Banning “busy” from everyday conversations

We need to treat “busy” like the four-letter word that it is.

Everybody’s busy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, the average U.S. employee puts in 7.6 hours of work before coming home and spending an average of at least two hours in household activities. That’s already a big time commitment.

Banning busy for our everyday conversations - writetojoncook

Between being married, having kids, working a job (at least you should be), tracking your budget (another really good idea), taking care of your house/chores, grocery shopping, exercise, meals, sleep, and commuting between all of those responsibilities, anyone would be busy!

Saying you’re busy nowadays is like saying you’re on Facebook: everybody is, unless you’re Amish… and even that’s up for debate. The point is people ask you how you’re doing and you say, “I’m busy!” Well, no shock, Sherlock, that’s a fact of life!

“Busy” is tiring

Busyness isn’t a novelty, nor is it a badge of honor. I came across these words from Anese Cavanaugh, founder and CEO of Dare to Engage, earlier this week,

“Being busy does not make you more important, it does not make you more productive, it does not make you more valuable. It just makes you tired.”

You may be busy, very, very busy… but are you productive? A hamster on a wheel is busy. I’ve worked with a variety of people and clients who are “busy” according to their schedule, even from their appearance, but they’re not productive.

Busyness is effort exuded while productivity is effort directed. (Click to tweet this!)

Being busy is an excuse

The truth is we’re not really as busy as we think we are. If the right opportunity with the right people came across your schedule today, we’d clear everything and follow that opportunity. We need to take that mindset and transfer it to the myriad of excuses we use in the spirit of busyness,

  • “Sorry, I’ve just been swamped.”
  • “I’m really busy and haven’t gotten to it yet.”
  • “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
  • “I’ve been go-go-go all week and just haven’t had the time.”

Do whatever’s necessary to turn your busyness into productivity. You can actually be more productive in less time if you’re focused in your attention, disciplined in your efforts, and doing one task at a time. Track your to-do list and time management to see how your productivity increases with those three tips. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Getting rid of “busy”

For now though, let’s work to eliminate “busy” for our conversations. It doesn’t add value, only serves as an obvious statement for a vast majority of the population. Treat it like the four-letter word it’s become.

Saying you’re busy is a tired response, but being productive is inspiring. We get to inspire the people around us today. I’d rather share the exciting things that I get to be a part of instead of just reporting on the pace of everyday life.

How does being busy affect your everyday conversations? What are some ways we can replace “busy” with a better response?

Killing your darlings

“In writing, you must kill your darlings.” – William Faulkner

William Faulkner was a genius writer, a Nobel Prize-winning scribbler of works that shaped much of the roaring 20’s and Great Depression years. Faulkner’s quote refers specifically to elements of your writing style: characters, dialogue, theme, or whatever you think is essential to your writing success.

Killing your darlings - writetojoncook

Sometimes you have to sacrifice your “favorite” character because they’re not as essential as you wished they were. It can feel like killing off your best friend. It’s brutal to experience as a writer. Who would do that?!

I believe Faulkner’s quote has a bigger context than just the art of writing.

Pursuing your dreams means sacrificing ideas, opinions, or traditions. At some point in pursuit of your dreams you will line up all of these and vote the weakest one off your survivor list. It happens. It’s necessary.

Sometimes you need to take a favorite idea of yours and give it a proper burial. Sometimes you have to let go of the way things used to be to make way for something newer and better. Sometimes you need to choose not to have an opinion because it’s a learning opportunity.

Your opinion is important. Your ideas are yours, buried treasures just waiting to be shared with the world. You like the way you’ve done things in the past; the warm blanket of tradition can be pretty soothing in the midst of ongoing changes in life.

All of these are your darlings, precious to you because you’ve carried them with you for so long. One of the few guarantees in life is change. Nobody really loves change. I hate change for the sake of change because that’s pointless, but change is still inevitable.

It’s in the motion of constant change though that we’re forced to a crossroads with many of our mental darlings, our ideas, opinions, and traditions: stay the same and be left behind, or kill your darlings.

That sounds harsh. It is. It hurts to change our opinions. It hurts to leave tradition. It crushes us to think the ideas we’ve held onto may not be as good as we thought. And so, we do the unthinkable and change our minds, killing our darlings in the process.

Some of the most meaningful lessons I’ve learned is when I’ve had to kill an idea, opinion, or tradition of mine, especially as an entrepreneur. Do I miss some of those darlings? Some times, but it’s amazing how infrequently they cross my mind as new darlings have entered my thinking.

Pursuing your dreams means how you think about what you think about will change. New ideas, new traditions, and new opinions can’t form until the old ones are removed. God will call you to change your perspective as you pursue the dreams He’s called you to follow. That’s part of the dream-chasing process.

