The universal truth about fear is that it affects everyone one of us. But when was the last time we stopped to really analyze our fears?
Not only to see what they are but also to see what they stop us from becoming.
How many opportunities do we miss by avoiding things we’re afraid of?
The reality is we’ll never know. There could be life-changing jobs, friendships and business connections, just waiting to be taken or formed.
And that’s the scary side effect of letting fear control our lives: we never know what we’re truly capable of achieving. We risk years of regret, what-ifs, and should-have-dones by giving fear the keys and letting it decide our ultimate destination.
Despite all its uncertainty, fear does make a few guarantees:
- And fear determines our success or failure.
It has the ability to infect our minds, sneak its way into our everyday language, and consume all of our thoughts —if we let it.
We can’t let our fears stop us like this, if we want to achieve at the highest level. In fact, top-performers learn how to act in spite of their fears. They crush fear before it has a chance to fester and destroy.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:
- Michael Jordan: Arguably, the greatest basketball player of all time. Do you remember how he began his career? He didn’t even start on his college basketball team. He wasn’t just handed a plate of basketball talents and told “Enjoy!” Not at all. He worked his ass off until he reached the pinnacle of success. And he knows what it takes to overcome obstacles and barriers.
- What does he say about fear?
“Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
- Fears are just an illusion. Something we create in our heads that stops us from achieving at the highest level. Look where this belief got him in life: Hall of Fame, Greatest Player of All-time, and still getting multimillion dollar endorsement deals years after playing in the NBA.
- Another great example: Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of our time. He’s amassed so much wealth from savvy investing that he’s literally bailed out entire countries on the brink of bankruptcy. Our government and top CEOs around the world turn to him in times of crises for investing advice.
- What is one of his basic tenets of investing?
“Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”
- Translation: His greatest investments have come from taking huge risks in the face of fear. When there’s blood on the streets and nobody can think clearly about their investments, Buffett’s out there buying stocks, hand over fists. He doesn’t let fear stop him; in fact he uses it to his advantage. And he’s one of the wealthiest people of all time.
Successful people leave clues for us. So what are top-performers, like Buffett and Jordan, showing us?
Face your fears, and you’ll get the payoffs.
Without taking risks, without facing our fears, and without pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone, we can never reach our true potential.
It’s really that simple.
SO why don’t more of us do exactly that?
Because a lot of us hear advice like this and think “Ha! Easy for you to say! You don’t have [insert disadvantage], and I don’t have [insert excuse about time or resources].”
Immediately, we react with how our situation is SO special, SO unique, and SO different from everyone else.
It’s an automatic defense mechanism that flares up.
What’s really happening here?
We’re creating a story for ourselves. We’re rationalizing our fears and inaction. Nobody wants to feel like a fool; I get that.
I used to feed myself story after story. I hated feeling bad about myself, and stories created quick fixes to feel better.
In reality, I was hiding from the truth.
So let’s be honest with each other
The truth makes us uncomfortable, especially when it exposes weaknesses inside ourselves. It makes me cringe when I think back on the laundry list of excuses I used to delay improving myself. In fact years ago, I had dozens of books on personal development, filled with tactic after tactic, scattered all throughout my room. I had no excuse not to follow through, yet I allowed fear remain in control. I’d go chasing another tactic, claiming I wasn’t ready yet; I needed to work on just one more thing. And nothing got done.
I knew it was BS then, but it was comforting to hide from fear.
I did this for years; until I realized we have the power within us to make decisions, and we empower ourselves by taking actions toward our goals, no matter how daunting they may seem today.
No matter how fearful we might be, we never improve by continuously consuming information alone. You have to go out in the world and try things.
You can have disproportionate rewards in life.
100x your next closest competitor. I’m talking about absolutely crushing your goals; Defying your wildest expectations, with regard to every area life achievements.
But to do that, you must escape the shackles of fear.
Behind every fear is the person you want to be. If you tackle your fears, you can become the person of your dreams.
Yoda said it best, “Named your fear must be, before banish it you can.”
