Move with change or get run over by it.

At the weekend I was discussing with our neighbors about the way we consume media and how the growth of on demand has created a whole ‘binge viewing’ culture and the change of viewing habits, such as  catch-up TV. I don’t know about you, but the majority of my TV viewing is now on-demand or through catch-up. There is no doubt the big screen in our living room’s is here to stay but the big question is, who will provide what we watch on it?

I am sure on a professional network such as Linkedin, very few will have succumbed to ‘binge’ viewing.  I’ve found a ‘binge’ viewing session can be quite therapeutic. I am sure I am not alone and there will be many who have had 3 hour marathon watching House of Cards, 24, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad.

The question all media producers are trying to answer is how will we receive media for consumption in the future. Just look at the recent news of Amazon relaunching the famous BBC series, Top Gear. 10 years ago Amazon delivering media content would have been a bit of a joke given our habits where very different back then. Diversity of viewing now presents a real problem. How do you know which one is future proof?  I don’t believe anybody honestly knows how we will consume media in the future.

Just like all those big media companies, going through the process of change can be quite a painful experience. Being creatures of comfort we like things to stay the same, we like certainty. Change brings uncertainty and forces us to improve ourselves and adapt to a world which is constantly changing. Change brings pain.

What’s happening in TV is happening everyday. Today there will be numerous inventors and entrepreneurs working and thinking of ways to bring innovation to the way we live our lives. Think about it, 30 years ago, mobile phones where available to a select group, the internet was non-existent and in the UK you could watch 4 TV channels. For all those who were the wrong side of innovation, change was lethal.

Change is never easy, for the instigators or the recipients. Instigators have to battle against the status-quo and the recipients of change are forced to adapt which is not always convenient. It can be brutally uncomfortable, but what is certain, is that if you try to resist change, you tend to get run over by it. Those that do well, embrace change and adapt to the new world it creates.

Some of the casualties of change such as MySpace, Nokia, HD-DVD and Woolworth’s all had great USP’s but as times changed their offering didn’t seem to matter anymore. The same thing that killed those famous brands is a massive threat on the horizon for Apple, Google and Amazon.

The warning to us all is that, just like MySpace, if we are not keep up in our fields, we can quickly fall behind the changing environment in which we live and work.

When you feel like giving up do this…

 

We’ve all had those moments when you just want to throw in the towel. Lots of work with very little results or worse, you realise you don’t know why you are doing something anymore. Sometimes you get work overload and feel like you are drowning in all the things that need to be done or worse, the work you have to do doesn’t challenge you.

These are the moments when we feel like giving up…

Feeling this way isn’t wrong, it’s your emotions, mind and body reacting to your situation. The trouble is when you feel one way, it jades the way you view the world. You cannot process your situation objectively.

Has your idea not worked out as expected?

Has your career taken a turn for the worse?

Do you feel overloaded by the workload your dealing with?

Did the world once seem a place of endless opportunities but now seems full of obstacles?

Thomas Edison once said “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” That is certainly true for him, as he suffered many setbacks as an inventor. Eventually after countless setbacks and disappointments, he mastered the electric light bulb.

What many will not know though is that Edison invented a lot of things which didn’t work and struggled with the growth of his business. He was at his best in a small lab testing and inventing things. After several successful inventions his business grew to a large organisation. He struggled to adapt from being a quirky, unstructured inventor, to the head of a large company. He stepped outside of his skill set.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a good challenge, but stepping outside of your skill set can be dangerous. You can make unwise decisions, overwhelm yourself and worse not understand the risks you are taking.

Coming back to Edison, he had an understanding of giving up far better than we do. If he had given up on the light bulb, we would probably not even know his name. However, Edison also turned down a lot of options to pursue his light bulb dream.

Here are some of my thoughts on giving up:

Giving up should not be an emotional decision.

Emotions tell lies, twist the truth and serve only themselves. As humans it’s impossible to make decisions without the involvement of emotions. Keep your emotions under control and make decisions when you feel you are a clear head. Make sure you provide evidence for both sides of the argument and make a decision based on what you see.

Giving up should not be a financial decision.

There is a lot of evidence of great achievers  going broke or risking everything to pursue their passion. At the time they faced criticism and looked like idiots. They eventually made it, but had to pursue it through painful situations which to anyone who understands accounting, would not make sense. Richard Branson started a business from a payphone, he got into financial difficulties and nearly didn’t make it. EasyJet for many years was seen as a business that could not work, now it’s one of the larger and more successful airlines.

