Don't Sell Yourself Short, You're Capable of Amazing Things.
In times of uncertainty—strength and resilience—become even more important. Those qualities are within all of us, even if we don’t feel them at that moment. In our normal lives, we’re tested every day, not always aware of those moments.
We don’t realize what we strive to achieve and accomplish on any given day. Just how many people we talk to, how many things we touch in our daily lives, until we can’t do those things safely. Uncertainty brings fear in our normal daily lives. We don’t expect it, and we can’t always prepare.
Knowledge is comfort.
What we know brings us comfort, everyday things, or even what the experts tell us. We are happy and comfortable in the known, it’s why people generally are resistant to change. We take for granted the massive amounts of scientific information the collective world knows until they don’t know. Knowledge brings us comfort. In times like these when the collective “we” don’t know the answers, and are discovering together, keeping a level head is important.
When change is forced upon us, by circumstance, panic and fear are a natural—and physiological reaction. So how do we adjust and retool ourselves, our lives, and our families to go with the new flow? We take our time, we ask questions, we seek answers. Sometimes there aren’t any to have at that time, so we have to have trust and faith.
Who to trust?
What defines, and creates trust? Is trust something that is assumed, established, or develops over time? When we are bombarded with information from every direction, how do we know what information is true and trusted? Anyone who’s worked in sales knows that it’s okay to say “I don’t know, let me find out for you.” That’s acceptable, but right now we don’t want to hear that from those experts we trust. But it is the truth.
The truth is they don’t know, yet. The time is now, to accept the response “I don’t know, let me try to find out.” The word try is important there, it means we may not know yet but can try to find an answer. We must understand that we are all capable of amazing things, even beyond our wildest imagination when faced with insurmountable odds and life, or death, decisions. We merely need to try.
Putting Fear Behind You.
In life, success means that when faced with fear, we must find a way to put it behind us. To move forward and through fear. What that moment looks like for each of us is unique, but the fear is real—no matter how large (a shark), or small (a virus cell) that threat may be. Often times it comes down to our instincts, that moment when we make a split-second decision, that might be life or death, but we have to trust ourselves and persevere. When facing our own mortality, it is the kind of experience that defines who we are and establishes our character.
That moment, for Dan Stewart, was the summer before third grade, when he faced his own mortality and fear. What is fear? “Fear is characterized as an experience that triggers a physiological response.” There is a physical response, and an entire system in our bodies to deal with moments of extreme duress or fear. That adrenaline boost we get when we are truly terrified when human physiology kicks in and our most primal processes take over.
The way the human body processes fearful stimuli is one of the reasons the species has been able to survive, evolve and thrive on this planet. The environment that our early humanoid ancestors inhabited was not easy, safe or simple. Not like we have it today, so easy. There was a constant threat to life and survival, and without the physiological responses we have developed, we would never have become the dominant species on Earth.
The other type of “feeling” we identify with fear is dread. That odd tickle and sensation that something awful is going to happen. That is a psychological fear and one we often build ourselves. When we avoid tasks that must be done or work that is necessary, that building feeling as procrastination wins — the video game or movie is far more enjoyable than that mundane task you must do— is a different kind of fear. It’s self-inflicted most often, we lack confidence in ourselves and don’t tackle the things we “dread” most.
That’s another kind of fear and one in which Dan reveals secrets to overcoming those in the book. Today though we aren’t facing that kind of fear in our every day lives, we are facing a much more real physical threat to well being. Of our well-being and of those we care most about. It’s a time of uncertainty and therefore fears often overwhelm thoughts. We need to step boldly toward fear to conquer it, to embrace the truth that we don’t always control our destiny, but we can certainly fight hard to achieve what we want..
In his book Seriously Happy Selling (coming in late Spring 2020) Dan Stewart shares a powerful story of survival. Of overcoming the most terrifying of life experiences to survive and to thrive. When I first read the book as part of my job at Happy Grasshopper I was floored. It was truly a moment that becomes a full-length suspense/thriller feature film suspense. As a family is stranded in tropical waters, surrounded by sharks. It was far too real for Dan and his family at a time when we trust our parents to keep us safe.
Dan’s story shares a lot about the strength of character and the potential we all have to overcome even the greatest of odds. To dig deep and discover the strength we all have within us. I thought it would be poignant at this time, to share his story with the world. The following is a part of Dan's powerfully inspiring and motivational tale of facing fear, mortality and survival.
Putting Fear Behind You
An excerpt from Seriously Happy Selling by Dan Stewart. Published with permission from Dan Stewart.
When I was in first grade, my family lived in Miami and, for as long as I can remember, every weekend we went out into the Gulf Stream and caught as many fish as we possibly could. I loved it – it was a lot of fun and I felt very safe on the water. My father seemed to be a very competent captain. He had been an Army officer; he was an engineer; he was a smart man, and if only because he was my dad, he made me feel safe.
Shortly after taking a new job, my Fathers boss inherited a sailboat. The boss asked around if anyone could move the sailboat from Key Largo up to Sarasota. My father thought that sounded like a great family vacation, and he volunteered for the opportunity. I remember being so excited! It became the sole topic of conversation in our house, and all of us, including my brother and sister spent hours imagining what it would be like to go to sea.
After what seemed like an eternity, the day finally came when we would get to visit the sailboat. We weren’t setting out on the big trip. It was simply time to go see what the boat was like and to determine what we were going to need to make the trip. It was like a rehearsal. Our parents called it the dry run.
