My Secret for Turning Fear Into Opportunity
Being in business for yourself is anything but predictable. For some entrepreneurs, the ups and downs lead to many sleepless nights which are spent digging for the answer; the one magic button that will produce miracles.
Sometimes racking your brain for the answer can generate results, but typically it creates nothing more than a headache. What I'm about to suggest for those of you in this predicament may seem counter-intuitive, but if I could go so far as offer a money-back guarantee on this I would! Here it is: accept your circumstances, appreciate what you have, and adjust the way you think.
That’s right, it’s that simple. It’s what I call the A++ Method: Accept, Appreciate, and Adjust. The simple A++ reminders can make your life so much easier, and get rid of those nighttime headaches. Recently I had the opportunity to see these three steps put into action in a way I’ve never before witnessed.
During a week-long visit with my sister, Janine, I realized that my kid sister was intuitively following the A++ Method. A few weeks ago Janine underwent a complicated hip replacement surgery. Nowadays, one would think this is no big deal, but Janine has Down Syndrome. Her ability to comprehend the reason for such a surgery, let alone why she has been taken from her home and roommate of 25 years and deposited in what she calls an “old folk’s home,” is limited at best. Needless to say, Janine began this journey in a fearful state of mind.
Fear is also a common state in the lives of many entrepreneurs. And, if not careful, that fear can dictate your actions and keep you from doing what is best for your and your business. But like Janine, you can conquer the fear and emerge a champion. It’s time to take the word “fail” out of your vocabulary and get an A++!
Accept: If things are not going your way, accept that this is your reality, for now anyway. At first, Janine resisted being in a foreign environment, but after a few days she began to accept her new reality. The simple act of letting go of resistance seemed to raise her spirits and help her to see the possibilities. She basically had two choices: resist and be miserable, or accept and make great things happen.
When you examine your current reality accept your situation, let go of the negative emotions and get ready to move on. Examine your choices from a new perspective. Janine accepted that she couldn’t go home for some time yet so she took hold of the things that were within her control. She could make friends with the employees and cheer up some of the other residents, which would bring her great joy. She could participate in activities and even ask to be taken around the courtyard in her wheelchair. In addition to being much happier, Janine is healing more quickly now. Who knows? She may even get to go home sooner than planned. Janine’s reality has shifted entirely!
Once you recognize your choices, create a manageable action plan. Fear is a feeling of loss of control. When you find the means to take your control back, amazing things can happen!
Appreciate: Take time to recognize the things about your life and business that are going well; things that you are grateful for. Recognizing this puts things into perspective and will help you to become more optimistic. This will increase your energy and ability to get a good night’s sleep. Recognize what you are learning and all that you have achieved and allow yourself to feel gratitude and appreciativeness; this is critical to success. Gratitude has the power to shift your state of mind and your energy level; and with more energy you can break the cycle and create powerful change.
Adjust: If negativity has seeped into every brain cell, it’s time to adjust your way of thinking! Looking at the doom and gloom side of things will only get you more doom and gloom, and I doubt that you want more of that! Begin to think about what you DO want. What are the possibilities?
After about a week of giving into the physical and emotional pain, Janine began to realize that there were things to look forward to. “I’ll be able to dance—and bowl—and walk up and down stairs again,” she said to me. As she put her mind to finding the upside of her situation, and see it as more of an opportunity, her eyes lit up. She further shifted her state of mind by pumping her arms in victory, “I’ll even take you with me, sis!” she said.
Sometimes we need to go through difficult times in order to fully understand what it is we want, and to put us on the path to our dreams. Hopelessness can seep in during these times, but you can overcome that. Janine adjusted her thinking and disrupted her state of hopelessness by taking on a new belief; there is a brighter future, she will be able to do things that she couldn’t do before! And in order to create a future of dancing, bowling and stair climbing, Janine had to have this surgery.
As you apply the A++ Method to your own life, notice the shift in your physical and mental energy. Negative thinking drains us of all energy. With small adjustments to your thought process and a simple plan in place, greater possibilities and opportunities will occur. Before long, your future will look brighter and you will remember why you chose the life of an entrepreneur!
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.