And that’s exactly what we’re doing today: Banishing Fear. For life.
For years, decades even, you may have walked around, letting fear guide you, letting it beat you down and make you its victim.
Today, let’s turn the tide. Flip the script and make fear your slave.
Today, let’s face fear head on and empower ourselves to break free.
Your challenge for today: start crushing your fears in five simple steps
1) Specific goals: Make a list of 5 things you’ve really wanted to do but haven’t because fear has been holding you back. It can be anything, even something as simple as saying “Hi” to a colleague when you walk past them in the hall all the way to initiating a full-scale conversation with someone new. Be creative and don’t hesitate to write anything down. If you want it, list it. Even if you think it’s silly or you can’t do it just yet, don’t let that stop you for now. Just write it all down, and we’ll get to that later. Ideally, you should spend 2-3 minutes brainstorming things you want to do, but it may take you less time.
Whatever you do, just get to 5 things.
Here are a few questions you might ask yourself to uncover hidden areas where fear may be stopping you from acting:
· Have you wanted to make small talk with someone specific but keep putting it off?
· Have you wanted to speak up in a meeting, but can’t find the words to say or the confidence to deliver it?
· Have you been putting off asking that girl/guy out to lunch?
· Is there some place you’ve wanted to go, but felt it would be weird to go alone?
· Is there a group or organization you’ve wanted to join, but didn’t know who you’d be able to talk to there?
Once you have your list of 5 things, move on to the next step. But don’t skip ahead. Be thorough here. I promise if you go through the exercise correctly, you’ll reap the rewards.
2) Selection: Now that you have your list of 5 things/action items, take a second to review it. Really go back over it and make sure you don’t want to add anything else. Okay, what you’re going to do next might shock you, but I want you to select only the top two goals that you’d like to achieve. Shelve the other four things for now. You’re going to focus all of your mental energy on this one goal. This should be the utmost important to you. Something that, if you accomplished them, would make you feel incredibly excited, overjoyed even. Circle just one.
Keep moving, now, to the next step.
3) Systematize: Here’s where get very strategic in our approach. Anyone can make a list of goals and feel good for a moment. But for most people, goals go into a pile of dreams and wishes to remain unfinished. We differentiate ourselves by creating a plan to follow through. So now, let’s create a simple set of action steps to help achieve your goal. For example, if my goals was to start a conversation with one of my colleagues, I’d include the time of day I planned to talk to them; I’d make sure to plan on starting the conversation on day when I wasn’t pressed for time so I could be more present and authentic; I’d even go so far as to script out a conversation, not only with what I’d plan on saying to initiate a quick chat, but also, with what I’d say to exit the conversation, if I started to feel uncomfortable.
4) See: Create a vivid vision of yourself following through on your goal and conquering your fears. Let the positive emotions wash over you that come from taking this action. Allow yourself to enjoy this moment, and see yourself as truly being successful. Remember, our minds can’t tell a vision in our heads apart from something that actually happens to us. So you can use this to your advantage and practice in advance, without actually having to take action just yet. The more vivid and real you can make your vision, the more powerful this exercise becomes. So include, how things look, smell, and feel in your visualization.
5) Lastly, start fulfilling your dreams, today. Go out and take action toward your goal. Now that you know what you want to do, how to do it, and have seen yourself be successful, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.
Most people don’t work on their dreams or try to channel greatness. They let life happen to them and fear ruins every accomplishment. What will you do?
The post The ONE Thing That Stops Every One Of Us From Achieving Greatness appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.
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Fear of failure is one of the main factors stopping people getting what they want. We can be so scared of failure that we don’t even bother trying! It’s one of the main factors that differentiates people who get what they want and those who don’t. What if we viewed mistakes as learning rather than telling ourselves we failed? Here are some quotes about failure that I hope will inspire you to succeed:
1. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
2. “Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” – Zig Ziglar
3. “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
4. “Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.” -Marilyn Monroe
5. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” – Henry Ford
6. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
7. “Some people experience failure and give up. I see it as a new way to grow and develop!”– Amanda Gore
8. “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby
9. “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates
10. “There is no secret to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
Are you tired of your competition outranking you? Or even worse, seeing them rank for keywords that you don’t even show up for?
