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  • Writer's pictureJenn Gillihan

Stop "Shoulding" All Over Yourself

How many times do we repeat the words "I know I should xxx" only to not follow through with whatever our xxx is? For most people, we do it often. I should work out, I should call that lead, I should prep for that meeting, I should spend more time with my spouse or my kids...well, at some're simply "shoulding" all over yourself. (punn intended)

In all the training I've done in the past 5 years on life coaching, business consulting, strategic intervention, high performance and relationships...not to mention my 20+ years of school of hard knocks as an entrepreneur...there is one message that has permeated all of that teaching. When we hold ourselves back, 9 times out of 10 it's because of fear.

Not you huh? Ok, I don't presume to know it all. But let's breakdown just one of those things that you've been putting off. Let's say you've had this idea to grow your business rolling around in your head for awhile...a month, 6 months, a year? You think about what you could do with it, how much it could increase your profits...but it's going to take a lot of time which is simply something you don't have right? So you put it off telling yourself you'll do it next year. Next year rolls around and you don't have the right staff to transition...maybe next year. Next year rolls around and the economy is down so you'll wait until it bounces back a little...maybe next year. You get the idea right?

The truth is that you made time for that 2 week vacation. You made time to veg in front of the TV and watch all 5 seasons of "Scandal". You made time to wander the aisles of that local thrift shop once a month to find something you liked...just to make you feel better. Now don't get me wrong, none of those things are necessary wrong. If you are using time as your excuse to not chase your dreams're lieing to yourself. If you spent the time this year to hire the right person, next year you'd have the right staff. If you'd started two years ago the economy wouldn't have been down. You get the idea.

So what is it that you're really afraid of? Typically it's one of 3 things.


Nobody wants to give up their time. Nobody wants to risk money on an investment that might go belly up. Nobody wants to lose the respect of their staff if they've a wrong decision. The truth is though that by focusing on the fear of'll never realize the dream you are ignoring.


You know that if you invest your time now that a few years down the road you will reap the rewards in cash, in free time, in control over your own involvement and how you do business. If you make this thing a huge success...think of the rewards! Even if your first try doesn't turn out exactly as are one step closer to finding what will work and you are 10 steps closer to being a more courageous leader for yourself and your team.


Granted...I like sleep, I like really good fresh sushi and I love my motorcycle almost as much as my husband loves his race car. However, would I give all of those up (including my husbands race car) in order to make our dreams for our business come true? YES! See temporary hardship is always worth extraordinary gain. I'll gladly give up an hour sleep each night, swap my sushi for raman and drive vehicles that are a little less sexy in exchange for building a business that will give us back all of those things 10 fold 5 years from now.


When we experience hardship there is always joy along the way. Find the joy in the process itself, in the people around you, in the experience itself. Are you growing? Are you learning new things? Are you becoming a better leader? A better problem solver? Are you watching your team stretch themselves, think creatively and profess their loyalty through the long hours and occasional misteps that it takes to get to that bigger dream? "I'd rather grow through the struggle, than sit in mediocrity".. preach it brother, I'm with ya!


If every inventor, artist, builder, general, or joe schmoe focused on the fear of the outcome not being what they wanted...we'd still be tadpoles. Whether you are creating a painting that you're afraid others might not value, taking your first steps or invading a country...we've all faced the fear of unknown outcomes. We did it anyway.


Trust in yourself, in your ability to figure things out. Trust in your ability to charge through when things are hard, to adapt as needed along the way to reach your goal. Trust in your team, in your partner, in your be there beside you chearing you on every step of the way. Trust that the universe or God or whatever you believe in, wants you to succeed.

You have a gift to give whether it's time with your family to build stronger relationships, a brilliant new invention or a piece of art that will inspire thousands to stop and marvel in the midst of their chaotic lifestyle.

Dream it...give this gift you've been holding back to yourself and to the world by changing your "I should" to "I did".

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