Have the courage today to know when to say goodbye to your darlings. You have the chance to change. Don’t let your dreams escape you because you’re too busy holding on to a dying idea, opinion, or tradition.

What are the darlings, your ideas, opinions, or traditions, that you need to kill today?

Lions, monkeys, and ignoring your critics

“If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle.” – Rickson Gracie, Brazilian 8th degree Jiu-Jitsu black belt

Have you ever seen a lion run away from a monkey? Not gonna happen. Even if it’s a gorilla, the lion know they have the upper hand. 600 lb. of elephant-hunting attitude with teeth and claws are reason enough to crown the lion king of the jungle.

Lions, monkeys, and ignoring your critics - writetojoncook

What’s the size of the dream in your heart? How convinced are you of what you were created and called to do? If God is for you, who can be against you? Nobody! For you to pursue the dream God’s laid out for you, you need to act like a lion. It’s the natural instinct of the lion to behave like they’re on a mission because of how they were created.

Pursuing big, scary, God-fashioned dreams takes guts. It also attracts critics: shrieking, cowardly monkeys who only get close enough to distract and annoy lions from the path you’re following. Monkeys throw poop at others and make a lot of noise when they feel threatened. If that reminds you of anyone in your life, congrats, you just found a monkey in your life.

I’ve listened to my fair share of monkeys in my life. In fact, I’ve had to push past more critics in the past two years than probably my entire life combined. I’ve wasted time caring about the opinions of people who have no real interest in enhancing my future, only criticizing my present. One of the healthiest decisions I’ve ever made is muting the monkeys in my life.

Your dreams are yours to follow, nobody else’s. They may not always make sense to others, even to you, but they’re still your dreams to pursue. Maybe it’s starting your own business as an entrepreneur. Maybe it’s changing careers. Maybe it’s going into ministry or starting a nonprofit where there are plenty of monkeys, even other staff. Whatever your dreams may be, they’ll draw out the monkeys in your life.

The people closest to you, other lions in your life, should be your spouse or significant other, best friend, mentor, other friends who will support your journey. They will walk with you as you pursue your dreams.

Other lions may challenge you along the way, but they do it in a way that’s face-to-face like a lion, not from the safe distance of the trees, like a monkey. If they think you’re headed in the wrong direction and truly care for you, they’ll risk the comfort and safety of future friendship to call you out in person. Only monkeys stay at a safe distance.

Don’t listen to the monkeys in your life. Critics are loud, obnoxious, and unwilling to take their own risks. Unless they’re willing to get out of the trees and onto the path you’re following, treat them like a distraction. They’ll tweet at you, post negative comments on social media, even send long, passive-aggressive emails stuffed with negative criticism but no offer to dialogue or wisdom ’cause that’s what monkeys do. Ignore. Delete. Block. Repeat. Works like a charm.

Keep walking the path God’s called you to follow. Your dreams demand a lion’s heart of courage. Don’t be distracted by your critics. Pay attention to those you know, like, and trust in your life to give you wisdom for the journey.

And know why you’re following the path ahead.

4 Catalysts to your Potential

You were created for significance. You were made with far more potential for greatness than you even realize.

No matter who you are, your potential, or even how much natural ability you may have, there are four catalysts that directly affect your God-given potential: Character, Relationships, Abilities, and Industry Credibility. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, cubicle-dweller, C-Suite executive, blue collar, white collar, rich, poor, man, woman, old, or young, these four catalysts are essential to your future success.

4 Catalysts to your potential - writetojoncook

I’ve tried to do plenty of things on my own. Pride has been a struggle of mine for my entire life. I’ve also tried to be a “lone wolf” and do things on my own without anyone’s help. In both ways I’ve failed miserably.

On the other hand, when I’ve embraced these four catalysts in my life is when my potential has been the most realized. You will only be successful to the extent you embrace these four catalysts for the benefit of others.

Character

Your reputation is what people think of you, but your Character is who you truly are when no one is around. Your Character is what will be remembered long after you’re gone. If your Character is suspect, your potential will always be in danger of imploding.

Your Character includes your work ethic, your trustworthiness, your loyalty, and your commitment to doing the right thing, no matter the cost.

Relationships

Too many of us have the mindset, “What’s in it for me?” In reality, the Relationships we hope to enhance for the greatest potential can never be approached with such a toxic attitude. “What’s in it for us?” is a much healthier mentality to have and it adds value to what we can accomplish together.

Your Relationships are more than just who you know; they’re about how you interact with and optimize the Relationships in your life to benefit everyone, not just yourself.