In this post, I will teach you, step by step, how to identify keywords your competition is ranking for and how to create content that will outrank them. This approach is so effective that by leveraging it on Quick Sprout over the last 12 months, I’ve been able to increase my search traffic from 160,773 visitors to 280,428 visitors a month.
That’s 119,655 more visitors a month. Or 74% more search traffic per month.
Before we get started, you need to create a list of all your competitors first. Once you have the list with the corresponding URLs, you can put those URLs into SEMrush.
For the sake of this blog post, let’s assume Quick Sprout is your competitor. You would enter www.quicksprout.com into SEMrush.
In the left sidebar, click on the navigation option “Organic Research,” and then click on the “Positions” option.
Make sure the graph is set to the “All” time period option, and then click the “Export” button. At this point, you’ll be given three options.
Click the CSV option. This lets you get a data dump of all your competitor URLs and the keywords they rank for.
Here is what the CSV should look like if you typed in Quick Sprout’s URL.
Once you have your CSV file, you are ready to start analyzing the data.
Analyzing the data
Open the spreadsheet, and delete all columns except keyword, search volume, and URLs.
Now that you’ve removed the unnecessary columns, you need to highlight all of the URLs in the URL column.
Once you select the URLs, right-click, scroll down to the “sort” option, and then click “ascending.”
You’ll get a “Sort Warning” popup on your screen. Select “Expand the selection,” and click “Sort.”
You’ll notice that the homepage URL and the keywords the homepage is targeting will be at the top. Delete the rows that contain the keywords for the homepage URL.
You are doing it because you want to go for long tail phrases as they will drive more total traffic, and they are easier to rank for. Typically, internal pages rank for more long tail phrases than a homepage, which is why you want to delete the rows that contain the homepage URL.
Now you want to select all of the content under the keyword, search volume, and URL columns.
After you have selected the content, scroll up, and select the “Data” navigational option. Then select “Pivot Table.”
You should see a screenshot that looks like the image below. Make sure the data is in the same fields and same order as in the image below.
Click on the blue arrow, then click “By value”, and then “Greater Than.”
Make sure you enter 3,000 for the amount as you only want to target keywords that have enough search volume. The last thing you want to do is focus your efforts on ranking for keywords that only get searched a few hundred times a month.
Keep in mind that search volume doesn’t mean clicks to your site. For example, if you rank number one on Google for a term that has a search volume of 10,000, you’ll be lucky if you capture 20 to 30% of those visitors.
You should now see a CSV file that looks like this.
Now, you see all of the internal URLs on your competitor’s site, the keywords it is ranking for, and the search volume for each keyword.
The keywords that SEMrush shows you are the only ones for which your competition ranks in the top 20 results on Google. These are the keywords you want to go after.
Create new content
Now that you have a list of keywords your competitors are going after, you should look at their content.
Once you do, create your own content, incorporating similar keywords.The key to this process is to make sure your content is better than your competitor’s. If it isn’t, you won’t generate more social shares, links, or traffic.
If you are having trouble with the content creation process, read the following guides:
A great way to ensure that your high-quality content gets seen is to follow the steps in this blog post I wrote. It will ensure that you are getting the exposure you need so that you can outrank your competitor.
It isn’t very difficult to outrank your competition and generate more search traffic than they do. All you have to do is follow the steps above, using SEMrush and the CSV file you export.
Once you do that, make sure you focus on writing and promoting high quality content. It works so well that by following my own advice, I have been able to increase Quick Sprout’s search traffic by 74%.
How else can you generate more search traffic through content marketing?
One of the first things I do before I start writing about a topic or idea is search for supporting statistics. Why? Stats are a great way to support the positions you take and the advice you share.
