Choices in LifeYour mindset can make or break you when it comes to making choices. Hear me out on this. First, I think you would agree that we make choices every day. We choose to go out to eat or make dinner; to go to a comedy or see a horror flick; to work for someone else or be an entrepreneur; to take risk or to set back. Day in/day out, minute by minute we make choices. Some are split second decisions and some are very well thought out. I find that the ones that are very well thought out are most often times where we get stuck.

We rationalize. We do the pros and cons. And, as we are weighing everything we tend to trick ourselves. For example it’s interesting to me that most times when someone chooses to sit back rather than take a risk they are totally missing the fact that “doing nothing” is as risky or more risky than taking action. But we try to believe the excuses we make when we make a major choice because it seems easier. The problem is that it may be easier in the short run, but not in the long term.

For example many people who choose the path of least resistance do so because they are afraid. If you can get them to discuss with you what exactly they are afraid of they may acknowledge that they are afraid of failing. Actually I don’t think it’s that so much. I think they probably haven’t failed at much because they haven’t tried many new pastures to allow them to fail. To quote Seth Godin, author of the fabulous book Tribes, “What people are afraid of isn’t failure. It’s blame.” They don’t want to be blamed if something doesn’t go right. So these individuals don’t put their ideas out there, or stand up for what they believe in simply because they are afraid that someone will scoff at them. Maybe it’s even their spouse or children who they think will laugh or think their idea is worthless and that if it fails they will be blamed. What a shame this is. How many great concepts are tucked away because of the fear of being blamed if it doesn’t work out?

What’s really interesting is that sometimes the imagined criticism doesn’t even have to be a huge deal. It’s not like there are going to be thousands of people that would stand up and point and laugh. It could be something as simple as the worry about someone saying “I’m pretty surprised you thought that would work?” As Seth Godin also says, “What makes this such a powerful deterrent is that the critical comments don’t even have to occur for someone to start worrying about them.”

I have observed this over and over again throughout my life. And, what’s interesting for me is that I actually thrive on criticism. I love working with a team that will say to me “Jan, what are you crazy? Have you actually thought about this?” Those comments give me the impetus to fight for my concept or really improve it because I have more feedback. I have always felt that if someone will challenge me then they must really care about me enough to do so. Call me crazy…many people have…smile. I will admit that it sometimes hurts when I find out that someone has been critical behind my back, but that’s mostly because I am hurt they didn’t think enough of me to tell me openly. My general response is “what can I do to make them see that they can be open with me to my face?”

Remember, that the ideas that are talked about are the ones that are worth talking about. I smile every time I see the Oprah magazine. Oprah is one of the most successful people on the planet. She tells it like it is. What makes me smile about her magazine is that she is on the cover every single solitary month. Can you imagine starting your own magazine and putting yourself on the cover every month? Wouldn’t you wonder if people would think “Boy she sure thinks she is something!” Oprah doesn’t worry about that and what really makes me smile is that I always think “if I ever saw anyone else on HER cover I’d be mad!” I’d be like “what are you doing on Oprah’s cover?” If Oprah had hesitated she wouldn’t have that wonderful magazine, she wouldn’t have that wonderful school for girls in South Africa and a lot of people would be a lot less fortunate because they would not have been the recipient of the generosity she can afford to bring to the world because she did not worry about blame.

Bottom line, if you have an opportunity to shine and you start to get that feeling of worry, ask yourself “How bad can it be?” Or, “Will I be better off if I do nothing?”

Then, take action and start making a difference! You deserve it

Always remember you are powerful!


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