“The more I work with people who are struggling with habits or life problems, the more I see how fears are holding us back.
Fears stop us from building healthy and productive habits.
Fears cause us to procrastinate, keep us from finding work that is meaningful (or doing that work if we’ve found it).
Fears keep us from finding friends or connecting with people on a deeper level.
Fears keep us from being happy in each moment.”
– Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
I remember the first time I read that quote. The first time of many – I have it bookmarked in Evernote, and I re-read it most days.
I’m someone who struggles with procrastination, distraction, and getting caught up in the moment. Working on things that I know I shouldn’t be, but I can’t seem to pull myself away from them.
Things that aren’t important – or even urgent for that matter, but they’re close-by. They’re shiny. They’re what I’m doing right now.
My Start + Struggle with Inertia.
I tell people I officially launched PT Champion in December of 2016, which is partially true.
Whilst not one to be dishonest, I prefer to talk about the ’tip of the iceberg’ that everyone can see – the end result.
The brand, the products, the portfolio, the courses.
My customers and their testimonials – and the friendships I have built from within the fitness community as a result.
What you don’t see, and what I try to put behind me is the nearly 10 months of indecision and inaction. Of doing what I thought was important – but what turned out to be just ‘busywork.’
- Building my website to 90% done in an afternoon, and then spending way too long tweaking it.
- Scrapping my website like 4 times because it wasn’t perfect enough:
After all, I’m a web designer – if my website isn’t amazing, why would people want me to design theirs?
(aka: Imposter Syndrome)
- Changing my business name
- Dicking around with accounting software
- Taking far too long to speak to my audience, and actually ask what they want.
- Taking far too long to actually earn a dollar.
Your first sale.
I think it was the first client I had that woke me up.
It was about 3 or 4 months into the above bullshit – working nights, working weekends, all around my full-time job. (which I still do – luckily the hours are flexible-ish).
Someone reached out to me.
They knew me already; your first few clients are usually friends of friends, so that wasn’t so much of a surprise.
I’ve always been one to give out free advice and help others in whatever way I could – I assumed this would be the same.
She told me what she wanted, and then asked me what my hourly rate was.
Newton’s First Law of Motion (Inertia):
“…an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
This is also true for objects that are stationary.
I was paralysed by my own fear, not moving anywhere with my business – yet staying up til 1am most nights. There wasn’t anything behind me that I could show for my time. But I still felt the need to forego social events because I felt guilty.
I should be _____ by now.
The most bullshit statement we ever utter to ourselves.
And we utter it all the time.
That first sale snapped me out of it.
Objects tend to “keep on doing what they’re doing.” In fact, it is the natural tendency of objects to resist changes in their state of motion. This tendency to resist changes in their state of motion is described as inertia.
I got into business for the same reason we all do – for freedom.
Freedom from a boss, from being locked into anything, from having to work on things you don’t care about. For financial freedom.
I wanted everything to be perfect, I didn’t want anyone to call me out for not having x, y, or z. Insert crap like Business cards, Business plan, Funding/Seed money here.
It will never be perfect, and there will always be a bigger fish in the pond than you.
But as long as you’re afraid of that bigger fish, afraid of being called out, being imperfect, or ‘not enough’ – you won’t go anywhere at all. That’s inertia.
And just like the inertia of being inert (dictionary: “lacking the ability or strength to move”); coming alive, being fearless, and picking up your feet – awakens you. It keeps you in motion.
It keeps the success and the drive coming.
I’m not claiming to be smart. I never liked that label that we give people, because it is a comparison label.
If people can be smart, and we choose the think of them that way, then it goes to say that some people are dumb. They’re ignorant, slow, uneducated.
I do claim though to be a thinker.
I’m an over-thinker. I can out-over-think anyone under the table.
It’s the fellow thinkers that struggle with this.
The people who care about the things they put their name on to a personal level.
If you’re like that, then you undoubtedly struggle the same as I do.
You overthink, therefore you stay stationary.
Those that we think of a dumb or obnoxious buffoons, particularly in business – particularly in the fitness industry – are the ones that yield success.
They might not be as book smart, street smart, or have as much heart as you – but the one thing they do have that you don’t is fearlessness.
Fearlessness – overcoming inertia.
You can still be authentic, caring, and giving – whilst being fearless.
You can be fair and just in a world that isn’t, and still know that everything will be okay if you put one foot after another.
All it takes is being honest with yourself, acknowledging your fear (and it’s place in your life), and remembering why you’re here.
What would our lives be like if we didn’t have fear holding us back?
We might find the freedom and joy that comes in being present with each moment.
We might find the underlying goodness that’s always there in each of us.
We might be able to finally live the lives we’ve always wanted to live.
– Leo Babauta
If you’re afraid, that’s more than okay.
Acknowledge that it is the fear that is holding you back from massive action.
That is disguising itself in the costumes of perfectionism, distraction, and procrastination.
The fear is just trying to protect you.
It doesn’t want you to fail. It wants you to be safe.
You haven’t done this before, and haven’t taken a risk like this in the past – so it steps up. It distracts you. It tells you it isn’t good enough.
Give your fear a name.
Our fear is just our inertia.
(But I named mine ‘Eugene’’).
That sounds like a crazy person move, but it makes it easier to deal with by anthropomorphising it.
He’s riding shotgun whenever I try and do something difficult, new, or risky.
He worries aloud to me: “what if this happens, or they say that, or they find out you’re actually blah, or nobody laughs at your jokes.”
The thing that always saves me is remembering that I’m the one driving.
And as loudly as he’ll try and backseat drive while riding shotgun, I’m the one holding the wheel.
He’s just looking out for me to protect me from the unknown. This is as much human biology as it is psychology – this is survival of not the fittest, but the most risk-averse.
Luckily for me, I’m not about to step out into Sabre-tooth Tiger territory.
This is the 21st century. My biggest threat to life is getting in the car and driving to the venue I’m speaking at, not the getting on stage and giving the speech.
So what if my voice breaks or I lose my train of thought. Above the fear, I showed up. I’m there. I’m okay.
”Thanks Eugene”, I say.
“I know you’re just trying to protect me, but I got this.
Thank you for looking out for me, but I know where I’m going.
You can come along for the ride if you want, but you need to sit there quietly. Listen to the radio if you’re bored. I got this from here.”
I don’t normally advertise this, but…
I offer monthly payment arrangements for web design services.
I only do this for a select few PTs who are just finding their feet, and understand the importance of a strong web presence when it comes to building their client-base.