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The Working Woman: How to Ask Your Boss for a Raise

boss

Photo courtesy of Kheel Center at Cornell

Did you know that a gender gap still exists in regards to salary?

According to the National Women’s Law Center, over a lifetime of working, women make approximately $400,000 less than their male counterparts who are employed in the same field with equal credentials. To catch up, women would apparently have to delay retirement for an additional 12 years, working well into their so-called ‘golden years.’

It sounds a lot worse than it really is, though.

After reading several articles in popular media regarding the gender pay gap, I set out to do some research on the topic. I discovered that there is a ton of media hype surrounding this issue, most often led by feminist and political groups attempting to make their voice heard or secure more female voters.

Digging a little deeper, I found out that, while a discrepancy does exist, it actually has little to do with discrimination. Many reports suggest that what women expect, want, and demand out of their professional lives often differs from the goals of their male peers.

Women are four times less likely than men to initiate a conversation with their superior(s) about a pay raise.  In fact, women also don’t fare well when it comes to negotiating their starting salaries during interviews, which sets the pace for their future income. They dominate when it comes to negotiating for someone else, like perhaps the company they work for. Unfortunately, a lot of women don’t put themselves high enough on their own priority lists, and also have cited “fears of asking for too much and being denied” as major deterrents when it comes to asking for more money.

If you’re a working woman, or if you’ve got a close friend or family member who is, beat the odds and get that raise:

  • Do your research – Know ahead of time what your magic number is, and bring solid evidence that will show your boss that you’re being paid less than you deserve. Get a really firm grip on what your market value is before your one-on-one with the head honcho.
  • Create a collaborative vibe – Start the negotiation meeting off by saying that you understand that money might be tight at the moment. Approach the situation with a positive attitude - be upbeat and friendly. Avoid playing the victim card.
  • Inquire about your job performance – Ask your boss how pleased he or she is with your work. From there, see if they are aware of your market value. Keep the talk focused on the job – not on you personally.
  • Think small – You know how we feel about tiny steps in the right direction here at TinyShift! Be prepared to accept incremental boosts in pay rather than a gigantic raise all at once. Even if you’re getting paid less than someone else in your department, catching up in salary can take time.
  • Have options - If the negotiation seems to be headed south, let your superiors know that Company SB has offered you a position at the salary you desire. If you’re an excellent and important employee, you’ll be hard to replace, and a good boss will recognize it.
  • Be good at what you do – Going into your boss’s office and asking for a higher salary certainly means you know you’re really good at your job. Right?  If you’re slacking, or even just giving “average” effort – instead of getting a raise, you might end up getting fired.

Lastly, in today’s challenging economic times, be sure to approach any discussion about a raise with caution, and use your best judgment regarding when to make your request. Be sure that your boss is in a really good mood and has recently experienced some kind of “win.” Be mindful of the fact that you have a job, keeping in mind that many Americans are struggling to even get hired, let alone make more money. That being said, it is possible to negotiate for a better paycheck as long as your approach is cautious, positive, and reasonable.

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What Not to Do When Starting Your Own Business

facebookingPhoto courtesy of Small_Realm

You’ve come to the conclusion that a traditional nine-to-five job in an office building somewhere in Corporate America just isn’t for you.

What now?

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving in the new millennium, especially among Americans aged 18-35. Reports from the 2012 business year show that 84% of start-up company owners predicted that their business would become profitable in the next twelve months. The question is - what will it take to make this prediction ring true?

In general, entrepreneurs are creative-types with spirited personalities – full of ideas and vigor. However, no matter how great your idea is, you always need a solid plan to make it into a viable business concept. And keep in mind:

“In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time.”  ~Anthony J. D’Angelo

Granted, there are a select few who somehow hit it out of the park on their first attempt, but the vast majority of business owner wannabes must face the reality that they’ll probably fail quite a few times before they find success.

From the wisdom of several (now successful) business owners who’ve gone before us, comes a list of potential land mines to steer clear of when launching your very own start-up.

