A friend of mine was staring me in the eyes. His fists were clenched and his teeth were bared, as he gave me some kind of a primal snarl. He was exuberant, enthusiastic and ready to tell me about the real estate convention he’d just attended.
“Flare up of hemorrhoidal tissue?” I laughed.
“Viking mentality,” he said.
Jim went on to describe the theme of the weeklong real estate meeting he’d just completed: “Fearless.” The event was a summit that included many of the top real estate professionals in the country and focused on eliminating the fear of growth and the apprehension about doing what it takes to achieve that growth. To succeed, the Viking mentality is mandatory.
Jim relayed that the Viking mentality is a warrior’s spirit that is unafraid. It seeks adventure, new challenges and wisdom, and it never gives up. The Viking mentality is relentless, energetic and outgoing – in everything you do. A Viking is a great word picture for taking action. (Just replace the plundering and pillaging with the more socially acceptable, positive steps that move you toward your goals.)
For a lot of people, the Viking mentality is a real stretch. And there’s no doubt that effectively adopting that kind of mindset would take practice. (Jim mentioned that he was growling at perfect strangers every couple of hours during the conference, and after the first day his inhibition was gone.) But here’s why it’s so important:
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.
In other words, if you want to make a change in your business, your career or any part of your life, you must behave differently than you have to this point. It’s a very simple idea that can be a chore to integrate into our lives.
We all want things: more money, more success, more knowledge, a less wobbly midsection, whatever. But when it comes to taking the steps to accomplish those things we want, sometimes we vacillate…or we simply freeze. Our drive gets shifted to neutral, and we sit there. We accomplish nothing.
Why don’t we take action?
One big reason is fear of failure. In Risk: A Road Worth Traveling, I describe the Voice of Treason – that voice inside your head that says, “Buddy, you’re no good.” We’ve all heard it. We all have those negative vibes trying to drag us down. It’s human nature. And if we attempt to reach a major goal and “fail,” well, isn’t that confirmation that our Voice of Treason knows what it’s talking about??
Another reason we don’t take action on a new endeavor is that we tell ourselves that we aren’t ready. We may convince ourselves that there’s too much to learn. The cycle can be that we build up our knowledge base and in the process we discover there’s more to know than we thought. The more time we invest in developing our skill sets, the more we realize that we don’t know everything and that we can’t do everything. That thought causes us to push off the decision to act.
We might also be fearful that taking action will change our lives in some unforeseen manner:
– “What if this new endeavor takes away time with my family?”
– “How could it impact the relationship with my significant other?”
– “What if the responsibility is too much for me, and what if I have to fire someone?”
– “I don’t want to be one of those heartless, greedy people.”
The bottom line is that we can create a long list of excuses as to why we shouldn’t pursue our dreams. There are as many fears and roadblocks as there are opportunities. The irony is that by actually taking action, we can eliminate the fear that paralyzes us. We take that first step and learn from it; then we use that information to direct our next step.
One of two things will happen when we take action: we will realize that the goal is not worth pursuing – maybe not now; maybe not ever. Or, we begin to see the possibilities, and we become genuinely amped up by the realization that we can make our dreams come true.
Pursuing our goals and dreams isn’t a job that you can subcontract or outsource. It is up to you and only you. And the best tool you have in your arsenal when it comes to being pursuing your dreams and being happy is your ability to make choices.
And take action.