Thursday, 25 September 2014

The FOUR important questions successful people ask ... Part 3 - WHY NOT ME?


Out of the four all important questions that successful people ask, regularly ... this is perhaps the most challenging for many ... including ME.  Actually, on reflection ... it is interesting how long I've procrastinated writing this next blog post, compared to the first two in this series;  weeks!  Asking 'WHY?' and 'WHY [the hell] NOT?' just seems to flow from my head to my mouth without pushing. Asking WHY ME? ... well that strikes my core … challenges me to question what stops ME taking action.

In the two previous blogs of this series of 4, I talked about the question 'WHY' being a perfectly good question; definitely a long held habit of mine based on curiosity ... and my absolute favourite question being 'WHY NOT'; the stronger challenging question that is driven from an attitude of continually seeking better options.  Asking 'WHY NOT' feeds the need to explore richer colour, deeper texture and 'outside-the-box' thinking ... to live a fuller life ... and champion change. 

If you haven't started there, I suggest you read the previous blogs first -  PART 1 - WHY? and PART 2 - WHY NOT?

We ask WHY questions because we are searching for answers ... solutions to stuff not working ...        new ways, innovative ideas, exploring options, and seeking growth.

So ... let’s say you have come up with some great new ideas ... or some obvious ones that others in your team or community seem to avoid jumping on  ... and it's clear that to make positive changes, someone has to influence it, drive it, lead it ... so, the question that comes up is:

Who me? ... Yep YOU.   Why NOT YOU?  Do you often hear that inner challenging voice? I'm wondering if there is another, some-what louder voice that comes up within a nano-second of the first thought ... that shouts:
"I can’t' do that "
"What if I fail?"
"What if they reject my ideas and don't support the program?"
"I'm not experienced enough ... qualified enough ... smart enough ... confident enough ... connected enough ...  thin enough ... attractive enough ... basically - I'm not good enough"
"I'm not ready"

It is these thoughts that hold us back from having a go ... from being at the forefront to lead change ... from starting our own businesses ... from promoting our expertise more broadly ... or perhaps from simply saying what we think in meetings and leaning in to decision making tables. These inner thoughts are driven by our FEARS.   It is our own fear that stops us in our tracks, stops us from progressing, holds us back from making real changes in our own lives, and a real difference in our communities. 

We can put numerous names to types of FEARs ... but generally they will fall into these three core fears:

1.       FEAR OF FAILURE [making mistakes / not getting desired results]
2.       FEAR OF REJECTION [not being loved / liked / accepted / supported]
3.       FEAR OF NOT BEING ENOUGH [linked to concern over others expectations or what others think]

Personally ... I believe the greatest of these is the "fear of not being good enough" ... and this comes from comparing ourselves with others ... often over-estimating what we think others may expect ... and under-estimating the skills, passion and drive we can bring to the program. 

The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think

This is a particularly crippling fear for many talented, potentially inspirational women ... we are constantly marketed to and conditioned to feel like we don't measure up to 'the ideal' women, 'the perfect' mother,  'the super-women' who does it all and still looks great on the front of a magazine cover.  We women put ourselves under so much more pressure to 'be good enough' than most men ever worry about.

An interesting researched fact that illustrates this, is that most women will not put their hand up for a career promotion unless they feel they have 90-120% of the skills and experience which THEY believe the job requires [that is: - job description + their own expectations + what they think others will expect of them].  Too often women think "I'm not ready" for that. Men, on the other hand, will often go for the same career promotion with as little as 50% of what the job description outlines ... believing that they have the ability to grow into it.

The first thing is to be aware of what the core fear is that is stopping you from stepping forward to do what you know you really want to do ... recognise what is coming up for you and name that sucker! 
The second and most important thing is to know that core fear comes from inside YOU ... which means YOU have originally created it!  When that risk-adverse voice comes up for me [and yes, it still does at times], I like to recall this quote:

"The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it" - Jordan Belfort

My point is this: Fears are just stories we tell ourselves ... and if you have initially created these stories that stop you from BEing YOU and doing the things you want to do ... then you can change that now by simply creating new stories to tell yourself.  

Learn to question your own fears ... a great question to ask yourself is:  REALLY?

FAILURE?  If I make a mistake or things don't turn out quite like I thought they would ... is it really a failure?  What if I learned from that and tried a slightly different direction or a new option?  

Do you think that Richard Branson NEVER makes a mistake? ... or tried ideas that didn't quite work? Successful people know that the path to greatness is not a straight, upwards pointing arrow ... it is a zig-zag path of learnings.

REJECTION?  If some people don't like the program, or don't support your ideas ... does it really matter ... does it really decrease the value of it? What if they are simply risk-adverse and held back by a fear that you have already overcome? What if you surrounded yourself with only those 5-6 supportive people who lift you higher?

Successful people are often the ones who go out on a limb ... think differently, are different, are daring, are impractical and anything but slaves to the ordinary or average ...  and these are usually the ones that end up making a difference in the world. Most innovative successes have come from small groups of people doing things differently ... not following crowd opinion.

NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH?  Really?  ... by whose standards? What if there was no competition?  ... What if you embraced your authentic self and simply acknowledged that you are an awesome, imperfect, unique individual with valid opinions and ideas ... that there is no one like you and therefore you are in competition with no one?

When you believe in yourself and all that you are, you know that there is something unique inside you that is greater than any blockage or created fear.

Believe in yourself ... you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think

Those who know me ... know that I embrace individuality, uniqueness, standing out and being different.  From appearance - funky hair, clothing combinations, tattoos and piercings -> to continually researching new ideas ... I have no desire to look like, copy or be like anyone else. I recognised this as a strength from a very young age ... perhaps initially as a rebellion from the highly conservative, strict, judgmental environment I was raised in [more on my journey in my up-coming book]... and in later years,  with an awesome feeling of freedom from not having to conform to others expectations,  I became confident to question status quo and passionate about leading change. Why wouldn't I?  

When you embrace your individuality, and proudly be YOU ... there is no desire to follow the flock, nor will you lose sleep over the opinion of the other sheep.  

Successful people influence, initiate and lead change ... and the world needs more people to step forward and help drive that.


Not yet? ... not the right timing? ... not ready? ... not interested in being out front? 


Why not initiate the conversation ... influence the direction ... support others to lead the change. 
Don't be content with being a sheep ... 

Be a game changer ... the world has enough followers. 

Perhaps you are often thinking 'not yet' ... procrastinating and full of excuses? ... make sure you read my next blog - Question 4 - WHY NOT NOW? 

If you'd like to explore your unique strengths with someone who can help you get to the core of what stops you from stepping forward, standing out and speaking up, engage a Life / Leadership Coach  ... I would be happy to help or refer you to someone else who can assist you.

Stay tuned for Part 4 - WHY NOT NOW? 

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