OK, so you’ve ridden out the worst of the this economic storm. You’re still alive, but your car’s sputtering and running out of gas. And it’s dark and you’re not sure where exactly you are or going. It there was a soundtrack to your life, now would be the time when the music raises the hair on the back of your neck.
You wish you had more choices, but you don’t. To make it through the night, you have to get out, face your worst nightmare and defeat it.
Unfortunately, our own nightmares aren’t as simple to identify as needle-boy above. Our own nightmares are facing up to things we need to do, but that we hate doing. Not only do we hate doing them, but we’ll swamp ourselves with busy work just to keep from thinking about doing them. When times are good, or we feel we can get by on inertia, that may be fine. But neither is true today.
So, how do you identify your nightmares? One way is reflect on what are those things that you do that just seem to sap the life energy out of you. Or that give you a knot in your stomach just thinking about. For each one of those activities, think about whether they actually help you grow. Also, think about how you’ll feel once you actually do them. If the answer to the first is “yes” and the answer to the second, “Great” or at least, “Relieved”, then it’s time to Cowboy Up!
What may be some of these nightmares?
Getting a referral.
Making a cold call.
Giving a presentation.
Launching a new product or marketing campaign that might fail.
Doing anything that everyone, except your gut, tells you won’t work.
Having a tough conversation with a vendor or employee. Or your boss.
Shutting down the product line that got you started, but isn’t selling any more.
Like Dreams, Nightmares are best dealt with in bite-size chunks. Think about what you need to do today to help you get through this. Don’t try to get it all done at once. Just one, small thing. Setting an appointment, for example. Getting a phone list. Asking for a P&L.
Now, that wasn’t hard, was it?
The other thing you need to do is to tell people what you want to do and ask them to support you. Sometimes, support is in the way of assistance, but in this case, support may feel more like a kick in the pants. In any event, don’t keep your nightmares (and what you intend to do about them) to yourself. Share them, tell people why you are facing up to them, tell them how you’ll feel once you actually get through them. That way, when they do come to kick you in the butt (as they invariably will), they’ll be able to remind you why you’re doing this in the first place.
And remember, facing up to your nightmares does not mean turning away from your dreams. Most often, you must face the nightmare in order to grasp the dream.
Mark Weishaar says
Very thought-provoking, Doug. Thank you!
I’ve had my share of “nightmares” too….but have gotten through them, some easier than others.