skills and focusing on the “tasks at-hand”… but do you think he’s even more focused now?? Of course he is! Do you think he’s coming up with some very creative ways to leverage his resources so that goal is met on a shorter timeframe? Yes, I can guarantee it! (By the way, incidents like this are not only motivational but, internalized correctly – like Bruce is – become leverage against the little voice that lives in nearly every person’s head that says, “You can’t do that, “ or “Slow down, what’s the rush,” or “It’s just too hard”.)

As we embark on a new year and you’re making whimsical resolutions Goals – or, if you’re more serious and intent with your life, perhaps you even take the time to sit down and write out your goals – don’t just make a list of stuff that you’re going to give up on three weeks after the new year starts. You’re already taking the time to do this task… Why not leverage that same time and energy to find even more resources that you already have that you can use as leverage to propel you into your future success for 2015?

That would be time well spent!

To your success…

Crystal Schwindt
www.crystalschwindt.com

How to Own a Job

DO YOU OWN A JOB?

Sounds like a silly question, right? Amazingly enough, most people who DO own a job don’t even realize it. So, let’s break it down and see if you do… and if you want to continue to.

See, you’d have thought that I, of all people on the planet, would’ve know… understood… the difference. Why? Because even though I remember my mom working a normal j-o-b for a while when I was in high school, both my bonus dad (aka step dad) and my real dad, well, I never remembered either of them working a regular job – like, as an employee. Now, in defense of one, I never developed a very close relationship with my real dad (another topic for another post lol), but I knew enough to know that he seemed to never work – not like I was used to seeing family members and friends work. Truthfully, not even as my bonus dad worked. And my bonus dad always had his own business, as far back as I could remember, so, to me, he was a business owner. It wasn’t until I was exposed to Robert Kiyosaki and his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, containing the illustration of the Cashflow Quadrant and explanation of the four quadrants that it really made sense to me – AND allowed me to hone in on which quadrant I personally wanted to be in.

Quadrant #1: Employee

This is what we all seem to visualize when we hear talk of a “job”. You know the drill, right? For me, it started when I was 14 years old, but I think laws restrict that now, which is crazy in my mind. Anyway, at the age of 14 I wanted stuff, okay? Designer jeans, shoes, etc.  Cash Flow QuadrantStuff. And, my parents said, “No.” Really what they more fully said was, “It’s our job to provide your needs, not your every want. Jeans are jeans. There’s no reason to pay that kind of money for a pair of jeans. If you want them, you’ll have to earn your own money and get them.” I don’t know what they thought would happen, but… to work I went – and, yes, they had to then provide transportation for me. Lol (Later, as a guardian to my niece, I got to see what a friggin’ inconvenience and responsibility that can be!)

I talked to people. I put in applications. And, I landed a job bussing tables at a restaurant where my parents somehow knew the people who owned it or something. (Hhmmm… You think there was some behind-the-scenes negotiations going on there??) I was in heaven… sorta. I didn’t really like the work, and I didn’t really care for going to school, doing school work, then also going to a job – but I loved buying that first pair of ATB jeans! I’ll never forget it!

I punched a clock at a business somebody else owned, performed duties I was instructed to, and, in exchange, I received a paycheck. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an employee. Quadrant #1. This is where most working class people “live”. photo from rayhigdon.com

Quadrant #2: Self-Employed

Now, this was my bonus dad and (I thought) my real dad. (I learned later in life that this wasn’t the case. I’ll get to that in a minute.) I wasn’t stupid, afterall; I knew they weren’t employees.

As a business owner, you own the business. Duh! That also means that YOU do the work. YOU are self-employed. If a customer calls, you go. If work needs to be done on equipment,you either do it or call the repair person to do it. If there’s a complaint, you handle it. You take the calls, keep the books, send out invoices, make deposits, reconcile accounts, etc. The business doesn’t run without YOU, plain and simple! When you see “Bob’s Home Repairs”, this is usually Bob’s gig. (Occasionally, you’ll find a franchise or something that’s chosen a mom-n-pop name, but not as a norm.) The hole-in-the-wall pub or eatery… usually a self-employed business owner. The head bartender or cook is usually the owner. And, under most circumstances, may be the ONLYperson running the business.