  1. Excessive virtual socializing – The most successful entrepreneurs are very good at tuning out distractions and focusing on what they need to accomplish. It’s easy to get sidetracked by all of the fun things on your laptop rather than putting in the hard work it will take to get your business off the ground. Spend less time Facebooking and more time taking actionable steps toward opening your company.
  2. All talk and no action – When you’re excited about a project, it’s natural to want to shout it from the rooftops, but don’t stop there. Telling everyone about your big idea is a good way to hold yourself accountable, but half of the people you tell probably think you’re going to fail. Prove them wrong by coming up with a business plan that includes specific short-term and long-term goals. Then put that plan into action.
  3. Go solo and reap all the glory - Almost every entrepreneur can benefit from a business partner, assistant or intern (and later when you can afford them, employees). Without a partner or mentor, you risk early burn out and confusion. You’ll have to share the spotlight, but your chances of success are much higher when you have someone to collaborate with.
  4. Wish-wash applesauce – Many businesses fail because their founder is too indecisive. As an entrepreneur, you’ll often be the one pulling the trigger on important issues, and if you constantly keep the safety on, you’ll never produce any ideas that go anywhere.
  5. Trying to do it all at once – Some of the most successful small business owners say they realized early on that success just doesn’t happen overnight. Multi-tasking can spread you too thin, causing your work quality to suffer. Keep your mind open to new ideas, and be ready to move forward when it’s time, but don’t move faster than your feet can carry you.
  6. Walking with the dinosaurs – As a business owner in today’s technologically savvy world, you’ll need to be up-to-date on all things electronic. Businesses just don’t run on paper anymore, and you’ll need to adapt to the virtual world if you plan to succeed.
  7. Excusing yourself – It’s time to stop complaining about all of the things “holding you back.” Those entrepreneurs who spend all day whining about the fiscal cliff are the ones who aren’t going to build a successful company.
  8. Going big or going home - Ever hear the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket?” The same concept applies to business. Instead of relying on a few big customers, spend more time focusing on a wide variety of clients. That way, losing one or two won’t mean the end of your start-up.

Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to avoid all mistakes when you begin a new venture, but it is possible to minimize the number of bad moves you make and the effect they’ll have on your livelihood and happiness. Do your research before making any big decisions, and be prepared to learn from any mistakes that just can’t be avoided.

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How to Have a Life Beyond Nine to Five

five pm

Photo courtesy of Sister72

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” – Proverb

Perhaps you spend your work day in a busy office helping clients or patients. You might manage a restaurant, teach children, or deliver important products to waiting customers. Regardless of what you do for a living, putting some space between your work life and your personal life is critical.

Many studies have already been conducted on the effects of work stress on our bodies and minds. We are regularly advised to take proactive steps that will make our work day less distressing, enabling us to be more productive employees. Try as we might, many of us are still plagued by job stress day after day.

By allowing the black cloud you couldn’t shake at work to follow you home at night, you’re actually entering into a brand new profession: thievery.  Letting work woes occupy your mind, sneaking away to make a few business calls? Now you’re stealing time from your family.

It’s true that your life is a composite conglomerate – a singular unit made up of many different parts. It would be virtually impossible for you to lead completely separate work and home lives because you are, after all, only one person. Until the day when you can pick up an at-home cloning kit at Walgreens, the next best thing is to put some boundaries into place that will make it easier for you to transition from one part of your life into another.

1. Take a detour on your post-work commute.

Stop off to take a short walk in an easily accessible, relatively tranquil area. Even a 15 minute stroll can be enough for you to mindfully bring your focus into the here and now, and away from the chaos of your work day. Alternatively, give yourself some ‘Talk Therapy’ in the car if your commute is already significant. If you’re worried about looking like a loon, buy a cheap blue tooth headset and pretend you’re talking on the phone.

2. Give yourself a cutoff point.

As you make your way home, it’s natural to have the work day’s events tumbling through your mind. Even if you’ve had a real doozy of a day, pick a physical landmark to signify that you’ve entered the Home Zone. Turn your thoughts toward the positive things awaiting you on the other side of your front door – a smiling partner, happy children, good food, hobbies, or a relaxing bath. It’s impossible to completely push work from your mind, but be sure to give your home life the full attention and nurturing it deserves.

3.  Do not unload on your spouse.

Being able to release your work frustrations is important, but you’ve got to find someone other than your spouse to be your sounding board.  Home should be your ‘Happy Place’, and your spouse sees it that way, too. Bringing home a bad attitude and immediately launching into a daily tirade will get tiring, and your spouse will eventually associate your return home with negativity.

Try calling up a friend once or twice a week, preferably someone who you don’t work with, to let off some steam. Keep these calls short, though, so you don’t kill that friendship or spend too much home time on the phone.

