I wish I had the guts to…

Holding a Magic Lamp

People often say to me “I wish I had the guts to do what you do.” OK, most don’t say exactly that but that’s the sentiment.

Sometimes they’re talking about me running my own business, sometimes they’re referring to me running a marathon, sometimes it’s about me telling it like it is 😉

Although I hear it a lot, I’m still surprised when people say it to me. I don’t think what I do is anything extraordinary. I think everything that I do, other people can do and maybe even better! I don’t think I’m anything special. But I am. You see, I don’t wish it, I make it happen.

Is wishing just an opportunity to moan about what’s missing from your life instead of taking action to change it? I’m not saying that everything you wish for you can have, but what if you decided to stop wishing and start getting? What would you have to do differently? How much do you honestly want it and do you have the guts to get it?

Here is a 5 step plan to building guts.

    1. Step 1 – Get Over Your Fear.  There is usually good reason. You’ve had other priorities, you’ve been too busy, you can’t afford it or perhaps you’ve tried but failed. Thinking about why you don’t already have what you wish for, will help you work out what’s been holding you back. In my experience, fear is the single thing that stops us taking action to get what we want. Everything else is an excuse (often valid) but fear is really at the core of it.I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-hour Work Week” (now on my iPad!), and he suggests an activity that I think is great for getting to the bottom of fear.What you do is, imagine the absolute worst thing that could happen if you pursued your wish. Would it cause permanent damage? What steps would you take to get things back on track? Chances are you could turn things around right?Now imagine the more probable scenario – what is more likely to happen? I bet it’s likely that you could produce a moderate outcome rather than the worst case scenario.Finally, think about what it’s costing you not to pursue your dream? How will you feel in another 10 years if you don’t take action?
    2. Step 2 – Get Uncomfortable.  OK, this is where you need to get straight with yourself. It’s fine to wish for something that is within your means but if your wish is well beyond your means (resources, capability, control etc.) then your wish is a pipedream and you should see it as that and move on.There’s a difference between something being beyond your means and beyond your comfort zone. Having the guts to take action, usually means getting uncomfortable. Believe me, running a marathon is not comfortable! Running a business means learning new skills and feeling uncomfortable at times.Just do it anyway. Have guts, get uncomfortable.
    3. Step 3 – Work Out What it Will Take. I’m not talking here about winning the lottery 😉 What I am saying, is work through the steps required to achieve your wish.Let’s take an example – I wish I didn’t have to travel for work and be away from home all week.What actions could you take? What options do you have? Are you working with facts or feelings? How long will it take?Taking the time to work through what’s required, helps you see a clear path for what action you need to take. If you don’t take this step, then you really don’t know whether it’s achievable. You’ll don’t know how much guts you need until you know what needs to be done.
    4. Step 4 – Pay the Price. As the saying goes “be careful what you wish for”. Once you’ve worked out what it will take to get your wish, ask yourself two questions.First – Am I willing to do what it takes to get this?
      Second – When I get it, what will it be like?Using the same example as we did in step 3, if you look at what needs to be done and the mere thought of it is overwhelming, then the chance of you doing something about it are slim to none. The price you’d have to pay for your wish is too high.Thinking then about the second question; if you did change jobs or started a business that gave you the flexibility to be home more, then what? Would you be wishing you had some time to yourself? If you are home more, will there be an expectation on you to do more around the house? Will you lose your frequent flyer miles and have to pay for flights and holidays in future?Everything comes with a price – if you say you want it , make sure you mean it!
    5. Step 5 – Take Action. Or, JFDI! Stop making excuses, stop moaning to others, stop thinking, wishing, dreaming. Instead start doing. If you get to this step, then you know why you haven’t already got what you want, you know it is possible for you to have it, you know what it will take to get it and you are prepared to pay the price. So now, take action.It sounds simple enough but this is where a lot of people come unstuck.They just can’t seem to make things happen.I work with clients who have most of the answers in their heads, some even have them written down in detailed plans, yet they don’t take action. Why?For some it’s fear of failure.Some are good thinkers and planners but not implementers.For others it’s procrastination – they can’t decide where to start or whether they’re doing the right thing or when’s the best time.

      There are good reasons for not taking action and if you find yourself stuck, then at least have the guts to get some assistance.

There it is. A five step plan to building guts.

I’m not trying to be trivial or to suggest that it’s easy to get what you want. What I am attempting to do is to inspire you to do something about your wishes so that they don’t just stay wishes.

What do you wish you had the guts to do?
Have you made a gutsy change? How did that work out for you?
Have you ever had to face your worst case scenario? What happened?

Are you fed up with the daily grind and wish you had the guts to start a business? My  “Kickstart Mastermind” program will be held later this year.  To make sure you don’t miss out on the early bird offer, sign up for the fortnightly Kick Start Newsletter so that you are the first to find out how to register.

11 Responses to I wish I had the guts to…

  1. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot February 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Great tips Suellen, I try to do something scary everyday. Sometimes it’s just a small thing like emailing or calling someone I admire, sometimes it’s bigger like making my first public speech at a market as I did on Sunday. My legs were shaking:) I’m going to be doing a lot more of it!