What does that mean? Well, if he or she is sick, has a family emergency, wants to go watch the kids’ basketball game or piano recital, or anything else outside the realm of business, the business shuts down. No cashflow is coming in. This also means that money is being lost or potentially even “going out” when no money is “coming in”. Just think about vacations, right? I remember a few growing up but not many. Any guesses why?? You should be getting the picture about now, right?

YOU… OWN A JOB!

Quadrant #3: Business Owner

This is a little better than a self-employed person. Some would say quite a bit better. Given only these options, I’d tend to agree: THIS would be the “cream of the crop”!

A business owner is like a franchise owner or something like that. They usually still own the business, per se, but, more importantly, they own a system. And, they’re usually still involved in the operations in some way, some how. Where the “split” occurs, though, is in the fact that when a business owner takes off for the afternoon, the business still runs. The fam wants to go on vacay: Cashflow still happens. Money still comes in, and money still goes out. There’s a little more freedom in this quadrant. More responsibility? More headache? Well, the nay-sayers would argue that, and, I suppose, in some situations that could be true. My argument would be that they should’ve hired a higher quality of staff – ones they could trust, who possess impeccable work ethic, and who have the common sense when it’s alright to call and interrupt the vacay, if needed. Lol It’s usually a huge monetary investment… but the higher quality of life could be well worth it!

Quadrant #4: Investor

This is where the REAL freedom lies. Almost everybody WANTS to get here. Think about it: If you ask 10 people, who wouldn’t want a life of total freedom AND enough cashflow to do what they want, when they want, with whomever they want. Heck, I wanted that my entire life! Lol The challenge is that few people really understand this quadrant and even fewer ever get here. THIS is where my real dad “lived”, so I came to learn.

An investor is the epitome of what it means to have your money work for you. The people in this quadrant “worked hard”, make no mistake about it. People, for as many who scour the internet looking for the “get-rich-quick” schemes… I sincerely believe there are none. Are there ways to accelerate your success? Yes, absolutely! What are genuinely thought to be shortcuts, though? Nope. Don’t believe in them. There are a few reasons:

1. This quadrant requires knowledge… expertise… an understanding… personal growth…

2. Many people who already occupy this quadrant are unwilling to “give the goods away”.

So, if you’re interested in getting here… the place of passive, residual income… you must be realistic, tenacious, and willing to do whatever it takes for however long it takes to get you here. In other words, don’t ever give up. Learn, grow, ask questions, get mentors, try, fail, pick yourself back up, and keep doing it until you find the right vehicle, have become the person you need to be mentally and emotionally, honed your skills for the vehicle you’ve chosen, then make the leap to Quadrant #4.

My real dad… I still don’t know really how he did it. I mean, like, I don’t know the actual “moves”… and, he’s passed away now, so I’m unable to ask him. What I do know is that he began purchasing real estate. That was his biggest vehicle, I believe. Now, he also became involved in other things: funding business ventures for others; loaning personal capital; investing in material objects that he knew would appreciate in value over time; and, investing and reinvesting a portion of the cashflow to ensure the longevity of his life in this quadrant. He invested in things that generated income, right? Not things that cost him money. THIS is my chosen quadrant!

So let me ask you again…

DO YOU OWN A JOB?

Is that really where you want to be? If you’re in any other quadrant besides that of an investor, are you satisfied being there? Is that the destination you’ve always imagined your life’s journey taking you? If you answered “no” to any or all of these questions, I need to ask you one more… Well, maybe two… questions:

What are you going to do about it? And when?

Yesterday Past

Make the most of it.

~ Crystal

www.imfreeandrich.com

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki