Weekly Dispatch 28-04-23: What are YOU afraid of?

I read this Tim Ferris quote yesterday: “What we fear doing is usually what we most need to do.” Read it carefully. Can you relate? I can.

Last weekend I was in Belfast hosting a two-day mastermind meeting with twenty high-flying practice owners. These are members of OSA who have already achieved great successes with their practices over the years.

Do you want to know the number one commonality in the discussions we had with each person about the biggest opportunity in their practice and the biggest problem they need to solve? FEAR. No matter what stage someone is at or what the specific problem or opportunity is, it all boils down to fear.

When you grasp what Tim Ferris is saying – what you fear doing is usually what you need to do – you can actually lean into your fear and use it to guide you. What usually prevents a practice owner from increasing prices / dropping Luxottica / dropping insurances or the NHS / paying a generous staff bonus / investing in a newsletter / writing a newsletter / removing frames from display / hiring the next person to create room for growth / stepping back from seeing patients so you can be the CEO of your business etc. is… f e a r.

What do we all fear? Good question. Glad you asked. Well, we fear loss. We don’t want to risk losing any of what we already have. We fear change – what if it doesn’t work and I lose money or worse I lose status i.e. I look like an idiot to my peers, family, friends and staff. We fear rejection. That’s a biggie. What if some customers reject me because of what I do? What if staff reject me because of what I change? And we fear loss of identity. I’m not the kind of person who charges premium prices. I’m not the kind of person to be firm with staff. I’m an optometrist and seeing patients is my identity so I can’t step back from that to be the business owner, not even a day or two a week. No one will wow my patients as much as I do.

What we fear doing is usually what we most need to do.

I’m the same by the way. I’ve had, and subsequently gotten myself over, a lot of the same fears that you have. But I still have the same fears every time I take the next step with both of my businesses. But I’ve learned what I need to do to get over the fears that hold me back.

It’s courage. Courage is the key. This is why I have coaches myself, why I regularly put myself in an environment where I can get multiple other perspectives from people I respect instead of getting stuck in my own fear.

Courage is being willing to act in spite of the fear. It’s not being reckless or thoughtless. Quite the opposite. You think something through, thoroughly, from multiple viewpoints. You get really clear. And then you push forward and do it, in spite of the fears. Courage is being willing to make mistakes along the way. Courage is being willing to look slightly stupid in your early attempts if that’s what’s needed. Courage is being willing to look odd to your friends or staff or peers in order to get the practice that you really want. Courage puts you in a place where you can learn and grow.

Look, everything I have learned and achieved has come through courage. Nothing I did was ever perfect the first time. The first time we did anything was often a bit cringy. But here I am. We figured it out because I had the courage to do it anyway.

I have a successful second business because I was willing to get up on stage that first time in 2015 when every fibre of my being was questioning what the hell I was doing on a stage. I have a £1.5 m practice while I go in only one day a week because I had the courage to step back, and not go in, day by day, and figure it all out as I went.

Without courage we are all stuck exactly where we are. That’s the real power of a community like Optical Success Academy. You’re surrounded by these other great practice owners who understand you, and it shines a light on what you fear, helps you see it differently, shows you that others have that fear and plenty have overcome it, and you can too. That is what gives you courage.

Be willing to make mistakes. Be willing to be a little bit crap at it in the beginning. Courage is where all the learning is.

To Your Success!