4. Make it count.

By not dumping all of your work worries onto your family, you’ll be moving in the right direction, but take it one step further. Ensure that each member of your family feels that you’re fully engaged in family time. Try to give each child at least 15 minutes of your devoted attention. Make eye contact as they tell you about their school day, or what they read about in a book. Let them feel physical contact from you, too. Research shows that it only takes two minutes of hugging per day to make a significant difference in a child’s self-esteem.

While it may seem like a lot to remember, keeping work out of your home life really is a lot easier than you think. Once your family feels that they’re getting the attention they deserve, everything will flow much more smoothly, leading to less arguments, challenges, and conflict. On the flip side, a happy home life will allow you to focus clearly during work hours, increasing your productivity there, too. Win, win, win.

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A Success Story that will Amp Up Your Motivation

Photo courtesy of CR Artist

I’ve found that motivation is rather hard to come by this time of year, and that (ironically) was the catalyst for today’s post.

If you’re like me, then you’ve realized how difficult it is to overcome the emotional hurdles that come along with being in a slump – the biggest of which is a feeling of hopelessness. Luckily, motivation is something that comes and goes, and as long as you don’t give up on your goals, you will feel motivated again soon.

Along with staying focused on the end result, there are some other things you can do until your motivation returns, and some of them might even bring it back sooner. At times like this, choose one goal to focus on. Too many things on your To-Do list is a surefire way to overwhelm yourself. Spend some time with your negative thoughts; let yourself feel them without judgement. After a few days, start writing yourself inspirational notes, even if you don’t feel inspired yet.

You can also use this time to be inspired by other success stories, like the one that follows.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

When Howard was just 8 years old, his father lost his blue collar job due to injury, with no opportunities for sick leave or disability pay. Howard’s parents became unable to pay bills, afford healthcare, or even put food on the table. Howard wanted a better life, but he also wanted to make a difference for others. As the first member of his family to attend college, he earned a degree in Communications, after which he worked his way upward with sales and marketing positions.

His incredible drive and work ethic eventually got him hired as Vice President of a fairly large housewares company. Among his clients was a small company that sold coffee beans, loose teas, spices and beverage accessories. Howard became intrigued by this company when they began purchasing more and more of his company’s products. On a business trip to their location, he fostered a relationship with the company owners and eventually became their Director of Marketing.

Soon after, while Howard was on vacation in Italy, he noticed coffee shops on every corner, all brimming with customers day in and day out. People used the coffee shops as meeting places and hangouts. When Howard returned home, he pitched the idea to his bosses. However, the small coffee company owners wanted no part of the ‘restaurant business’ and they quickly dismissed his idea.

Howard was disheartened by their response to his idea, so he left the company to start a chain of coffee shops on his own, called Il Giornale. Two years later, he had enough capital to buy the rights to the small coffee bean company he had left. It cost him $3 million to purchase and he quickly rebranded Il Giornale to combine the two concepts into a colossal money making machine.

Of course, the name of that small coffee bean and tea company was Starbucks, and as of 2012, it is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, and Howard Schultz has a net worth of approximately $1.5 billion. True to his promise to himself when he was just a youngster, every Starbucks employee working 20 or more hours a week receives healthcare options, which are also extended to their spouses.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I often think about Howard when my motivation is low, and I realize that if he can accomplish such amazing feats, having grown up in a housing project in the Canarsie area of Brooklyn, then surely the rest of us can find the motivation to accomplish our goals, too.

Until your motivation returns, let the stories of people like Howard stoke your fire. You only need one ember burning to keep your dreams from going up in smoke.

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How Much are Your Hours Worth?

Photo courtesy of Saad Kadhi

While I was weighing whether or not to have the housekeeper clean my house this month, I remembered a conversation I recently had with a friend. Our chat was lengthy and had both of us taking opposite ends of a philosophical perspective, but I can actually summarize our conversation in a three-word question.

Does time = money?

This is, of course, something people have wondered about many times before. For me, it meant trying to figure out which was smarter. On the one hand, if I simply picked up a scrub brush and hopped to it, I could work around my clients’ needs and get the whole house cleaned in my spare time.

In that scenario, I’d have the same amount of money but less time in which to make more of it.

My other option was to call the housekeeping company and schedule a cleaning. They’d send out a crew and clean my entire house in a little over an hour, for which I’d pay them a pretty significant amount of money. While they sanitized my bathrooms and dusted all the knick-knacks I’ve accumulated (even though I once swore I hated those things), I could be working on paid projects, listing items in my eBay store, or coming up with my next big idea. Not to mention, I’d gain back the two hours (likely more) I would have spent cleaning the house by myself.