Abilities

It’s one thing to be naturally good at something; it’s another thing to leverage your Abilities in the right direction with the right people for the right reason. A hamster on a wheel works incredibly hard, but a woodpecker is focused, driven, and relentlessly committed to its end goal.

Be a woodpecker in how your focus your Abilities for long-term success. Let older, wiser people speak their perspective into your Abilities and how they think your Abilities might be best directed.

Industry Credibility

Where Character has to do with your personal reputation and integrity, your Industry Credibility has to do with industry reputation: how the arena where you operate views your level of expertise. Rick Warren once said that much of his message and approach to ministry hasn’t changed in 35 years of being a pastor, but it was only after Saddleback became a massive church that people began to listen.

Building Industry Credibility takes a lot of work and at least some time. Read, study, ask questions, and gain trust in your industry, all with humility and a teachable spirit. Your Industry Credibility will come if you faithfully learn your role and contribution to your industry.

Character, Relationships, Abilities, and Industry Credibility – all of these are catalytic to your greatest future success. Lose them and your potential will collapse. Embrace them and your potential will soar beyond your wildest dreams.

How have you seen your own potential enhanced or hindered by these four catalysts? What are some other catalysts that can affect your potential?

Think twice before getting your college degree

College isn’t for everyone. In fact, some people shouldn’t go to college at all.

I’ve worked with middle school and high school students for over ten years now. Ten years ago I would have recommended graduating seniors go on to college, get their Bachelor’s degree, and find a great internship to kickstart their career. College isn’t for everyone though, which is why trade school, apprenticeships, and my personal favorite, entrepreneurship are all great routes for high school upperclassmen to consider.

Think twice before getting your college degree - writetojoncookSince the economy downturn hit in 2008, it’s changed the way businesses are viewing candidates. It’s no longer the same subgroup of applicants pigeon-holed into consideration for a particular opening. More and more businesses encountered over-qualified candidates applying for under-paying, lower-level jobs because they weren’t finding other openings more suited for their experience, education, and salary expectations.

Five years ago I began my Master’s degree at the very bottom of the economic fallout. I withdrew after one year for a variety of reasons, haven’t returned or regretted leaving, and may never finish my Master’s. With what I get to do now as an entrepreneur, I don’t need a Master’s – what am I going to do, give myself a raise?

Think twice before going to college

Getting a college degree, whether it’s an undergrad, graduate, or even your doctorate, isn’t the guaranteed pedigree it used to be. There are several factors to consider before getting your college degree…

  • Student loans – I highly recommend cash-flowing your education, if at all possible. The average tuition cost for a two-year MBA degree in the U.S. is around $80,000. (Investopedia) Before you consider jumping into your Master’s degree, think about the financial obligation.
  • Income loss during education commitment – The average U.S. income in 2013 was $44,888.16. (SSA) If you go part-time at work to pursue your education, you compound the financial commitment in reduction of wages to offset your educational responsibilities. Of course, this isn’t a new concept, but the
  • No guarantee of increased income – Multiple college graduates over the past five years have told me how hard it is to find a job in their field. These aren’t the C-average students; these are straight-A, highly recommended students with glowing recommendations from department heads coming off excellent internships.
  • Bloated tuition costs for traditional universities and colleges – The average tuition increase for college education in the U.S. is projected to rise at a rate of 5% for the next ten years. A four-year degree for an in-state resident in the year 2033 is projected to cost almost $95,000 in tuition alone! (Savingforcollege.com) Factor in that the average college student changes their major three times during their college career and it even further extends tuition costs.

Are college degrees good? Absolutely. At the same time, there are cheaper, highly effective ways to get a proper secondary education without breaking the bank or your income stream. You don’t have to go all four years to a $35,000/year state school when you can get a great Associate’s degree at your local community college and transfer to the school of your choice after your second year.

College is a fantastic experience. I enjoyed my college experience and still encourage high school grads to consider college as their first option. What’s changed is that I ask if they’ve considered other options besides college, just in case it may not be the best option available for them.

Launch Plan - CoverIf you haven’t considered the entrepreneurship route, I’d be more than happy to give you a free copy of my new book Launch Plan: Your Path to becoming a Successful Entrepreneur. This will give you all the insight you need to jumpstart your future as an entrepreneur, whether that includes a college education or not.

We all need as much wisdom as we can get, which is why I do what I do: helping people launch significant dreams to enhance the world around us. College may be a great starting point, but think twice before assuming it’s the best route for you.

Getting rid of energy vampires

Your three most valuable assets each day are time, attention, and energy.

  • Popularity can’t buy you more time than the same 24 hours we all receive each day.
  • Saying someone is a priority doesn’t guarantee they have your attention.
  • Money can’t buy you more energy, only enough espresso and caffeine to trick your body into compliance.

