As a women's career and leadership coach, I work with hundreds of women each year helping them reclaim the direction of their lives and work, and find new ways to step up to their highest potential and most compelling visions. Usually, this work involves supporting my clients in doing something truly powerful and exciting that they've dreamed about for months or years, but just couldn't muster the time, energy or courage to pursue. If I've been asked this question once, I've heard it a thousand times - "Is this a stupid idea for me to explore, Kathy?" And I also hear daily, "How can I be absolutely sure this is going to work out?"
Well, you can't. That's the trick. There are no guarantees and no sure things. You have to be able to access the courage and internal power you need to test your idea, and then decide for yourself if you should move forward or move on.
Last week, I had the fabulous opportunity to speak with Richie Norton, the author of the inspiring new book The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen & Live Without Regret, and couldn't wait to explore with Richie his ideas about how we move forward through our deepest fears, and take this life-changing journey from "stupid" to stupendous.
Richie shared three surefire ways to help you...
1. Take ownership of your life.
The art of ownership is a dying one. Everyone wants to point the finger somewhere else for lack of success. Blame is dangerous, because it causes people to feel justified in their inaction. After all, it's not their fault, because nothing ever is.
Here are a few examples:
"My marriage is failing because my parents were divorced. I never learned what it takes to make a marriage work."
"I can't move up in my company because my boss doesn't like me. He's a jerk."
"She got the raise instead of me because she is a suck-up."
"He's successful because his parents were rich. I'm a failure because mine were poor."
"People like her because she's cool and pretty. I'm all alone because I'm not."
In each of these scenarios, blame enables people to feel justified in staying trapped where they are. No, we can't control ALL circumstances in life, (in fact, Richie's personal story reveals just how life can deal its crushing blows that we must learn to live with and endure). But as Richie's life demonstrates, you'll have far more success in achieving your highest visions when you break free from the blame game and take full ownership of yourself and your life.
2. Lose the Pride and Embrace the "Humble Power Alternative"
It's common to blur the line between pride and confidence, and it's just as common for people to confuse humility with weakness. You must learn to discern the difference, and live from "humble power" if you want to create the success and fulfillment you long for.
Here's how it works: Pride causes people to experience feelings of entitlement, and keeps them from honestly admitting and facing their challenges and asking for the help they need. Prideful people expect maximum results from minimal effort and throw their hands up in the air when things don't go their way. Well, news flash: the world owes you nothing. This is a harsh reality to swallow in a world plagued by entitlement.
Humility, on the other hand, comes from an understanding that you are not the master/mistress of the universe and that your life is important in equal measure with everyone else's on the planet. Humility doesn't allow a personal agenda or personal pride get in the way of success (or of vulnerability and authenticity). True humility reveals insightfulness, courage, self-control, and integrity, not (as so many believe) lowliness, unimportance, or self-deprecation. Practicing the "Humble Power Alternative" helps you attract powerfully aligned relationships, experiences, and outcomes that will enrich you, and bring you greater satisfaction and success in all aspects of your life.
3. Give and receive in equal measure.
Whatever your idea, start with giving service. Give without a hidden agenda, and always be transparent about serving for serving's sake or serving to help make your idea happen. Albert Einstein once said, "A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving."
Service is a powerful way to establish rapport, demonstrate credibility, and earn trust. When we give ourselves in service, we get to know the people we are working with in unique ways. When we develop meaningful connections with the ones we serve, they are eager and willing to help us achieve our highest visions.
But in order to realize your dreams, you must also learn how to fully receive -- how to let in and soak up all the good that is available to you in the world and in others. If you can't receive, you can't thrive.
Here are three ways to genuinely receive:
• Receive gratefully. Return a warm reception and offer sincere appreciation to the giver.
• Receive graciously. Show dignity, esteem, and respect for the giver, no matter the gift.
• Receive gracefully. Be humble by recognizing and remembering that it was by another's hand (not your own) that you received.
In the end, you will move through "stupid" to exciting, successful new outcomes only when you allow your humility, authenticity, and sincere connection to power your dreams. When you can learn to give and receive in equal (and abundant) measure, you'll truly be on your way from "stupid" to stupendous.
Are you ready to muster the courage to step into "stupid" and start really living? What will it take for you to crush your fears and start it today?
(For more about Richie, check out www.richienorton.com and The Power of Starting Something Stupid. And to gain clarity on the "stupid" ideas you long to pursue in your career, take my free Career Path Self-Assessment.)