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Don’t Let Your Ambition Scare You Away From Trying - 2022 Olympic PepTalk

Olympic snowboarder Ayumu Hirano breaks the world record with a 24-ft air out of a 22 ft half pipe.

It's kind of insane, flying upside down 45 ft over concrete-hard snow - no net, no airbag - only a padded plastic helmet and your innate understanding of the physics of flight between you and disaster.

Aren't you glad that, whatever your crazy dream, you probably won't break your neck, literally?

It puts risk into perspective. It may feel scary to ask your boss for a promotion or be honest with your significant other. Part of us says, “Don't dream; don’t think you could improve that sticky spot; don’t hope for more.”

Too scary, too hard, too dangerous, too risky to dream of change.

But let's try to accurately assess the real level of risk.

Back in the day, losing your tribe was a death sentence, leaving you at the mercy of predators: cave bears, cave lions, and neighboring tribes bent on enslaving or killing you on the spot.

So our brains often jump from “risk” to DANGER with a capital D, especially if we've experienced trauma.

Even though none of that leads to instant death, 100% ostracism, or starving in the wilderness, your inner voice may say it's not safe to take an objectively reasonable step.

Remind yourself that at least you're not Ayumu Hirano, inverted 42 ft in the air, where one false move could lead to massive failure.

(And if you are, I applaud your courage. Would you like to be a guest writer on this blog? Because you probably know way more about overcoming fear than I do!)

What I've learned is that my fear is real. The racing heartbeat, chest pains, and sweaty palms are legitimate physical effects, and they need to be dealt with.

They’re reasons to go slowly, take baby steps, move forward and then calm my nervous system with a break, a walk along the water, exercise, or a fun, non-triggering hobby.

But they're not actually reasons to stop making progress. It doesn’t mean my project is a terrible idea courting imminent disaster!

However, there's a deeper truth: as much as we fear failure, we often fear success even more.

There's a fundamental fear of really being great!

Balancing the pressure to achieve are equally powerful messages:

  • Don’t stand out

  • Don’t show other people up

  • Don’t get a swelled head

  • Don’t make others feel bad

“It's not safe to go for this” might really be “What if I actually achieve it?

Snowboarders sometimes start to swim in the air. The human heart can quail with too much amplitude. Too much success, too much visibility, too much responsibility having created something big, to keep it going.

I love the action sports motto of “Go big or go home.”

But there's a reason that home is where the heart is!

If going big seems like an awful lot, here are some hints.

  • Unlike a snowboarder in mid-air, whose jump keeps going up until it comes back down, you likely have more control over how big you want to go.

  • Controlling growth is just as important as fueling it. Do some dry-eyed thinking about how big you want your next installment to be. Don't get ahead of yourself planning for or getting overwhelmed by visions of the very peak of your achievement. Take it one step at a time.

  • You are a powerful creator. You can dial it back or tone it down. There's no moral imperative to go as big as possible all the time.

  • Your comfort level, work-life balance, ideal project size, and comfort with visibility will guide how big is right for you.

  • Don't fall into the trap of big impact = big organization, big investment, or big responsibility. Leveraging technology, a small team or even a solopreneur can have a huge impact. Manufacturing 10,000 widgets may require a whole factory. Impacting 10,000 lives can be done with a message, a website, and a marketing plan.

  • If revenue is your metric, go big with a large number of low-ticket sales or a small number of high-ticket ones. Chose the path with the right amount of physical, intellectual, or emotional work for you.

  • Take a breath. Separate your ambition from the steps needed to get there. Don't think you have to solve every problem right away.

  • Expect to redirect as you learn to create something you enjoy. I heard recently that the average aircraft adjusts course 12,000 times in flying from San Francisco to New York.

Don't be afraid to fly high! The wings belong to you. You can design a flight path that creates the experience you are looking for!

So what do you think? Do you have fears and ambitions that war with each other?

Personally, I want to change the world, combine metaphysics with business and life, take naps, work from home with a view of the river, and be open about my communication with Spirit.

Can I go huge and be honest at the same time? Reading this article, you are helping me on that path.

How can we help you get there?

Please like and share this with anyone you think could use the encouragement today.

And if you'd like another Olympic pep talk, check out the article below on not telling yourself it's too late for your next big dream!


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