Episode 122: Preparation destroys all fears, with Stephen Woessner.
Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
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Good Morning Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner. Before we jump into today’s topic…I just want to say thank you for all the feedback…the emails…the text messages…the Facebook posts…the tweets…and the comments on LinkedIn. I am so grateful for you being here and being part of the every growing community that is Onward Nation.
Please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. My direct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org — and yes — that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email. So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.
Now, during today’s solocast, I want to focus your attention on one four letter word that we all hear quite often — or at least the manifestation of the word — when we are in conversations with other business owners, friends, family, or even in the self-talk we have with ourselves…and that four letter word is FEAR!
To feel fear is of course natural. Everyone feels it whether in business or in life — it is a human emotion that is as much a part of us as breathing.
But the key is to be able to recognize that fear is all in your mind — it doesn’t actually exist — therefore it has no real power over you unless you let it. But oftentimes people are embarrassed to admit their fears — or that they are feeling fearful about something. So they try to mask it by saying “Oh no…I’m not scared…or I’m not afraid…I’m just stressed.”
And as I learned from Tony Robbins…anytime someone says to you that they are just “stressed”…that is code for… “Help, I’m afraid or fearful about something going wrong.”
To help illustrate these important points about FEAR…I am going to share a deeply personal story with you, Onward Nation…a story that I have not shared during in a solocast before. Maybe I have been afraid to, because I am always self-conscious about an episode being too much about me…and then missing the mark with being relevant.
It’s a story from way back…23 years ago to be exact…the summer of 1992.
I was the ripe old age of 20. I was an airman in the United States Air Force stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base just outside of Rapid City, South Dakota. My job was like 100 percent pure adrenaline nearly every day. You see…I had the honor of working on the Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System — or ICBMs for short…yes, nuclear missiles. So for about 3-½ years…my office…was deep inside missile silos…and I loved every second of it. And I got pretty good at troubleshooting systems, fixing the systems, and my curiosity for bigger and more complex challenges grew more and more insatiable. Then one day — I met my match.
Listen to the rest of the story in the episode.
Onward Nation, I had a choice that day in the silo. I could have chosen to be paralyzed by fear, which would have caused us to lose critical time, and then that could have cost me my life, or perhaps the lives of my teammates. Or, I could decide to push through the fear and do what I knew MUST be done.
I have never been scared. I was fearful. I thought there was the distinct possibility might die inside that silo.
And it was also exhilarating — I felt blood pumping into areas of my body that I didn’t know existed.
But where did the power and energy to move forward through the fear come from?
It is because finding a solution was a MUST…it was not a SHOULD…and we were prepared to take action and make the result outcome so.
Steve — who you will meet inside the full story in the episode — and I did not look at each other and ask, “What do you think…should we find a solution to this problem?” No! We were all in. We were PREPARED and fully committed to finding a solution. It was a MUST because our lives depending on finding a solution. And we made it so.
So how does all of this relate to you inside your business, Onward Nation?
Most of us when we are fearful in our business — or in relationships — we are not afraid because we don’t know what needs to be done. Instead, we are afraid to do what we DO KNOW needs to be done. The only reason we are afraid is because we haven’t made that opportunity, that decision, that new venture, that new hire, that need business partner…a MUST. It is still a SHOULD…and we are asking ourselves questions like, “Should I do this?” “Should I consider this instead?” “Should I wait a little while longer?” Should I ask the advice of a couple more people?”
And then what happens is that we “SHOULD” all over ourselves.
JUST DECIDE…make it a MUST…and move forward with gusto, Onward Nation!
Let’s take this deeper by bringing in some insights and wisdom from several of our Onward Nation guests.
Aaron Walker, my incredible guest on episode 108, said to me, “You need to fear missing an opportunity more than you fear failure.” Just think about that for a moment. “You need to fear missing an opportunity more than you fear failure.”
You will miss all of the shots you never take…you will fail at all of the new product introductions you never introduce…every high performing employee you never hire and take a chance on, will be lost opportunity. And the list goes on.
The NBA legend Michael Jordan once said, “A loss is never a failure until you make an excuse.” So stop making excuses, Onward Nation and instead pursue all of those opportunities with gusto…with proactivity…with all of the energy and enthusiasm that pursuing a MUST requires. As if nothing else matters.
And then there was the powerful message I learned from the wisdom of Kara Ronin, my guest on episode 96. She said to me, “Stephen, you can only grow as far as your biggest fear – there’s always going to be fear that will limit you if you let it.”
BOOM, Onward Nation.
Fear will drag you down and keep you there if you let it.
But realize…it is you who is allowing that to happen because you are manufacturing the fear. It is your creation. But if we follow Kara’s advice…and we do not let fear limit us…then we can rush into that missile silo and diffuse the situation…or we can rush into our businesses, Onward Nation and ignite the sales forecast, we can hire the team members you know you will need, we can have the courage to invest in R&D, or have the guts to fire the destructive customer that Scott McKain in episode 1 warned us about.
And last but not least…I want you to thoughtfully consider the wise words of Leanne Pressly, my guest for episode 48. “Fear can be crippling in a business — learn to slay the dragon and keep it at bay.” So when you are finished listening and studying this episode…take 10 minutes…sit quietly…without distractions…and thoughtfully consider this question, “Who or what is the dragon in my business right now that I need to slay in order to move to that next level?”
And then realize that any of the fears you have associated with that dragon — or the slaying of that dragon — are completely made up in your own mind. They are all in your mind.
Just DECIDE to slay the dragon, Onward Nation, and make it a MUST! Don’t be paralyzed by fear.
You are more beautiful…more amazing…more powerful than you could ever possibly imagine. You have an abundance of talents and God given skills within you that you haven’t even begun to reach for yet. Sometimes we all need someone to help you uncover those things so you can see and realize you are powerful beyond measure. My hope for you is that you have realized some of that today while listening to this.
I learned several important lessons that day in the silo. First…that anything is possible — and I — you — we all have the power to make it so. Second…I learned that leadership and mentorship can unleash a person’s true potential. Had Steve, my team chief on that day in the silo, shown me fear — I too would have been even more afraid.
Had he acted hastily, I would have acted hastily.
Had he hesitated, I would have hesitated.
He did not stand up and say… “Follow me because I am your leader…I am your mentor.” He earned that position and respect from me through his actions. He showed me talents and abilities I didn’t even know I had.
Onward Nation…you need to do the same things for the employees you lead in your business every day.
So with that…
I want to say again, thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — your time is sacred and I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine. However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine — I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
I will be back tomorrow with my interview with Bill Hoagland — another one of today’s top business owners. And the discussion is off-the-charts amazing. Until then, onward with gusto!