What Is Holding You Back?

by Paula Pritchard

Success is taking inventory. You must be willing to identify your strengths and your weaknesses. It takes courage to work on your weaknesses, but the rewards are worth the journey. Once I decided to take inventory, I utilized my strengths and diligently worked on my weaknesses.

One of my biggest weaknesses was fear. An interesting thing---fear! You can't see it, but it's so real it can paralyze people and keep them from accomplishing all their goals in life.

My mentor once said that fear is "False Evidence Appearing Real." The more I thought about what he said, the more I realized that I was spending a great deal of time being afraid and worrying about things that were, most likely, never going to happen. In the process of worrying about the negatives that may happen tomorrow, I was missing out on all the positives that were going on today.

I once read that a person is born with only two fears, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. The rest of the fears we attach to ourselves like barnacles collected on the outside of an old hull as we sail through life. The more we sail, the more we build up all these fears until it eats away at us and inhibits our progress. Once we realize the barnacles of fear are there, we have a choice to peel them off. It's a wonderful feeling to eliminate the extra baggage and take back the control of our lives.

I used to do a lot of self-talk and say, "Come on Paula. Real fear would be living in a war zone, worst yet, being the soldier in a war zone or coming face to face with a grizzly. How can you be afraid of a mere phone?"

Phone fear was a constant up-hill battle for me. There were days when the phone weighed 10 tons and I had the fortitude of a gnat in a hurricane. I had to make a game of it. I would make just picking up the phone and making the call a success. It didn't matter if they said "Yes" or "No," for me what meant success was that I had faced my fear and picked up the phone. One call---one victory. Two calls---two victories. I was building a history of success in my mind. How light that phone became with all those successes behind me.

Once I conquered my phone fear, I decided to wage war on all my fears, one by one. After all, they were what was standing between success and me. So, the next big fear was the fear of rejection. This was unbelievably hard to get under control until I came to a realization: I was not the issue! If people said "No" it was to the business not to me, personally. I learned to make "No's" a part of my trip to success. I stopped turning a 3-second disappointment into a 3-week downer. The reality is, "No's" and "Yes's" are part of all businesses, and the more you understand this the more you'll value them both.

Have you ever walked into a retail store, looked around, and then walked out without buying anything? Sure you have! Did you hear a loud thud from behind the counter as the owner collapsed from disappointment? Of course not! Why? They understand the numbers. They know out of so many "No's" there are so many "Yes's". Why do you think storeowners move to high traffic locations, like malls? To get more "No's" and as a result they'll get more "Yes's". Go for the "No's". Understand the numbers. Real estate people do, and so do most salespeople. They know how many times they need to show something to get a serious buyer.

One of the most powerful fears is the fear of what others will think. This is a foolish fear, but real, just the same. If you search long enough, you'll always find people who will criticize your actions. So, why search at all. Good or bad, people will ridicule those who travel an unconventional path, yet most successful leaders do just that.

When I first started networking, other people's opinions were very important to me; consequently, I avoided family members or friends whom I thought would say, "Have you lost your mind?" or "When are you going to get a real job?"

Everybody has an opinion about your decision, and they are more than willing to share it with you if you let them. Understand that most of the advice they're going to give you will be negative in order to keep you in mediocrity. Keep in mind, no one in your neighborhood is going to run out in the street and cheer you on to build your business so you can move out of that stinking neighborhood. I believe it becomes an issue of, if you move out and they're left behind, it's a reflection, some how, that they haven't been as successful. Think about it, if they tell you to get involved in networking and you fail, then they would feel like it was their fault. It's much safer for them if they tell you not to get involved and then if you succeed, they can say it was just luck.

I helped myself overcome the fear and the tendency to listen to negative people by simply making a conscious decision not to ask for or listen to unwanted advice.

The accolades and respect I wanted most were from those people who were most successful in my network marketing company. In order to win that respect, I needed to work through my fears and do the same things day in and day out to build my business that they did to build theirs. In turn, I would win their respect.

When you look at the people you spend your time with, you really have just a couple of alternatives. Jim Rohn, the philosopher, tells us to look at the people we spend a great deal of time with and ask ourselves "What are they doing to me and is that okay?" If the answers to those two questions are negative ones, then we really only have two choices. Either dont spend as much time with them or disassociate with them altogether.

The great thing about network marketers is that they are great dreamers and encourage one another to do their best. It's common for those at the top to give positive support and encouragement to face fear head on. Most of them know exactly what you are going through because they've been in the same position themselves. They know that when you identify your fears, you are well on your way to conquering them!

Paula Pritchard is a self-made millionaire who has built huge organizations throughout the United States and Europe.

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