I love this quotation from Henry Ford: "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."
Great advice. As long as we're really focused on our goals, fear shouldn't be a problem. In fact, fear is the negative power that distracts us and keeps us from achieving our goals. Two of my favorite writers Seth Godin and Steven Pressfield have called this the "resistance" that keeps us from "delivering." I frequently tell clients who are wrapping themselves in paralyzing blankets of fear to do something very different: Practice talking about your strengths. What makes you good at what you do? How will you be an asset to an employer or company? If you can answer those questions, the obstacles and fears will be manageable.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning suffered a serious neck injury a few years ago. The experts said his career was probably over. Manning believed in himself, worked hard in rehab, and has had two great years playing in Denver.
The experts said Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson was too short. His arm wasn't strong enough. Wilson believed in himself, and he has turned his team into a consistent winner.
Believe in yourself.
A new jewelry store has opened near my office. Every day the store owner puts a sign in the window saying what she is thankful for that day. We need to do something similar with our careers, and there is no better time to do this than Thanksgiving. Take 10 or 15 minutes and write down everything you are grateful for as a professional. Even if you are unemployed, think about your strengths and be thankful for them. Psychologists have found that expressing gratitude helps us stay balanced and keep a positive outlook. My wish for you this Thanksgiving is that you find many reasons to be grateful, especially when it comes to work and your career.
Are you happy at your job? If not, the problem might not be your job, but the way you are approaching it mentally. In a TED presentation, Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Thinking, Inc., explores how the “lens” we use to look at life affects our attitude and our performance.
Achor is a very funny, engaging presenter. However, his science is serious, especially for those people who are cheating themselves by focusing on negativity. Achor’s discipline is called “positive psychology,” which shouldn’t be confused with any kind of simple self-help program. It is a new and growing specialty in psychology that focuses on how our attitude can be readjusted through exercises that emphasize gratitude and helping others. Achor’s studies have found that a person with a positive outlook is 31% more productive at work. More importantly, positive people are focusing on what they have, not what they lack.
I strongly recommend this 12 minute video. It’s fun and insightful.