  2. Catherine White February 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Gutsy blog Suellen :-))

    I hear this frequently:

    I wish I had the guts to do what you do; or I could never do that; or that’s ok for yooooou … as if to imply the latter puts me in some insane category.

    The truth is most people live with fear; fear of dying, fear of failing, fear of loss, fear of disapproval … fear, fear, fear. Even successful people are faced with fears.

    I believe the challenge is either one of deconstructing the fear, in order to strip it of it’s power. Or, standing on our dig, and doing it anyway.

    Frankly, there is negotiating with fear; we either do it, or we don’t do it. The smoke screen of procrastination, is another word for ‘not doing it.’

    Love your style

    • Suellen February 24, 2011 at 10:49 am #

      Hi Catherine,

      I know what you mean about “ok for youuuuuu”…

      Totally agree about people living with fear – even successful people. I love that you are black and white about it – either get over it, or do it anyway!

      It reminded me of something I read ages ago, can’t remember where so apologies to the source, that fear and excitement manifest themselves very similarly. If you think about how you feel when you’re afraid – pulse racing, stomach churning, pupils dilated, fight or flight responses kicking in – it’s the same when you’re excited. It might sound strange but whenever I feel fear now, I tell myself, it’s just excitement, get on with it.

      Love your style too! Anyone reading this comment – have a look at Catherine’s creative talent here.

  3. Jen Brown February 23, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Another great post Suellen – and your website looks fantastic!

    Interestingly, I am hearing ‘I was I had the guts…’ quite a bit at the moment as I tell people of the launch of my business and of my plans to leave one career & start another.

    I think you have summed up the key steps very well. For me, I had been planning, schemeing & dreaming for months (perhaps years) but all that amounted to nothing until I decided not to use my fear as an excuse to hold me back thanks, in part, to you & your support


    • Suellen February 24, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      Thanks Jen.

      Your business will be a great success I’m sure – you’re a gutsy women for sure!

  4. Kathleen Crone February 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Thank you for this article Suellen. It really resonated with me and I found it very helpful.

    Do you find that a lot of women and/or small business owners experience a lot of guilt and a sense of failure when they get stuck at the ‘take action’ step?

    I think you offer a great service. It’s good to be reminded that there are people to help you break the cycle of inaction and improve decision making skills.

    • Suellen February 24, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      Hi Kathleen,

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

      I’m pleased you found the article helpful.

      In reply to your question about guilt/sense of failure – for sure! We are so hard on ourselves – particularly those of us who are driven and committed to making our business a success. There is also a certain amount of pretense that takes place, you know…”How’s business?” “Oh great! I’m really busy” when inside we’re thinking “busy still not making enough money and feeling like a failure!”

      I think it’s important for small business owners to have someone who they can have honest conversations with about this kind of thing.

      It’s hard, it takes guts but it’s so worth it don’t you think?

      Thanks for your support. You are one gutsy woman making it in a “blokey” world!

      p.s. Hope your Habitat for Humanity fundraiser goes well – great cause.

  5. Sally Foley-Lewis February 24, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Great post Suellen. Thank you for sharing your 5 step gut building plan (not sure you should advertise it that way though 😉 )

    A manager of mine once commented to me that I was someone others are impressed by because I see the opportunity and run with it. At that stage in my life I had already lived in Germany for a few years, returned to Australia, moved to outback Queensland and jumped into other fun things along the way. It never occurred to me that I had taken ‘guts’ to do it, and that others wouldn’t do the same. A few years on, and now I do appreciate that greatly. I am blessed to have jumped at the chances when they presented themselves.
    It does take guts!

    Your plan is so sound and something I think that can be applied in many situations, not just for the entrepreneur!

    • Suellen February 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

      LOL Sally – you never know, might find a new niche there!

      It’s funny how others see us. We just see things as an opportunity and go for it yet for others it’s a big step.

      You’re another example of a gutsy woman – I mean look at your recent “Trailer Truck Full of Flood Relief efforts!

      Thanks Sal

  6. Cat Matson February 24, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    There must be something in the air Suellen … I have blogged similar sentiments myself this week (published tomorrow) … Having realized just how much ‘do-ing’ I do … And not a lot of ‘done-ing’ … Otherwise known as completing, shipping … Or just ticking it off the list as DONE!

    For me it’s always been about my fears and not willing to be uncomfortable (enough). I like doing things I KNOW I am good at … And being the apprentice has NEVER been a comfortable place for me. So your action plan really resonates … Feel the fear, be uncomfortable (for a while) and FJDI! I know, when I really think about it, I’d much prefer to feel uncomfortable in the pursuit of my goals … Than feel uncomfortable in living a life of regret and unrealized goals.

    Awesome post Suellen … Thank you.


    • Suellen February 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi Cat,

      Looking forward to your blog – love the idea of ‘done-ing’ as opposed to “done-in” which is how I know I feel when I get bogged down “do-ing”.

      Thanks for your honesty about preferring to do things you know you are good at…I think a lot of people (me!) feel like that. What do you think that’s about? Being a high achiever? High personal expectations? Fear of failure? I guess it’s different for everyone.

      I’m convinced the energising discomfort in the pursuit of goals is far more appealing than the demoralising discomfort of never having tried. Great thought – thanks.

      And with that…I’m done 😉

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