Saturday, June 25, 2011

Facing (and Fearing)

"Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Kind of an awkward quote by Emerson... not one of my favorites.]

#Trust30 Day 19 Assignment: Facing (and Fearing) by Dan Andrews

[My initial thought was, fear again??? There must be a LOT of fearful people out there for so many of the prompts to deal with this topic.]

Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. 

To me this goes beyond our simple understanding of intuition. I think much of what we give that label to is actually God's voice whispering in our ears. We were Divinely created for a purpose in this life. And, if we allow it, we are Divinely led every step of the way. Don't know what to do when faced with a difficult decision? Take it to God in prayer.

Our problem is that we are often so busy coming up with our own solutions that we miss God's direction in our lives and in our careers. Sometimes not knowing what to do or where the next step will lead leaves us in a state of inertia.

1) “What are the costs of inaction?” I find it can be helpful to fight fear with fear. Fears of acting are easily and immediately articulated by our “lizard brains” (thanks Seth) e.g. what if I fail? what if I look stupid? If you systematically and clearly list the main costs of inaction, they will generally overshadow your immediate fears.

It's when the pain of staying the same is more than the pain of change that we are motivated to take action. The cost of inaction is stagnation.

2) “What kind of person do I want to be?” I’ve found this question to be extremely useful. I admire people who act bravely and decisively. I know the only way to join their ranks is to face decisions that scare me. By seeing my actions as a path to becoming something I admire, I am more likely to act and make the tough calls.

Again, it's through taking action that we grow and develop. Sometimes our growth can be painful. Sometimes it doesn't progress in a straight line. Sometimes there is no way around our challenges; we just have to face them and go through them.

3) “In the event of failure, could I generate an alterative positive outcome?” Imagine yourself failing to an extreme. What could you learn or do in that situation to make it a positive experience? We are generally so committed to the results we seek at the outset of a task or project that we forget about all the incredible value and experience that comes from engaging the world proactively, learning, and improving our circumstances as we go along.

Actually, I think I'm pretty good in this area. When I fail, I can admit that I failed, analyze my actions to see what I should do instead. Regroup, try again. I rarely abandon a project altogether (although I have been known to do that a time or two). They say that the quickest route to success is to fail, fail fast, and fail often.

Now, do I think that failure is essential for success? No. Again, we are Divinely led, if we allow ourselves to be. Here are my three steps to success:

1. Study God's Word. While the Bible may not give exact answers for what we are facing (i.e., it won't tell you to buy the yellow house at 215 E Street), but what we will find is general guidance and direction for different types of circumstances and situations. It is in studying God's Word that we develop the God kind of thoughts, the mind in us that was also in Christ Jesus.

2. Meditate on God's Word. We are to fill our mind with the stories and examples in the Bible. Picture ourselves in those roles. See ourselves taking those actions. We are to see ourselves the way God sees us and describes us in his Word.

3. Speak God's Word. Regardless of appearances, we have to speak God's Word over our lives and circumstances. We are told not to let the book of the law depart from our mouths and then we shall make our way prosperous and have success.  It may feel silly to say you are rich when you have $5 in your wallet and your bank account is on empty. You may even feel as though you are lying. But, just remember, even God called those things that were not to bring to naught the things that were.

#Trust30 Day Nineteen

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