What Becomes the Long Way Home

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When setting goals, creating marketing plans, or moving boldly in the direction of innovation, there is a strange force that holds some entrepreneurs back-that repeatedly makes the long road home more becoming. That strange force is simply fear.

Fear is what stops many entrepreneurs from actually achieving the level of success they state they aspire to.

It’s an odd and somewhat counter intuitive notion really. On the surface most entrepreneurs are fearless, if they weren’t they would have stayed in the comfy confines of the cubicle.

But, entrepreneurs don’t suffer from a fear of failure; they suffer more often, in my experience, from a fear of success.

And this fear manifests itself in self-defeating behaviors such as failing to move in the direction of a true point of differentiation – to stand out and be noticed for being different than everyone else in their industry.

  • Grabbing onto the marketing idea of the week instead of building a marketing strategy and brand through a solid and consistent commitment to proven tactics.
  • Starting down one path of innovation only to give up on it before the idea takes shape enough to support the brand.
  • Allowing the unimportant, the seemingly urgent, to crowd out strategic marketing work
  • Continuously swooping in to derail the flow of work from employees
  • Abdicating the full understanding of the cash, financial reporting, and accounting metrics to a numbers person
  • Holding on to work, and sometimes a sense of worth, that should be delegated
  • Thinking you are too credible to ask for help
  • Dismissing new technologies as something too hard for you to grasp
  • Eating, sleeping and drinking too much – or any other behavior that keeps you where you are today, or in other words – Taking the long road to the point where it becomes the only road.

So, do any of the above statements make you feel a little anxious? Are you perfectly comfortable right where you are?

I actually hope I’ve pissed you off because then maybe you can start to explore ways to embrace some change and chaos in your life as tools to fight the fear of success.

There are plenty of reasons the fear of success lingers, even as you strive for your goals. For many it’s simply not really knowing how they will handle success, or who they will become. Sometimes there are people in your life that secretly don’t want you to achieve new levels – are you trying to please one of those?

I really didn’t intend to get all Dr. Phil on you today, but I’ve seen people finally grasp this idea and all of sudden they realize there’s a shortcut they’ve been overlooking for years. Success is the ultimate inside job and until you understand this, it will elude.

This first step is to accept this problem may exist. Then, and only then, can you begin to craft a vision of what true success looks like for you and what you are willing to stop doing in order to achieve it.

Next, find someone or something that can hold you accountable. For some this may be as simple as setting and clearly defining goals and action items. For others, this may mean finding and engaging a coach or mentor.

An accountability measure like an executive coach, marketing coach, success coach, mastermind group or whatever you want to call it, can be the difference between staying stuck where you are and moving forward. There’s something about knowing someone is going to be checking up on you and calling BS when you don’t quite get things done.

And finally, create your success plan, your picture of where you are headed, document it and add real numbers, milestones and action steps then give that plan to someone who is committed to pushing you past your fear of success and showing you the secret path home.

And now I would like to issue a challenge as a way to get you thinking toward making 2009 different.

Pick one simple thing you know you need to do to achieve marketing or business success and publicly state that will do it – right here in the comments. Use the readers of this blog as your first accountability booster. Stretch a little and make sure that your commitment makes you sweat just to think about and you’ll be on the right path.


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