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No Guarantees (and How to Make the Leap Anyway) – [Day 7 – 28 Days to GYST]


This is Day 7 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Welcome to Week #2!

Friday, Chris Johnson stirred the pot ( I knew he would!) when he took a hard stand on “entitlementality”. To kick off week #2, my super-smart and uber-connected friend, Elizabeth Marshall, stares down that thing that can strike at the hearts of us all – FEAR.

No Guarantees (and How to Make the Leap Anyway)

by Elizabeth Marshall | @lizmarshall

Last September, I did something that has always scared me…something I never thought I had the courage to do.

I jumped out of a plane at 13,500 feet above the ground and lived to tell about it.

Although the fears and racing thoughts leading up to the jump felt very real and generated a fair amount of stress, the real-life experience wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was much better than that – an exciting and exhilarating event that I would go through again.

Here’s a few reasons why:

For one, I had an expert guiding me through the process  a tandem instructor who made the jump with me (he was strapped to my back). Secondly, the safety measures were so rigorous and comprehensive that the risk of failure was basically zero. Because of the expert guidance and safety system, I not only felt less fear, but also was able to accomplish something so much bigger than I ever could on my own.

Now that it’s time for me to launch something equally scary (and exciting) for my business, I’ve been thinking a lot about that day and what enabled me to jump in spite of my fears.

After all, I’ve recently hit a bit of a speed bump (well, more like a boulder) around launching my new program for authors and messengers and the voices in my head (fears and irrational thoughts) are at it again, telling me it’s not worth the risk. I trust you know the feeling. 🙂

On the day that I chose to go skydiving, I had a choice to make:

Do I leap from the plane and ignore the internal chatter telling me to turn back?

OR, do I give credence to my fears – including some of the very reasonable concerns about what would happen if the safety systems failed – and choose to abort mission?

Thanks to the mandatory training class, I was able to set aside most of my fears – actually, legitimate concerns – about the safety systems and margin for error:

  • After I learned that each of the four harnesses used to connect me to the tandem instructor are built to withstand 5,000 lbs of pressure, I no longer felt afraid that I would be separated from my tandem instructor after leaping out of the plane.
  • Once I discovered that the main parachute was pre-programmed to release at a certain altitude, I no longer worried about how in the hell I would pull the parachute if the dude on my back somehow lost consciousness during our jump.

That left me to deal with the irrational fears, panic and pit-in-my-stomach sensations. You know, those fears that show up EVERY TIME we dare to do something great or that stretches us outside our comfort zone. And, those fears that have no basis in any kind of reality, but like to convince us that they do.

In choosing to examine my fears one by one, I was able to separate out the legitimate ones from the delusional ones. And, once I handled the reasonable fears (read: legitimate concerns), the irrational voices in my head didn’t scream so loudly in my head.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we don’t often (or ever) know how things are going to turn out. After all, we don’t have an expert guide strapped to our backs who’s made the jump 14,273 times before and can reassure us that it’s going to be ok. And, we don’t have a guarantee that our launch plan or project plan is as fail-proof as the 5000 lb harnesses that have been tested thousands of times.

And, let’s be really, really honest.

There is no one who can give us a guarantee whether our next program or product will be a hit, whether our book will make the impact we desperately want it to make, or whether our new business model will generate the revenue we want.

But, as Carol Roth says, we can learn how to stack the odds of success our favor.

Instead of letting fear stop us before we even start, we can face our fears (both the legitimate and irrational ones) and honestly evaluate the risks and realities surrounding our next jump.

So, if it’s time for you to ‘get your sh*t together” around your next program, book, product or any other aspect of your business, here’s what I recommend:

1) Identify and confront each and every fear

To do this, make a complete list of fears you have surrounding your upcoming program or “thing”.

Afraid you might be rejected by clients? Write it down. Worried you’ll spend $5,000 and not sell enough programs to recoup your investment? Write it down.

By writing down your fears, you’ll take back control and can begin to see the hidden risks that might be causing you to put off your next program or business offering.

2) Separate the legitimate concerns from the irrational ones

Now that you have your list of fears, divide these fears into two groups:

Group #1: Legitimate Concerns

Group #2: Irrational Fears

In doing that, you have a much clearer picture of the specific risks or concerns you need to address in order to move ahead. For example, you might realize that you you’re afraid of spending $10,000 on a live event, given that your monthly income is only $2500. That’s definitely a legitimate concern, especially if you don’t have a solid plan to increase your income to pay for the event.

But, your fear that every single person in the world will hate you if you go through with the event is more along the lines of an irrational one. It’s still a fear, but one to handle differently than a legitimate concern.

NOTE: If you’re having trouble determining which fears are grounded in reasonable concerns and which ones are just your reptilian brain wanting you to stick with the status quo, I recommend Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, can help. Also, Tim Kelley’s worst-case scenario method in his book, True Purpose, is one I’ve used very successfully.

3) Determine ways to eliminate, solve or minimize your legitimate concerns

Now that you have your list of legitimate concerns, look to see which ones stir up the most fear. Are you afraid of losing money? Or, is the emotional risk of ‘putting yourself out there” causing you to feel nauseous? Or, perhaps you’re scared this project is a waste of time and energy?

As you look at each concern, determine what you can do (if anything) to reduce or even eliminate these concerns:

  • Instead of spending $10,000 for your first live event, can you beta-test a smaller version for a fraction of the cost?
  • Before investing gobs of time in designing a 12-month coaching program that you’re not sure will sell, can you test the idea as a single teleclass?
  • Afraid your book idea is the wrong one? Test one idea with your followers and ask for feedback.

To support you in doing this, I highly recommend you get to know Carol Roth, author of The Entrepreneur Equation. Now, I know I’m biased (Carol is a client), but Carol is masterful at helping entrepreneurs evaluate the risks and rewards of their next venture and she’s got some incredible tools and processes to help you do just that.

4) Take action!

Now that you have clarity around what you can do to minimize your fears (risks) around “making the jump’, pick ONE THING you can do today and do it!

* * *

Decide TODAY to fully face your fears (both legitimate concerns and the irrational ones – and then get going!

See you in the air!

Elizabeth Marshall is dedicated to helping messengers spread their message and sell their books. She does that through her coaching, teleseminars, and out-of-the-box workshops, like Book Breakthrough NYC.

You can learn more about her by going to

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