This week saw the beginning of yet another business experiment for me: advertising. I have a little colored square in Salt Lake City Weekly, advertising Get Your Balls Back. It’s a fantastic ad done by their own design team, and I love it. If you have a chance, grab a free copy from any of the hundreds of newsstands in the area and flip over to page 14.
But it’s been interesting to notice myself get increasingly anxious as this week has gone on. I’ve felt a fair amount of fear and caught myself in thoughts along the lines of, “What if I put myself out there like this, and nobody is interested? Does that mean I’ve failed, or that I’m worthless?” They’re my same old shame-based thoughts I used to entertain regularly, just in the context of my business this time. Luckily, I’m no longer a total Nice Guy, and I know what to do to get out of those shame cycles.
I’ve been reminding myself that this business thing is still a big experiment. It’s not life or death, success or failure, all or nothing. If I only end up with the four people I currently have registered for GYBB in July, then I still get to teach the class and gain essential experience, plus I’ve made a few hundred dollars that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t done it at all.
And that’s the real point I’m trying to make. After reading a lot of financial success stories and business advice books (like I’ve been doing a lot lately), it’s easy to get lost in expectations of 6-figure incomes, and making a few hundred dollars starts to feel like failing somehow.
But it isn’t.
One of my favorite sayings, that I teach again and again in my workshops, is “There is no such thing as failure. There is only learning.”
When you change your mindset from one of “success” to one of “learning”, your whole life changes. The concepts of failure and mistakes lose all meaning. Instead, every choice you make is just a different path, and no matter what you do, learning and growth is guaranteed. To me, that is success. There is no failure.
To change your mindset in that way, you have to train yourself to let go of expectations. It’s a very Zen thing, to tell yourself that “whatever happens, happens, and I’ll gain from it no matter what”. If you haven’t ever thought that way before, it can be difficult at first. You have to commit to constantly repeating “there is no such thing as failure” for a very long time before it starts to stick. Hell, obviously I’m still catching myself falling back into old patterns of thought, and having to remind myself of my new mindset, and I’ve been doing this for a while. Writing it on index cards and taping them around your house helps.
The benefits of letting go of expectations are enormous. For one thing, fear loses power over you. If there is no such thing as failure or mistakes, what’s left to be afraid of? Also, life suddenly becomes an exciting adventure! You don’t know what will happen if you make a particular choice, but you know it’ll be interesting and that you’ll learn something from it. Life transforms from a stressful battle for success into an exciting game that you can’t possibly lose.
It’s certainly helped me. I feel much more at peace because I know that I’ll be fine even if I’m not overrun with students in July. (This doesn’t mean I don’t want you to sign up, though!) Whatever happens will happen, and my life will continue to be amazing no matter what.
Yours will too.