In that scenario, it seems that time does = money. However, as with so many things in life, it’s just not that simple.

When anyone is considering how to best spend the hours in their day, there are several things that must be taken into consideration. Primarily, you should have a good idea of what an hour of your time is worth to you in terms of income. Let’s use the cleaning company scenario as a hypothetical example. Hiring them would gain any of us three hours each month to do whatever we needed or wanted to accomplish, and for the sake of this argument we’ll stay focused on activities that have earning potential.

Would an extra three hours help you achieve important professional or financial goals? If so, think of hiring people to take care of some of your duties as an investment in your future. In order for it to be a sound investment, you’ve got to use that time wisely and not spend it surfing the Internet while eating Cheetos, though. If that’s the result of your investment, you’ve just flushed the entire cleaning company fee right down the drain, plus any potential earnings you could have generated by coming up with your next big idea.

So, if time really is money, then it’s clearly a good idea to buy more of it. At regular intervals, take stock of how well you utilize any time you were able to free up by buying more time. Did your investment in yourself pay off?

If it seems like buying time isn’t helping you attain your goals, spend some free time analyzing what you could do differently. Keep working at the time/money equation until you get an answer that has a big professional payoff.

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Can You be a Leader and a Teammate?

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When it comes to working collaboratively in teams, keeping everyone on task and maintaining productivity levels are important responsibilities.  Without a leader, most teams would end up as vacillating mobs of confusion, resulting in wasted time and fruitless efforts. As a general rule, highly successful teams are led by ambitious and motivating leaders.

Most of us are quite familiar and comfortable with letting others fly the plane (proficient pilots preferred).  Some of us ride in coach with others making it up to first class. A select few possess the right skills and end up as co-pilot. Moving toward the cockpit is by and large the direction of choice.

If we go by that logic, what happens when the captain decides to switch on auto-pilot while he ventures back to first class, or maybe even coach? Can the leader be an effective member of the team?

To be a leader and a teammate simultaneously takes a person who possesses a specific set of characteristics. No leader works totally separate from his team, and vice versa, but a leader who either has to or wants to do some of the ”grunt work” must be absolutely certain he maintains his authority while doing so, or retaining his leadership role will be impossible.

At times it can be unsettling for team members when their leader suddenly wants to be an active participant rather than a supervisor. As leaders are often (but not always) Type-A personalities, they can be a bit overwhelming in the team environment, where the rest of the teammates are more even-keeled.

If you are in a situation where you must switch between the two roles of leader and teammate, it is crucial to remember several key points in order to do so swimmingly.

  • Always keep the team’s goals in mind rather than your own personal agenda.
  • Show your team members respect at all times. In order to eventually return to your role as ‘leader’ you must be careful not to lose the support of your team. Disrespecting someone is a surefire way to lose any respect they at one time held for you.
  • True teammates will ‘take one for the team’ when they have to. When you work as a teammate, be sure that you are willing to do everything you would expect other members of the team to do.
  • When you work as team leader, keep your interactions soft and keep the environment collegiate.  This will allow you to move easily between the two roles.

Keep in mind that the best leaders don’t create good followers – they create other leaders because they lead by example. To be an extraordinary leader means keeping your focus on the success of the team and doing what it takes for the team to thrive. If you keep your eyes on the runway, you’ll be able to keep your team on track for a safe and sound landing every time, whether you’re in the cockpit or sitting in the very back row of ‘coach.’

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7 Steps to Becoming a Better Team Player

Photo courtesy of Gavin Llewellyn

As we were coordinating a recent event here at the TinyShift offices, there were quite a few details that we had to iron out in short order. Just like our readers, we’re learning everyday, and this time we were learning how to produce a pretty substantially sized project by working together as a team.

Whether you’re just starting your self-improvement journey or if you’ve been walking down the path for awhile now, remember that being a good team player is a skill that you’ll use in multiple areas of your life. Make sure you can hold your own when it comes to the areas listed below, and you’ll see the payoff in your work life, your friendships, your family life, and even your love life.

