I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sixteen years old. I won a car!!!
It was a raffle at my all-girl high school, St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati. For every ticket I sold for a raffle for a cruise, I got a chance for the car. The car sat in the front lobby of the school to incite us to get out there and sell.
A funny thing happened when I saw it. I heard my internal voice say “that’s mine.” I had my license for five months and I knew there was no other way I would get my own car. My parents weren’t going to buy one for me. It had to be mine.
It sat in that lobby, calling to me every day, all shiny and new, a gleaming white color with creamy beige interior – I knew I’d look fabulous sitting behind the wheel!
I made a plan to sell five $5.00 tickets every night for over a month until the day of the raffle. Despite hating to ask people for anything much less asking them to buy something from me, I went door-to-door and sold them without a lot of pain. I simply executed my plan to claim my car.
When the day of the raffle came, the Mother Superior, Sr. Jerome, spun the huge cage of chances, put her hand in and pulled my name out. Yes! My friends and I screamed.
In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t pay attention to the odds of me winning the car that day. If I had, I may not have acted.
In one of my favorite books, Do The Work, author Steven Pressfield talks about how Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, and Winston Churchill “stayed stupid.” He says they weren’t smart enough to understand how impossible their tasks were. I prefer to think they kept their heads in the clouds.
If thinking too much leads to inaction, then there is benefit to keeping your head in the clouds—a phrase my father used to tell us we were not being smart. Whether we were stupid or smart, we took action and that’s what matters.
In Do The Work, Steven Pressfield also says: “Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.”
I know action is scary, especially if you are just getting started.
A client of mine, Sally, recently decided she wanted to start an interior decorating business. I invited her to take a very bold first step. She was extremely excited and knew in her heart everything was aligning perfectly and on time to do so.
Despite her excitement, she emailed me the following day that she had been crying all morning as she prepared to take the step and she felt like throwing up. I told her that was normal. Simply take the step.
She did. She came ‘out of her closet’ and proclaimed to herself and others that she is an interior designer. Within two days of announcing it, she got her first client who is absolutely thrilled with her work.
Here are some steps to help you do the same. If you are starting a new business, changing careers or ready to add some new talent or passion to your experience, try these steps:
1. Keep your head in the clouds.
This means put your blinders on. Don’t think about all the pitfalls. Instead take action. The Universe will conspire to support you. Your next step will become clear by taking the first. Keep going. The Universe organizes around your self-actualization. Our job is to listen and show up.
2. Go Pro. Ask yourself: How would the best in my desired profession act, carry themself, speak?
You know what that is. So do whatever it takes. Live it: look it, sound like it, use as many senses as possible to manifest that Pro within you.
3. Tell other people “I am a _________”
Anything after “I am” is a powerful conductor. Physiologically, when you say it out loud, new neural pathways are created in your brain. Your mind will organize and show up to prove it is true.
If you feel like you are lying, consider this: you have likely been a speaker, interior decorator, recruiter, coach, inventor, or author since you were little. It is simply time to own it and let others know it too. Spiritually, any Zen Master will tell you, where your mind focuses your life will go.
4. Ask three people to work with you.
Maybe that’s someone in your chosen field who can advise you. Most professionals love to give advice and will be flattered that you asked. Then follow through on their suggestions and let them know how it turned out.
Maybe that’s someone with whom you can try out your new service. Offer to provide your service for free if they don’t like the outcome. All they can say is no. But if they do, ask them if they know someone else who needs what you have to offer, and ask them for a referral.
Or find someone on whom you can “practice.” Tell them you want their feedback so that you can fine-tune your delivery. Ask them what additional thing you could have done to make it special.
5. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
There is anxiety when you are NOT creating and there is anxiety when you are. So be on the forward moving end of that proposition. Be ok with being uncomfortable. It means you are growing.
Take a breath. When you breathe you physiologically change your fight or flight state to calm. In just 30 seconds you can ‘drop-in’ to your true self and get access to your creative, wise solutions.
I drove my first car for eight years and then sold it. (I felt like I had won the lotto twice.) In that turning point, I learned it pays to keep my head in the clouds and to stay focused with where I am headed, not with “what if.”
What scary, first (or next) step is beckoning you?