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Waiting and Waiting ... For Nothing to Happen
Originally Posted 09/07/10

An intense woman on television was standing on a wind swept beach staring into the camera with wind whipping the waves into a frenzy in the background. The hood on her jacket was caught by the high burst of a strong gust and almost pulled her out of the camera range and drug her down the beach.

Reporters in the studio kept saying over and over again in special reports: "Believe it people, Earl is going to be a big storm and you need to be prepared. It is heading toward Cape Cod and it will be strong. Plan for a major hurricane now.Ē

So I bought rolls of tape for the windows, checked the generator, put all the outside furniture away, picked up cases of water, put new batteries in the generator, and most importantly, picked up more wine. And then the agonizing waiting began as the storm slowly tracked its way over 12 hours up the coast toward our little island.

And then nothing happened.

Earl brought rain for a few hours and then passed off coast and just kept on going toward Canada. The only essential purchase I really got any use out of was the wine. The storm was a bust, which was obviously a good thing, but it also was a major letdown if you were barricaded in your house waiting for the finger of God to strike New England. After all the fear, there was nothing but rain.

Trite, overused sayings almost always have some grain of truth embedded in their worn out words of wisdom, but we hear these sayings from our grand parents day or earlier so many times in our lives we no longer recognize the lessons we should be learning. While I was putting the furniture back out in the yard, I thought about the old adage you hear so often from so many mediocre motivational speakers throughout the years.

"The future will never be as bad as your fears lead you to anticipate and you canít change the past, which means your only choice is live now, in the present, because that is all you can actually control.Ē You hear this so many times you just donít hear it at all, let alone ponder what the words really mean. But there is truth here, and it does affect many of the people I know and work with in this industry.

The future is seldom, if ever, as bad as we think it might be. Fear of what might happen often is the reason nothing ever happens in most peopleís life. Deals are blown, opportunities lost and life is lived at a lesser level because the fear of future that has not yet happened prevents too many people from every reaching for their dreams.

There is a young couple that has been in the last few workshops getting ready to open a new training facility. They have the money, are the right age, have real life work experience but just canít get it opened. Each time I talk to them we spend a lot of time discussing all the things that could go wrong. I imagine they must lie awake each night talking to each other and worrying about every conceivable thing that could go wrong in this simple project. Their fear of what hasnít happened, and probably never will happen, will most likely keep them from every opening their business and living their dream.

How many people in the fitness business live lesser lives because the fear of what might happen prevents them from ever taking any chance at all? Fear magnifies the possibilities, yet life has taught all of us over and over again that the future is almost never as bad as our imagination creates.

It is good to anticipate some reality. Yes, you need a certification if you want to open a training facility. Yes, you should plan for reserve capital if you want to open a mainstream fitness facility and you should look at the demographics and competition too. But you also have to focus only on the reality of what you can control. If it makes sense as a business plan now, then do it and donít let fear get in your way.

Risk is part of life. You cannot eliminate all risk in every thing you do. You can live in a cave, avoid people, make no decisions and die a lonely, frustrated person because you sought to live your life risk free; that is if an avalanche doesnít trap you in your cave or a bear doesnít eat your risk phobic ass because you are boarding yourself up in his house.

The lesson here is that you should anticipate the future but live in the present. Plan your life, open your new business, go for that new job or just go crazy and take the biggest risk of your life, but base it upon the reality in front of you now and not what might happen, but most likely will never happen, in the future.

What if I fail? What if you do? Itís just money, go make some more. Plan well; work hard and you lower the chance of not making it immensely.

What if I get fired? What if you do? Work hard, learn your new job, quit in two years and go after even a better job.

What happens if I take a chance and it doesnít work out? What happens if you do nothing and you stay stuck in your present situation? Not making a choice is making a choice. You made a decision to do nothing, which is still a decision and that non-decision could have a more powerful negative effect on your life than if you would have done something.

Do something people, even it is wrong, because wrong at least moves your life ahead. Doing nothing is seldom ever the right decision. The only time I have ever seen doing nothing as a correct decision is in a negotiation where it is part of your strategy to walk away. Some people want to open a club they canít afford. The decision isnít to do nothing; it is to do something different. Buy used, open smaller, change the concept, but the answer is not usually do nothing.

True failure is when you become trapped by the fear of the future unknowns and then live a lesser life than you are capable of due to wasting your talent. Your mind will always create the worst-case scenarios. In a void without truth your mind will simply make up its own reality. Being trapped by something that has never yet happened, and wonít, may be the biggest waste of your life and your abilities and is something that will haunt you as you age and reflect back on a life unlived.

My advice is almost always the same to people weighing the big decisions. Is this something you want with all your heart? Are you prepared to do this? Does this have a high chance of working out financially? If the answer is yes to all of these, simply go do it now and donít wait until everything is perfect. Life is not perfect and never will be, but your future can become something wonderful because it was one you created for yourself.

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