Opportunity knocks. Will you open?

Opportunity is knocking and all you need to do is open the door. Most of the time, you are held back only by YOU. If you let it, fear of change, fear of failure and fear of fear itself will stop you dead in your tracks, create an environment where you are afraid to open your mouth, and immobilize you. The gateway emotion to fear is worry and if you let it creep into your thinking, fear is not far behind.

So how do you avoid worry which will ultimately lead to the enemy? The following steps can help you overcome your challenges:

  1. Work hard at looking past the fear. Face the truth that you have fear but visualize yourself on the other side of it. Let's assume your fear is calling a client that is having a problem with your company. Envision how you will feel after the call is made. Now you can start to work on the solution instead of having a fear of the problem. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

  2. Challenge yourself to focus on your goals. The idea of change conjures feelings of the unknown. Instead of focusing your thoughts on the unknown, focus on your dreams. For example, an opportunity for a new job is presented to you and although it seems like a good move, you are comfortable in your old job. But you'd like to make more money and you have not advanced the way you thought you should have advanced. Move past the fear of change, go on the job interview. Look at the positive side of change. The job might present you with an opportunity to make more money, have more responsibility and get more out of life. Don't let the fear of change stand in the way of your progress.

  3. Visualize the rewards success will bring you. Fear of failure holds us all back at some point. When we go through it, failure bruises our self-esteem, causes regret and deflates our ego. However, moving beyond failure, the rewards can be awesome. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, Steve Jobs was fired from the company he founded and Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC film school three times. If failure is handled properly, the take away from failure is a valuable lesson. True leaders learn from their missteps and realize failure is an opportunity to learn. There is huge growth in failing as long as we learn a lesson.

Life provides some amazing opportunities. The problem is, they are often presented in disguise. You are in control of your behavior and how you handle your fears. James Whitaker was the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Although Whitaker was prepared for his climb in every way possible, things beyond his control like avalanches, hypothermia and one hundred mile an hour winds held him back many times before he achieved his lifelong goal of reaching the summit. The reason Whitaker succeeded in spite of all the disappointments? "You don't overcome the mountain, you overcome yourself."

Learn to focus on the journey, not the bumps (your fear) in the road. Expect there will be bumps, detours and accidents along the way. Take action and above all, focus on the future and you will hold the triple threat at bay.

Michael Josephson said, "You are worthy of greatness. Don't let others define you. Don't let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do or be."

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