Struggling with Business? Fear Psychology Might Be to Blame

4 min read

“If business is booming, why are people struggling with leads?” asked Geraldine Ree, a travel agency consultant and author of “Flying Colors: The Travel Advisor’s Guide to Breakthrough” at last month’s Travel Market Place East conference in Toronto.

“Can you see that is a paradox? It’s a conflicting thing.”

The reason, Ree continued, is the same reason so many people never seem to make any progress on doing something they’ve been thinking about doing for a while. Like implementing a marketing plan or saying no to customers you don’t actually want.

“The really interesting thing about mindset and motivation is that they actually work in conflict with one another,” Ree said. “Your brain says yes and your body says uh uh.”

For example, your brain is saying, yes I want more and better customers, but instead of cleaning up your calendar or focusing on marketing, you’re mindlessly posting on social media.

But why?

Fear Brains
Over millennia our brains have been wired to be driven by fear. Even when we don’t think we’re feeling afraid our brains are, particularly of anything that might be unknown … like what the outcome of making a change might be.

“We would rather be miserable in our certainty than happy in our uncertainty. It’s how your brain is wired,” Ree said.

‘You have to trick the brain in making the future look clear and so compelling that you’re willing to stop doing the things you know don’t matter anymore.”

There are several ways to trick the brain into action.

First, make a decision.

“It’s not a decision that gets in the way. It’s an indecision,” she said.

Not sure if you’re being indecisive? Busyness is a great symptom of indecisiveness. If you’re busy all day doing “stuff” but not really moving in the direction you want to be going, there’s a good chance your fear brain is actively keeping you busy.

“Your ‘stop doing’ list is endless. We can find endless things to do to be busy, but being busy is not productive.”

You can also recognize indecisiveness in the questions you ask yourself about your ideas.

How can I possibly make this work? Where will I find the time? Am I good enough to do this? What if no one calls? What if I never make a sale?

“The brain gets 60,000 thoughts per day and 80% of them are negative and 95% are repeated,” Ree said. But you can stop them.

Visualization, Action, & Planning
To get beyond indecisiveness and out of fear thinking mode, Ree recommends three steps.

Step one is visualization.

“Visualize, what if I did sell long stays in the Caribbean where I got commissions with commas instead of low price points?”

What would your business look like? What would it feel like? Show your brain a rosy picture of what making a decision will look like.

Along with visualization, take an action. Put an action step on your calendar and do it.

“What decisions are bubbling up inside of you right now that you can encourage, to go after the leads that build the business you love with people who love. The choice is yours, what decision do you need to make?”

Sometimes the action you need to take can be as simple as scheduling time to step away from the business so you can think clearly.

Fear brain tells you, you need to answer those 20 emails now. But if you’re reacting, you’re not thinking about the future.

“It’s getting out of your office at one o’clock and going for a walk and allowing all those things to just relax so you can get some clarity.”

It’s one thing to have the idea to specialize in river cruising, but you need to give yourself the time to think about, for example, how to build a database of river cruisers.

Think about what you want, what the plan is, what you need to get better at, what training you might need.

“Get out of busy and get into productive and productive starts with a plan.”

When it comes to planning, Ree has one additional piece of advice and that is, go beyond the numbers.

“Usually when you work in your business you think, I’d like to get to a million dollars in sales or I’d like to do three groups. That’s the number. The goal is I’d like to work 40 hours a week with 12 weeks to travel, but if you don’t put that in your goal, you’re going to be busy and not productive.”

What’s the “real” goal and why does it matter to you? That needs to be part of your planning, because that brings everything back full circle by giving your brain a clear and compelling picture of the outcome of the decision you need to make.

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