Recognize and face down these emotional detours that keep us from reaching our target lives.
By Terry O. Powell
1. Afraid of the Unknown
Picture a bridge. On one end of that bridge stands 95% of the adult population under a corporate umbrella. If we asked them whether they’d choose the same career again most of them would say no. The reason we know this is because 75% of them say that they have a strong desire to be self-sufficient.
On the other side of the bridge stands the other 5%. These are the Entrepreneurs. If we asked them how many of them are anxious to get back to corporate America, what do you think the answer would be? If we can agree that that number would be very low, we’d also have to ask another question: What’s the difference between the 75% who say they want to be self-sufficient and the 5% who are? Are those 5 percenters braver or smarter? What ‘s keeping the 75% from getting to the other side of the bridge?
If you said the biggest reason was fear, you’d be right. Fear is the number one emotional detour that keeps us from reaching our targets. So what does fear stand for? How about this:
We’re generally afraid of the unknown. Many times we stop moving toward what we really want for ourselves because the unknown is just too scary. The reality is that those 5 percenters that made it across the bridge aren’t generally braver or smarter than anyone else. They just stuck it out long enough to have a plan for success. They moved past their fear by gathering all of the information necessary to complete their plan for success.
2. Turning the Stones
You’ve been out there for awhile now looking at businesses trying to find that “perfect” fit. You’ve discovered some pretty interesting options. One or two of them have many of the things that speak directly into your goals and needs. Still, with all of the options available, there must be a better opportunity out there. So you look at one more, and one more, and so on . . .
You’re a lot further down the road now and you’re not so sure anymore. There’s so much information to gather and you don’t want to waste too much time on any one option. You’ve got to keep moving. Now you’re simply skimming over a small amount of information for each option, looking for those red flags that tell you “this won’t work in my area” or “this isn’t for me”. You’re really going with your gut or your perceptions at this point. You’re in the mode where you keep “Turning the Stones” hoping to find that “perfect” business.
The problem is that you’re actually imploding the results that you’re seeking. By not gathering enough information on each option, and allowing your “feelings” about what the business is, to determine your next move, you’re probably moving past a great opportunity without realizing it.
- Determine your goals, needs and expectations BEFORE you look at options.
- Be a census taker. Gather the information about the model and make NO decisions until you’re finished with a good study of the data of what makes it successful.
- Recognize that there is NO PERFECT BUSINESS. They all require something that will likely make you uncomfortable at first.
- Be okay with the discomfort. That’s what gives you the opportunity to grow! And that opportunity to grow is probably what you where looking for anyway, right?
3. Analysis to a Point of Paralysis
Emotional Detour #3 is one that I’m sure we can all relate to. We call it being 100 percent comfortable.
Have you ever noticed that making decisions, especially big ones, usually require the right “feeling”? If that is you, welcome to the human race. In spite of all of the logic and objectivity we claim to have, at the end of the day, we want to feel sure about our decisions. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, unless we let that need require us to be 100 percent comfortable.
You may remember that our #1 Detour was fear. We’re always afraid of what we don’t know or what “may” happen. The need to be 100 percent comfortable is a manifestation of just that. We tend to worry about that unknown that we just can’t seem to uncover.
So here we are. We need to make a decision about purchasing a business. We move through the information gathering process, looking for those perfect pieces of data that will “insure” our success. As time goes by, we eventually realize that perfection is probably not possible.
If you’re looking for that “perfect” business, you’ll likely be disappointed, especially if it’s a concept where you have little or no experience. Every business model you explore will probably have some activity that will require a learning curve in order for you to be successful, and there will always be things you’ll learn after you’re in the thick of it. That’s just the way it goes.
Here’s some good news. If you’re looking at franchises, you’re actually validating a system. That system is already tested and proven. There are likely several people out there operating that system getting the results that you’d want for yourself. Even if the franchise company is relatively new, what you need to determine is your ability and your willingness to follow that system to make your business successful. After spending some time speaking to some owners, you should gain some confidence, but even then you’ll realize they found success by making the system work.