If you decide to give up or not, you should not just consider the financial implications, there are lots of other things to consider, such as quality of life, your life goals and your health. BUT and it is a big but, you must make the decision to give up or not understanding the financial implications.

Giving up should not be a short term decision.

Setbacks happen to us all, if you have had a bad week and feel like giving up, you need to grow some more willpower. Life is complicated and stuff happens. Make sure you take a longer term view than this week, this month. Start looking for this year, the next year and the next ten years.

Giving up should be a strategic decision.

Does giving up help you progress and follow your goals. Will it help you move forward? Enough said.

Giving up should be a move forward.

If you are giving up because of something, it’s probably the wrong decisions. If you are giving up for something, then it may make sense. That wasn’t just a play on words. Are you running from something or running to something?

Don’t give up by default.

It’s really easy to not make a decision on giving up and give up by default. This is the worst kind of giving up because you surrender control to your environment. You let things happen.

Giving up can be good if there are good reasons, but you have to work out if you have good reasons. You can’t be held hostage to emotions or circumstances. Nobody can give you the answer, you have to research it for yourself. You can make a good decision to give up and a good decision to not give up if you weigh the situation properly.

What about you?

How to overcome the fear of failure

Fear and failure are a toxic combination. Both fear and failure have positive elements to play in our lives. Fear can be a useful self preservation mechanism and failure can help us learn valuable lessons. When the two come together they pose a crippling and destructive cocktail which will ruin your life.

As I write this post, I am embarking on a new journey which will see me leave regular fixed income and taking a financial risk. I am excited, terrified but I am not going to let me fear prevent me from stepping into my future.  Writing this post comes from my own experience and so it is a little bit of therapy for me and hopefully will help you too.

The fear of failure left unchallenged will keep you from reaching your potential. No if’s, no buts, it is one of the most important things you have to take control over.

Where does the fear of failure come from?

I am no psychologist but I certainly have experienced throughout my life the fear of failure. If you struggle with the fear of failure you will run endless scenarios in your head of worst case scenarios. These fears usually come from our own personal hierarchy of needs (of the Maslow variety).

If we have unfulfilled or uncertainty in one of the levels within Maslow’s diagram, it will usually mirror itself in the fear of failure.

New Career  – What if I am not good enough?  – Self-Esteem

New Business – Do you fear not being able to pay the bills? – Safety

New Clothes – Do you worry about what people will think? – Love and belonging.

So how do we overcome the fear of failure?

Extreme’s rarely happen.

In life it is rare that extreme’s happen. Fear usually paints an extreme outcome. Just like the optimist writing a financial plan or a pessimist writing plan for world peace. The best and the worst case never usually happen. Outcomes are often somewhere in the middle of the best and the worst.

Define your fear.

It’s really easy for a concern to become a worry and worry to become fear. The first thing you have to do is regain control. Fear causes panic, you are never at your best when you are in panic. Panic causes all sorts of things to happen in our body, importantly it makes it difficult for us to control our emotions and think objectively.

In times of fear and panic you need to take back control of your emotional and mental state. Stop crying, stop thinking it over and over. It sounds easier than it is, but it starts with you talking yourself down from the panic and fear.

When you feel a bit more in control, write down the specific fears you are feeling. Be specific and write them all down. What exactly are you afraid of?

I won’t be good enough because….

I won’t pay my bills because….

I can’t wear those clothes because…

Now write down the reasons. Your afraid you won’t meet a deadline because your diary is full, you won’t pay your bills because sales are slow. You’ll find that the reasons once on paper are not as big a deal as you think. Fear makes mole hills into mountains.
Create an action plan to address your fear.

Every fear and every reason creates a series actions. Take your fear mountain and break it down in to workable chunks.  Often we think being fearful about something means we should not do it, but fear generally is telling us to act to prevent the fear becoming reality. If you listen to your fear, accept its concerns and then create a plan of action to prevent fear being proven correct.

If you are worried about paying the bills, find ways to bridge the gap, redouble your efforts to earn more money. Every time your fear surfaces, redouble your efforts.

Remember actions driven from panic will not solve the problem. Stay calm and in control. Panic based action just creates more problems.

You are not the only one

We all grapple with fear so you are not alone. Just a quick google search and you will learn quite quickly that many are searching about how to fight fear. Don’t be crippled by it, use it, channel it and make it work for you. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, how together your life it, you’ll always have some degree of fear, the difference that you can choose is how much control it has over your life.

That’s the real answer, we can’t get rid of fear, it will always be there, but if we get control of our fears, use them to help us, the power fear can hold over us diminishes. As fear’s power diminishes in your life, you’ll find it easier to manage.