  1. Effective communication skills – Speak your mind and know when it’s your turn to listen to others’ ideas.
  2. Unique knowledge base  - Bring a skill to the table that your team values, and keep honing it so that your value doesn’t depreciate.
  3. Dependability – A functional team needs all of its members to do their part well and on time.
  4. Team loyalty - If you don’t believe in your team and the projects you’re working on, you might as well quit now.
  5. Strong work ethic – Don’t let anyone walk all over you, but be willing to push your limits when you’re asked to.
  6. Openness to new ideas – A person who is ‘always right’ will never make a good team member.
  7. Willingness to ask for help – While they need you to be able to pull your load, being part of a team means you all help eachother anytime you can.

If you think about it – all of the skills or attributes listed above apply to many relationships in your life. Sure, we usually associate working well as a team with our professional lives, but truth be told, old fashioned teamwork is what makes the world go ’round. And when there’s a lack of teamwork, chaos generally ensues in short order.

Keep your team-building skills on the burner at all times. Let them simmer, but make sure there’s a steady fire under them. That way, you’ll never have to attend a team event empty handed, and you’ll be sure to impress everyone!

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Do You Have What it Takes to Work from Home?

Photo courtesy of Megan Ann

These days, more people are leading a more independent work life because many start-ups and even some older and larger corporations are allowing a number of their employees to work out of their homes for part of the work week. Some companies have even gone a step further by adopting some form of virtual office structure – which allows them to save money on rent and utilities while maintaining a flourishing business.

For entrepreneurs and freelance workers like myself, working from home means less hours away from family (I have a zero minute commute, each way), virtually no wear and tear on a vehicle, possibly maintaining only one family car, and flexible hours. Rearranging my schedule can happen when I need to, even if it means working into the wee hours of the morning. I can then immediately slide right into bed – because it’s fifteen feet away.

In case I’ve made it sound like a life of luxury and leisure, let me reassure you that working from home presents plenty of challenges. Most of us in the working world today grew up thinking that eventually we’d be working anywhere but inside our own homes, so it’s a different way of thinking about employment. Besides making changes to your mental image of what a work day looks like, anyone considering self-employment or telecommuting will also have to prepare themselves for a whole new way of working.

Firstly, there are no distractions in a home office, and yet there are a million, depending on your point of view. There won’t be any coworkers sidling up to chat with you every morning at 10 AM on the dot.  However, with a simple flick of the eye, your laundry pile’s in view, and, “What would it hurt to throw in one load?” That line of thinking can lead you to a spotless house…and no paycheck to show for it.

Working from home requires that you set your own boundaries and take your own breaks. Your best bet is to set up a home office and close the door while you’re working, to stay focused on your daily tasks. Since the only water cooler excitement occuring at your home involves trying out your new Brita filter, set specific times to stop working for a few minutes. Do some yoga or other exercise during these breaks.  You’ll need to get your blood flowing throughout the day, just as you would if you worked in a traditional office setting.

It’s easy to feel isolated from others when you don’t leave your house all day.  A few times a week, call up a friend who is free to talk for a few minutes.  Perhaps you’ll be Skype chatting with your in-office team as part of your job description, which will help you feel in the loop. Take a walk every day with a neighbor or have regular lunch dates with a family member who lives nearby. Finding small ways to stay connected to others is essential to your sanity and will ultimately make you more productive, too.

As much as possible, stick to a schedule that works for you. While you will probably be able to set your own hours, if there is no rhyme or reason to them, you’ll never settle into a routine. Routines allow us to form good habits, and good habits mean working more effectively.

In my opinion, the pros definitely outweigh the cons of working from home, but it’s a delicate balancing act that requires a certain level of restraint and self-control. If you possess neither of those two qualities, you might be better off clocking in at a job where someone else can set your boundaries for you. However, if you think you have what it takes, nothing’s stopping you from exploring a career that lets you work outside the box.

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Should You Use Your Connections to Get Ahead?

Photo courtesy of Tiare Scott

I recently had a conversation with one of my doctors in which he discussed the phenomenon of having the letters M.D. after his name. He expressed amazement at his ability to get the best seats at the opera, being shuffled to the front of the line at the DMV and getting his daughter an appointment with a busy specialist when no appointments were available for 6 months. We both wondered out loud whether or it was right for him to take advantage of his status as a medical doctor, and it really got me thinking. Should you use your connections to get ahead?

The old saying goes, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know,” and the sentiment behind that saying used to be that if you knew the right people and used them to your advantage, you were most likely a jerk.

