That Time I Almost Turned Back


You have to be crazy to be an entrepreneur.

You have to believe in yourself, close your ears to criticism, and most of all you have to keep moving forward. Even if the fucken bridge is on fire.

One of the first things I teach new students about building out their personal brands is to have patience and keep going. The former is usually a bigger problem; we’re all so used to the instant-satisfaction culture we’ve set up that we tire easily if we don’t see immediate results. But if losing patience erodes the outer coating of your personal brand core, turning back guarantees an implosion.

It’s so appealing, too. When everyone around you — even your tight friends and family — just nods and says things like “you got this!” or “you a rock star!” When you know damn well when you’re out of earshot their saying “I really don’t want to see them fail, but…”

You can’t get angry. Seriously. If that makes you angry you’re not cut out for this. Please go watch Survivor, or something.

Still reading? Good.

I can absolutely guarantee that your personal brand will eventually face a seemingly insurmountable obstruction. And it’s going to freak you out.

It’s gonna happen, no mater how much planning and foresight you employ.  One day, some big gnarly obstacle is going to come flying down from the sky, and it’s going to screw absolutely everything up.

This is the Universe testing you. How bad do you really want this? Because designing and building out a personal brand is not easy. In fact, I can list all sorts of reasons why you shouldn’t even give this a try. But you’re a badass. You’re still here. So let’s continue…

If I had to pick one — and only one —  aspect of being an entrepreneur to list as the number one good habit , I would absolutely have to pick gratitude.  Here’s why:

You don’t have to believe me. It’s no skin off my ass. But I’ve seen the results of remaining steadfast and thankful for each and every day I am still alive. There’s a reason everyone keeps talking about gratitude, because it works! The simple act of being grateful, of taking some time each day to identify and thank the Universe for something, anything… is really friggin’ powerful.

We have gratitude for everything. Even the down cycles, through every disappointment, during the toughest of challenges. You’re not here in this very moment in your life to be average, to just survive. We’re all here for a purpose. I absolutely believe that. Even the person who sees absolutely nothing of value in their life still carries the seed of something powerful and awe inspiring. So we take the good with the bad. We march boldly ahead, with gratitude as our shield.

Car get a flat tire? Thank you, Universe. I am grateful I did not cause an accident.

Other half leave you? Thank you, Universe. We weren’t as compatible as we thought.

IRS knocking down your door? Thank you, Universe. I’ll certainly do a better job preparing my taxes next year.

I could go on and on…

Once my students learn this, once they are able to be joyful and thankful for absolutely everything that life brings their way, they begin to realize that they are actually playing an active role in creating their own future, attracting wealth and success. That’s a big leap. But once you get there, once you can say you not only understand but believe you have the power to weather any storm, your entire world seems to unfold, revealing options previously locked off.

But what if this is affecting your business? What if you experience something that completely disrupts the flow, throws a wrench in the machinery, something that demands immediate attention?

Welcome to your first roadblock.

The good news is you will be in this zone again, likely many times.

The bad news is you’re actually here. Like, right now.

Nothing’s changed. In my personal branding classes, I teach you how to dissect every roadblock that comes your way, and break them down into either an obstacle or a limitation. You’ll find nearly every time that what you are facing very likely has a solution, even if you don’t yet know what that solution is. For now, however, it’s a roadblock, and it’s stopped you dead in your tracks.

So, what do you do?

I’m going to give you a condensed version of what I was just talking about, obstacles and limitations. A crash course, you might say. Obstacles usually have some kind of a solution, so you never want to give up finding one. A limitation is very clear: absolutely no one shall pass! Limitations are ironclad. You’ll never beat them.

This methodology should be triggered every time you encounter a roadblock. Is this an obstacle, something that very likely has a solution? If so, pat yourself on the back. You’ll find a way, eventually. You’ll probably need help, and you should most definitely reach out if you do. Hell, hit me up. Maybe I have an answer. And if I don’t, I probably know someone who does. Gently apply the brakes, be grateful for this challenge, practice patience, and keep on trucking!

But what if i’s a limitation?

That one’s actually easy. When you’ve exhausted all possible means of classifying a roadblock as an obstacle, by order of elimination it can only be seen as a limitation. Those can’t be changed. Ever. Trust me, you’ll know. Regardless, get a second opinion, just to make sure. When you are finally confident in saying there is no solution, let it go. Design around it, modify your work processes, start again if you have to. Don’t waste any more time.

I always tack on the word currently to my determination: Currently, there is no solution. Because you never know when new info might pop up that will allow you to drag that old limitation out of the garage and dust it off, because you now have a solution.

I myself have stood facing many, many obstacles in my life. As an entrepreneur, obstacles will become attracted to you like flies to honey. I’ve faced some pretty big ones, and I’ve had to modify more than a few workflows due to unforeseen limitations. The one thing I never did was turn back.

Except that one time…

Believe it or not, at the time I’m writing this blog post I am actually in a situation where a pretty big obstacle has reared its ugly head. I’ve been visited by other obstacles that look a helluva lot like this one, which actually brings some comfort. But it still sucks to be back in this position… again!

Dammit.

Okay…

So what is it? What’s the big problem? What’s the earthshaking event threatening to derail my train?

Believe it or not, it’s impostor syndrome. That’s right, I’m currently experiencing heavy waves of absolute doubt. Will this work? Will Truly Fearless Life ever get off the ground? Do I have it in me to make this happen?

The answer, of course, is yes. I’m more than qualified, and I’ve seen more than enough interest, received nothing but positive feedback. This business has become my devotion.

Nevertheless, I almost did it. I almost turned back. I almost quit.

What stopped me?

Well, it’s pretty simple, really. I absolutely believe in what I’m doing. I’m helping people. Whether or not I can make this a full-time gig remains to be seen.

I’m hoping this post ages really well, and that when I look back at in 5 or even 10 years I can smile. Because I will be happily existing in a space free from this obstacle, which is exactly what it is. Just one bastard of an obstacle that’s about to be retired.

Stay Fearless,

Ted