The word is FEAR
As a society, we’ve let our fears pile up inside of our brains and multiply like a germ in a petri dish. The more we let the fear live inside our heads, the more momentum it builds. Momentum can be extremely beneficial or devastatingly punishing. The less we challenge our fears, the stronger they become. Fear is the antithesis of a muscle. The less you challenge it, the stronger it gets every single day.
I NEVER want to post as a hypocrite, so I’m going to tell you a list of the recent fears I’ve tackled. Each of these fears caused noticeable challenge and changes needing to be made to my life. With each fear, I’ll provide some background. I want you to know everyone has fears. Not everyone will put them out in the open.
- Stomach Disease – A few years back, I was diagnosed with a stomach disease (Ulcerative Colitis) and it was extremely challenging for a while knowing when nature would call (i.e. I went to the bathroom a lot!). To say this changed my life would be an understatement. This caused me to be worried any time I went anywhere for more than 20-30 minutes. Well I obviously traveled frequently for work, so this was NOT an easy task. The bigger worry was the potential embarrassment I may encounter should the worst possible scenario happen while traveling with co-workers. I was terrified about this frequently and until I finally told others of my situation, I felt like I was hiding potential doom every day.
- Cancer & Tobacco – My addictive personality and chewing tobacco made for a beautiful relationship (totally joking, but true). I thought when I went in to get my stomach issues looked at I was going to be told I had cancer. I mean after all, I’d earned it with the frequency of tobacco placed between my lip and gum. Thankfully, this was not the case and all the reason to stop the habit immediately. FEAR in this case won for the positive. What wasn’t easy was kicking the habit. Eventually I got there with the help of my wife and great friends, but I was literally afraid to quit at the start. Sounds stupid (I know), but true.
- Parenthood – My wife and I planned to start a family soon after we got married. This was a little over five years ago. After a few years of it not happening, we thought it may never happen. This fear wore on us. It beat us down every time someone asked, “Why don’t you guys have kids?” We didn’t have the heart to tell them we’d been trying, yet we did have the anger building up to stare right through them. I truly believe it started to get better when we told others of our challenge and found many others like us struggling with the same issue. For those that know us, we’re now the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy named Landon. I think we turned the corner when our fears and anxiety met the light of day and openness of conversation with cherished friends.
- Complacency – This may seem extremely odd compared to the previous (and definitely more serious) elements of fear listed above, but it is real. I’m terrified I don’t do enough. I don’t take enough calculated risks and go bigger, faster, harder than I’m currently doing. I fear someone else is putting in more effort and could be getting a step ahead of where I stand today. For some reason, I believe this is the fear of growing older and not looking back with regret. I can’t stand the feeling or thought of regret.
Why do I tell you all of this?
Because fears have a much tougher time living in your head and gaining momentum when they’re introduced to oxygen and the world. I don’t know this to be 100% true, but tell me the number of times you’ve heard of someone, only one person, in the ENTIRE WORLD facing a challenge? It doesn’t happen too often!
This is the exact reason we have to get our fears out. Share them. Write them down. Talk about them with those you trust. Fears do not stand a chance when they are introduced to: oxygen, friendship, and action. The reason is pretty ridiculous and simple. Fears grow with stagnation. You have to do what author Jon Acuff suggests when he says, “Punch fear in the face!”
Fears are CRUSHED when challenged.
ACTION ITEM: I want to you put one of your fears out in the open. If you’re comfortable with it, I’d really love to see a list of fears fill the comments section of this post. The tribe will be there to support you. I promise. Get comfortable in attack mode.
Thank you to my readers. To those who share, those who ponder, and those who challenge the ideas shared on this blog. To those who challenge me to create and curate better content. To the special one (my wonderful wife) who proof reads almost every post…unless I get in a hurry (which happens from time to time).
The link to the video above I just created for this specific post. You can also find it on YouTube titled: “A Keen Reflection” on my YouTube Channel (Zac Keeney YouTube Channel)
I couldn’t leave this post without sharing a few heartfelt points of encouragement I’ve received from different readers so far. Each email I received was unsolicited and fills my heart with devotion and dedication to keep moving the needle:
#1- Great article here and I can relate to #3 on your list below. For me it’s all about effort and the ambition to get better/succeed which also comes with being paranoid on whether or not there is something else I should/could be doing. I think that paranoia has pushed me to greater limits and hopefully can get me to where I want to be in the future. Keep up the good work here buddy, hope all is well!
FYI – I keep almost all of your posts so I can go back through them and make sure my head is in the right place (Post reader is referring to is The Beauty in Paranoia).