When I started writing ShortStack’s holiday eBook (be the first to get it here!), my process was no different. I immediately started hunting for the most up-to-date holiday shopping statistics. I quickly found my way to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) website. To date, they are by far the best source for holiday statistics I’ve found.
Every year, the NRF releases a holiday guide, in tandem with their annual holiday forecast, which includes the most relevant data about historical holiday sales, employment and consumer trends. These resources, along with the holiday destination they call “Holiday Headquarters,” are amazing troves of information.
This year, after coming across so great many holiday statistics I decided to create this blog post to share the ones I found most insightful.
Take a look at them below!
Shopping Behavior and Spending Stats
• 28% of consumers plan to spend more than 50% of their total holiday shopping budgets November 28 – December 1 (aka Black Friday weekend).
• Consumers will spend an average of $459.87 on gifts for their family, up 6.5% from $432.00 last year, and $80.00 on gifts for friends, up from $75.00 last year.
• A typical person celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah will spend $804.42, up nearly 5% over last year’s actual $767.27.• Those celebrating the holidays will spend more on gifts for their co-workers ($26.23 vs. $24.52 in 2013), and others such as their babysitter and even their pets ($30.43 vs. $26.65).
• 40.9% of shoppers will begin spending in November, up slightly from 38.8% last year; 15.5% will begin in the first two weeks of December.
• 42.3% of those polled say free shipping/shipping promotions are important factors.
• Consumers say that helpful, knowledgeable customer service (30.3%), convenient locations (47.9%), low prices (41.2%) and sales or price discounts (74.7%) also play a role in their decision to shop at a particular retailer.
• 6 in 10 say quality of merchandise (60.9%) and selection of merchandise (59.4%) are important factors in their decision to shop somewhere.
• For the eighth year in a row gift cards are the most requested gift item among those celebrating the holidays.
• 62% say they’d most like to receive a gift card, followed by clothing (52.5%), books, CDs, DVDs or video games (43.1%), and electronics (34.6%).
• One-quarter (24.8%) of consumers say they’d like to receive jewelry, up from 23.3% last year.
• When asked if the state of the U.S. economy would impact their holiday spending plans, four in 10 (41.4%) said yes, down almost 20% from last year and the lowest amount since NRF first asked in 2009. Of those who said yes, most agree they will compensate by spending less overall (75.6%). Others will shop for sales more often (49.0%), comparison shop online more often (34.4%), use coupons more often (37%), buy more practical gifts (28.4%) and use last year’s decorations (24.8%).
• Self-gifting will decrease this year as shoppers opt to shift their budgets towards spending on others: 56.9% of holiday shoppers say they plan to take advantage of sales and discounts to purchase non-gift items for themselves or others, and will spend an average of $126.68, down from $134.77 last year.
• Nearly 50% of consumers plan to keep track of retailers’ promotions and sales through advertising circulars.
Posted by Chelsea Hejny
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• The average shopper will do 44% of holiday shopping online.
• 2 in 5 consumers said that they will spend more time researching online in order to find a good deal.
• Before making a purchase, shoppers reference 12 sources of information.
• 64% said YouTube is the most influential channel for making shopping decisions.
• Free shipping is deemed the second most important factor for shoppers when purchasing online.
• Digital interactions influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in the retail store.
• 44% of consumers want the ability to buy online and pick up their purchases in a store.
• 84% of store visitors use their mobile devices before or during a shopping trip.
• Consumers are using their mobile phones in the store to research products and find last minute ideas. 69% said that they would use their smartphone for holiday shopping.
• Nearly one third of consumers say they’d like to receive holiday deals via their mobile device.
• When it comes to why consumers choose to shop where they do during the holiday season, one-quarter of shoppers say easy-to-use mobile websites is an important factor in their decision to shop with a specific retailer.
• Broken down by age, 41.1% of 25-34 year olds are somewhat or very comfortable using their device to pay for items at the register, compared to just 14.4% of those 65+. Men are much more likely than women are to feel comfortable with the technology (32.6% vs. 22.5%).
• 1 in 3 consumers use their smartphones to find information they need rather than asking an employee.