When I was younger, I agreed with that sentiment. I felt that if you were talented, intelligent and resourceful that you would eventually live the life you wanted based on your merits alone. Today I believe that using your connections wisely is a huge testament to precisely how talented, intelligent and resourceful you are.

What follows is a list of helpful ways to use who you know (and who they know) to get you closer to many of your goals and to make life more enjoyable along the way.

  •  Use your network only when necessary. If you tap your connections all the time, it will become clear that you cannot accomplish anything without their help.
  •  When you do ask your network of friends or professional connections for help, try to limit it to asking for information, phone numbers, submission   guidelines, or tips about who you can get in touch with to accomplish the goal at hand.
  •  Make sure that you follow through and actually use the information that you have been given.  Remember that the person you asked for information will most likely find out if you did nothing with the tips he gave you, and the next time you ask, he probably won’t be so forthcoming.
  •  Never forget to say thank you to anyone who does offer you help, whether it is in the form of a job interview, the phone number of a contractor who will work at half-price if you mention the name of your connection, or, in the case of my physician, better seats at the opera.  Send a thank you card if you think it would be appreciated, but make sure that your thanks are graciously given in some way.  People generally enjoy helping others – but only if they get something out of it too.  Usually, they feel pretty good about helping someone who is extremely grateful.
  •  Try to vary who you reach out to.  Repeatedly asking the same person or small group of people for favors is definitely going to get old quickly. If your network is small, make a point of growing your connections daily.  One great way to do that is through the use of social media networks.  Outside of the virtual world, go to the right social gatherings, and, if you’re invited to dinner with someone who might potentially be able to help you in the future, make every effort to show up.

Of course, using your connections in life will only get you so far, and the real work (putting those connections to use) has to be done by you, and you alone.  With that being said, networking, and the benefits that come from it if done correctly, can benefit you greatly.  The next time you need help with something that might be made easier by someone you know – remember this: the worst they can say is no.

 

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Make Fear Less of a Factor in Your Life Equation

Photo courtesy of epsos.de

You know those long e-mail questionnaires we all used to send around to our friends under the guise of getting to know people better? Loaded with questions about our physical characteristics, likes, dislikes, and aspirations – they presented us with the perfect opportunity to talk about our favorite subjects – ourselves.

With changes in technology happening faster than the blink of an eye, email surveys quickly became yesterday’s news. Personally, I found them tiring pretty much from their inception, and I had a reason for my dislike. It was simple, really. I used to be uncomfortable in any situation where I didn’t have all of the answers.

I suppose you might ask why I wouldn’t have all of the answers to an email survey about my height, hair color, and whether I’d rather be a pirate or a ninja. Obviously, those weren’t the questions that tripped me up (ninja, naturally.) It was the deeper questions I never felt like answering, like whether I was in a happy relationship or what I hoped my life would look like in five years.

As it turns out, I wasn’t alone in avoiding harsh realities about my life.  In actuality, there are thousands of people trying to avoid facing feelings of discontentment and many other disappointing realities in their lives, and for most of us, the driving force behind our avoidance is the four-letter f-word.

FEAR.

Every day, countless people bury themselves in avoidance because they fear that facing the problem could cause them to experience failure of some type.  Fear is a very powerful emotion that can keep us from shooting for the stars and achieving our ultimate goals that would skyrocket our happiness level.   Allowing our fears to control us prevents us from living the lives we really want.

Fears of abandonment, job loss, going into debt, rejection, intimacy, not measuring up, and even a fear of success itself are all common and natural. Usually, feeling scared keeps us safe and prevents us from doing things that often might end up causing us harm. There are times, though, when it’s in our best interest to feel afraid of something and to pursue it anyway.  The hard part is knowing when to listen to our fears and when to challenge them.

It’s quite possible that, unless you feel quite substantially miserable in your current life circumstances, you’ll be less likely to pursue your dreams due to a fear of the unknown. Even if your life as you know it is far from your ideal life, it’s familiar and safe. Many people have a desire to live a different kind of life, work in a different field, or be married to someone different, but the fear of what it would take to get there is simply too strong.

I’m a prime example of a person who faced a great deal of fear in order to live the life I really wanted. The life I had before wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t my ideal existence. It was SO SCARY taking that first step in the journey to where I am now! But once I took the first step, the momentum kept me moving in the direction I should’ve been heading all along.

Will you let fear control your decisions or can you handle feeling afraid of the fall but taking the leap anyway?

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