#2 – I think you’re doing a great job with it Zac. Keep up the great work. I actually have your page saved under a folder on my phone entitled “growth”. It also has Entreprenuer and YouVerse (bible) apps.
#3 – Zac,
Good morning! I just wanted to say that I always get a spark from your blogs and our exchanges of ideas. Keep up the good work. You are truly an inspiration!
To your success!
I will leave you with this motivational quote from Henry Ford as I consider getting better, growth, and what’s next to come.
“None of our men are ‘experts’. We have most unfortunately found it necessary to get rid of a man as soon as he thinks himself an expert because no one ever considers himself an expert if he really knows his job . . . Thinking always ahead, thinking always of trying to do more, brings a state of mind in which nothing is impossible.” ~Henry Ford
ACTION ITEM: Tell someone “thank you” in the next 48 hours for work they may not know impacts your life. It’s done wonders for me and I can’t thank those above enough for their generosity and feedback.
How busy are you at this very moment?
My hope is you’re taking 2-3 minutes of time to read this because it provides you a great deal of value, but reality tells me there are five or six other things bouncing around in that head of yours begging for your attention.
I want you to take a moment and think about the busyness of society and how it’s leading to the business of society. People are more and more dependent on purchasing “done for you” solutions. Not everyone, but the 80/20 rule tells me 80% of people are looking for simplicity and speed.
Complexity and speed conversely don’t often collide in the same sentence. Therefore, when you’re attacking a problem or pursuing a business solution, one of the top three goals needs to be simplicity.
Answering these questions will help to determine if you have a simple solution:
- Is it really easy to buy?
- Is the offering displayed in an extremely simple and visual offering?
- Does the buyer understand exactly what they’re getting upon purchasing?
- Is the solution “done for me” upon arrival (or as close to completion as possible)? VERY IMPORTANT!
As you’re thinking about simple solutions, I believe it is vitally important to understand real-world scenarios put in front of our faces every day to support this point. I made the list below in order of monetary investment to give you an idea how easy you can make it for people to spend money.
- Combination Meals – why only order the sandwich when the fries and the drink are bundled together (also two of the highest margin products) and the decision is easy? Give me a #1 with cheese please!
- Dollar Shave Club – it wasn’t that I was NEVER going to buy razors again to shave my face or that I hated locating them in the store(likely Target). It’s the fact that as long as I’m subscribed, I no longer have to think about it again for only $3 a month. Monthly subscription sites and offerings are CRUSHING IT right now! (Birch Box, Dollar Shave Club, Truck Club, etc)
- Uber – Have you used Uber yet? Let me ask you why? For me the answers are: it is extremely easy to use, they pick me up anywhere, the cars (and drivers) are clean, and the service is well delivered. It wasn’t like NYC, or SF or Chicago needed more taxis.
- Home Construction – Have you built a home lately? The builders know exactly what they’re doing when the decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home requires picking: a floor plan, color options, cabinetry, flooring, from a: Good, Better, Best list.
If you’re looking for a bump in sales or exploring a new product offering. Please, please consider the simplicity of your offering and solution. Can anything be made any easier or delivered done for the consumer? I’ve always been a little of a design junkie, and this is where simple and well thought out design can deliver huge dividends.
ACTION ITEM: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (K.I.S.S Method)
I’m in the idea business.
The marketing world revolves around fresh ideas. Success oftentimes follows the BIG idea or the breakthrough strategy delivering results for the client. But that’s not all success follows.
I’m also in the business of: sales, sales training, education, mentorship, motivation, knowledge sharing, pastry delivery, ticket broker and anything relating to the next level of success or happiness for my clients. If I’m truly committed to my clients’ successes, marketing can’t be the ONLY discipline worth sharing.
This is the give, give, give strategy.
Give more feedback, give a motivational video link, give more opportunities for growth, give more resources or knowledge so the client can benefit. A word of warning to the greedy and self-centered. This will not make you one penny directly today, but the indirect income I’ve earned over the years from this strategy is enormous.
There are three things every client on the face of the earth thinks before hiring you. You must receive a resounding YES to all three to win.
- Do I like you?
- Do I trust you?
- Do I believe my money is best spent with you and your team?
One simple “No” response to any of these questions earns you the “We went another direction” email or phone call. (THIS SUCKS)
Trust and relationships are forged over time and I believe that by giving all you have to offer, all your talents, all your knowledge and abilities, there stands the biggest room for success not only in the business, but in the relationship. If you find yourself stuck in any client relationship I advise you to give more. Then give more again. It can’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. History taught me great returns are earned from investing (Giving) a large amount upfront.
ACTION ITEM: Who can you give more to today? If it’s not a client, make it a family member or friend in need. Don’t give to expect something in return. Do it because your passion demands it.