We showed up at the dock and were immediately disappointed. The boat was neglected and clearly hadn't moved in a long time. It smelled of mildew and was pretty grungy, but we all pitched in and spent most of the morning cleaning the boat and getting it ready for a sea trial. Then we loaded it, grabbed our small cooler, and off we went.
In Key Largo, there's a large reef just offshore at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This is actually the largest barrier reef in North America. There are more than 6,000 individual reefs in the system, and the densest are found to the seaward of Key Largo, in and beyond the State
Park. As boats leave the harbor and head offshore to the east, there are channel markers that direct you around the massive reef. Somehow, my father, who must have been busy minding three kids and figuring out how to sail, missed the markers and sailed straight for the reef.
A coral head knocked a hole in the side of the sailboat and we began taking on water. There wasn't time to do much but panic before the boat was clearly, obviously sinking. I remember he tried using the hand pump for just a couple of minutes and then gave up. When he tried the radio, he discovered it wasn't working. We found that the life jackets were dry rotted and I the look on my father’s face told me that we were in serious trouble.
As the sailboat was descending, the keel came in contact with the ground, and the boat leaned over past forty-five degrees. As the boat leaned on its side, a little bit of the cabin trunk remained above water. The five of us huddled together on that narrow band of fiberglass, while my parents began to yell at each other!
There we were, not very far offshore — with a near-constant stream of boats coming towards us. We’re screaming and shouting and waving our arms! All we need is a single person to see us, but one by one, all the boats turn to head around the reef. Nobody stopped. From the passerby’s perspective, we're just a little bit of fiberglass and mast sticking out of the water. They simply didn't see us.
We spent the entire day madly waving our arms. I remember, at one point, my brother and I were sitting with our legs dangling in the water, and we saw a shark swim by. Instantly, we were struck with terror. That sense of fear grabbed hold of us and it didn't let go. Of course, as adults, it would be normal to be scared throughout the entire experience. However, as kids, we typically felt safe. Our parents were there. We couldn’t be in real danger because they’d protect us. What could go wrong?
That day turned into night and, as the sun was setting, the tide was coming in. That narrow piece of sailboat we huddled on grew smaller and smaller and smaller. Before long, the water was at our knees, and then at our waists. My father busied himself by finding a knife somewhere and cutting some cloth – maybe it was the sail, or perhaps it was a bimini; I’m not sure I ever knew. He made a little hammock and we huddled up in the makeshift bunk.
I don't remember sleeping that night, but I’ll never forget waking up. My mother let out this unbelievable, blood-curdling scream. My brother and sister and I were instantly jolted awake.
We looked out from the hammock and there's my dad with our mom on his shoulders. He's got a boat hook in his hands, and he's watching something in the water, preparing to push it away. I couldn't see what was in the water – it was dark – but I heard splashing and had a sense that this was how we were all going to die. There's a point in our lives where we come face-to-face
with our own mortality. For me, it happened that summer before third grade.
As the sun rose and day two began, we were totally dehydrated, sunburned, and weak. Again, we’re waved our arms, and no one stopped. There was a discussion about whether or not we should try to swim for it but, in the end, my parents felt we should stay on the boat, so we did.
That whole day came and went, and once again the sun went down and the tide came up.
If you would like to read more, please just submit the form below and we will email you the entire chapter. There is so much to Dan’s story of overcoming fear, survival, and strength in the story that applies to life now. You may not be facing a shark, but we are all facing something that may, or may not, hurt us.
Stand strong, be patient, and trust the right sources of information. We’re all capable of so much more than we even can imagine. Hopefully, you are as inspired as I was when I read this. I’ve known, and admired, Dan for a long time but this tale of survival and strength told me so much more about him and made me consider how I would have faced that same situation.
Realize, and recognize, that now is the time and tomorrow is not a guarantee. If you think you can do it, you should do it. If you need help to achieve it, then ask for help. We’re all in this together, right? How are you giving back to your past clients, customers, friends, family, and sphere of influence? Now is the time where messaging is more important than ever, it’s time to check your database, feed and nature it, and reach out to those people.
Spread a little love, and know that fear is only about missing out on what you haven’t done. No regrets, so get going. If you need some help, we’re here for you, just schedule your own call with one of our team here at Happy Grasshopper. Don’t wait, take the first step, and face your fears.
Remember as we face this time of a global pandemic, there are places in this world that live in fear of diseases every day. It is a part of their normal life. No long ago, when a communal water source required everyone in a town using the same pump handle to retrieve freshwater, we had an early epidemic.
As humans began to figure out what “germs” were, Ignaz Semmelweis was observing obstetrical practices at a maternity ward in Vienna tested a theory as to why so many women were dying after childbirth. In one ward the medical staff began washing their hands frequently, and especially before a delivery. The other ward continued as it always had. The results were clear, mother and infant mortality rates dropped to nearly non-existent in the hand-washing ward, lower than 1% mortality rate. He was mocked by his fellow scientist and died shortly after being committed to a mental hospital. He was truly a pioneer.
There is something to help us move forward as a species to come from all of this, we just might not have the historical perspective to know what that is, but someone someday will write about it like I just did. Just don’t sell yourself short, you are capable of amazing things, so get going. Stay safe and healthy!
If you would like Dan Stewart to speak at your event, join you on your podcast or otherwise, please visit DanStewart.com to get more information.
For current information on the COVID-19 Pandemic please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or contact your State Department of Health. The only reliable information should be received from CDC, World Health Organization (WHO) or other Government agencies. Confirm all information and recommendations before you take action. Stay safe.