I hate to disappoint you, but whether you’re looking at a franchise or an independent business, that feeling of “100 percent comfort” really doesn’t exist. Ninety percent is as much as you can hope for. The other 10 percent simply doesn’t exist outside of you. That’s okay. If you hit 90 percent, you did a great job finding out what you need to know. That last 10 percent of trepidation will turn into enthusiasm as soon as you’ve gotten past the decision point and started your new business. You can do it!
4. Too Good to Be True
There can be a lot of emotions to manage even when you take a healthy, methodical approach to finding a new business. And I know I’ve said this before – but as you begin to do your research on finding that perfect business, it’s important to start your homework on yourself. You can actually save time by knowing who you are and what you want out of life first. We call it the “inside out” approach.
So now you’ve spent the time to identify your goals, needs, expectations, and even your transferable skills. With all of that in mind you start exploring options. You’ve been able to eliminate quite a few early on because of the homework you did up front. Now here you are, looking at something that seems like a perfect fit, or near perfect fit. The problem is it didn’t take that long to find. You haven’t been at this for months and months. You haven’t REALLY paid your dues yet! This can’t be the right thing. It’s obviously too good to be true.
Congratulations, you’re still human. It’s pretty common to think that anything worthwhile takes a long time and a tremendous effort. Is that really true?
Remember the time you spent looking at yourself first? Be open to the possibility that you actually did a good job which moved you closer to the right fit much faster.
Here are a few questions for you to ponder that may help you going forward:
- Do you really understand what it takes to be successful in the business?
- Do have a strong sense of what you’ll be doing on a day to day basis?
- Do those things match your skill set or are you willing to learn how to do them?
If you’re truly finished gathering information on the business model, you’ll want to ask yourself these and several other questions, but here is another question to consider:
“If you removed emotion from the decision-making process and focused solely on the data you’ve gathered, what do you see as your next step?”
I know that sounds easier than it probably is, but try it anyway. If you can stand back from the emotion and just concentrate on your research, you’ll find the end result much easier.
Go for it!
5. Crabs in the Basket
We’ve come to the end of our series on emotional detours with Emotional Detour #5: Crabs in the Basket.
Have you ever walked down a beach and dug crabs out of the sand? You take a small shovel, dig the crab out, and toss it into a basket. If there’s only one crab, you’ll need a lid so the crab doesn’t crawl out. Once you’ve added that second crab, the lid will no longer be necessary because as one crab tries to crawl out, the other one will pull it back down. It’s much the same with people when they get scared of something new.
Let’s say you just spent lots of time gathering data on your new franchise. You checked out the competition, spoke to other franchisees, and put together what you think is a pretty good plan to move forward. Your excitement will undoubtedly lead you to a conversation with your spouse or best friend. That’s when you’ll hear about all of the things that are wrong with that great new business. They’ll say, “I know someone who got into that business and lost everything,” or “What do you think you know about that kind of a business? Are you crazy?” The next thing you know, you’re asking yourself, “What was I thinking when I actually believed that success was just around the corner?”
Your friend or spouse isn’t necessarily trying to keep you down. They’re just afraid. Their perceptions are driving their fear. They can’t help it. They just don’t know any better. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that may help you get past this detour:
- If your friend or spouse had done the same research that you did, would they feel differently?
- Is it important enough for you to slow things down to enroll them in the data gathering process
- Can you see yourself going forward without their support with the knowledge that your information will lead you to success?
- Finally, and this can be a tough one, what happens to your relationship with this person down the road if you give up on your dream based of their perceptions?
Most of us really need the support of our friends and family when we’re making the jump from a job to entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, we don’t always get it. The odds go up pretty quickly if we can enlist those important to us in the process, but it can also slow us down. At the end of the day, it’s about what you want for yourself and how much you believe that you can be a success.
Do your homework. Do it well. Make your decisions. Don’t look back. If you’re already thinking of “plan B”, you’re not ready yet. You’ll find that your level of commitment will be one of the biggest factors in your success. You can do it!