Research shows that over 134 countries have laws restricting the maximum length of a work week, but the U.S. is not one of them. (U.K. HRM) Factor in that over 85% of U.S. men and over 66% of U.S. women also work more than 40 hours/week and it’s no wonder so many people complain about not having enough time, attention, and energy.

The biggest threat to your energy level

Getting rid of energy vampires - writetojoncookWe have schedules to block out time for what’s important to us. People have screen restrictions, phone baskets by the dinner table, and distraction-free writing to keep our attention intact. But what steps do we take to protect our energy?

Energy is more than just how much sleep you get each night. Isn’t it frustratingly profound how drained you can feel after eight hours of sleep? It’s not your mattress’ fault, or your spouse’s, dog’s, cat’s, kids’, or even your diet’s fault. At least, not all the time.

There’s a good chance your energy loss has to do with the people you allow to influence your life both professionally and personally. My faith is very important to me and I see specific places in life where my faith is stronger when I’m around people who encourage my faith. My heart is fuller, deeper, and richer because of time spent with people who remind me of grace and second chances and a call to follow Jesus closer.

The converse is true that I feel spiritually drained when I spend time around people who gossip, are legalistic, abuse grace, even criticize me for not meeting their religious paradigm in crystal-clear comparison. They’re energy vampires, sucking the very lifeblood out of everyday life.

The subtlety of energy vampires

Just to make sure you don’t think I’m simply picking on religious people, let me clearly say that energy vampires can be anywhere. Jon Gordon has a fantastic blog post that warns about energy vampires. It be much easier if they had fangs we could see and fight off, but their work is far more subtle: negative comments, objecting to your dreams, destructive mindsets, manipulation, gossip, and judgmental criticism.

Before you know it, they’ve walked on to their next victim and you’re left wondering, “Why do I feel completely deflated?” It’s because an energy vampire has perforated your lifeblood. I’ve worked with several energy vampires before, people who leech onto your personality and suck all the joy out of life through hyper-criticism or negativity. Then, they leave you gasping for optimism and a sense of mental balance as they seek out their next victim.

How to protect your energy from energy vampires

You are not living at your fullest potential if you are still allowing energy vampires to influence you. There are key steps to protecting your energy from energy vampires…

  • The Energy Bus Jon Gordon -writetojoncookGrab a copy of Jon Gordon’s book The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive EnergyAs with all books, including the Bible, just because I recommend reading it doesn’t mean I officially endorse everything in it. Eat the meat, spit out the bones.
  • Identify energy vampires in your life. I can guarantee you have at least one of them. Whether you choose to confront them one-on-one about their effect is up to you, but I’d only recommend doing that on a case-by-case basis. Think about it. Pray about it. Ask wise people you know, like, and trust to help you discreetly and respectfully identify energy vampires in your life.
  • Kick out those energy vampires, just like letting the wrong people off the elevator of your life. Make room for the right people. The wrong people in your life are just taking up room.
  • Put up healthy emotional, mental, spiritual, and maybe even physical boundaries to protect yourself from energy vampires. If it’s someone prone to gossiping, call it out as soon as you hear it and change the subject. If it’s someone who constantly criticizes your work in a negative way, don’t give them permission to speak into your work; find someone else who can give you honest, constructive criticism. Read Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend’s book Boundaries if you need good language for communicating boundaries. (Read my review of Boundaries here.)
  • Exchange energy vampires with energy givers. This aren’t the “sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns” crowd of eternal optimism; these are people who have a positive, but grounded view of life who have enough life experience to clearly define current realities while hoping for better futures.

Your life will be a more meaningful experience when you remove energy vampires, distance yourself from negative influences, and use all of your God-given energy for whatever He’s called you to do.

Book Review – Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Simon Sinek)

I first came across Simon Sinek’s work via his TED Talk Start with Why. This led me to recently read his book that serves as the backbone for this TED Talk, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

Why do you do what you do?

Start with Why Simon Sinek - writetojoncookThat’s the question posed by Sinek and championed by some of the most inspirational and successful leaders and businesses in history.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t plan on having hundreds of thousands join him on the Lincoln Memorial steps; he simply had a dream.
  • The Wright Brothers didn’t have the best resources or really hardly any money at all, but that had passion to achieve the gift of flight.
  • Steve Jobs didn’t personally create the MacBook, the iPod, or the iPhone, but it was his inspiration and status quo-defying approach that pushed Apple to truly think differently.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it,” writes Sinek. This is the ground-swell many leaders are missing when it comes to the vision and direction of their business. Many of us know what to do, but we don’t know the driving purpose behind our work.

This book isn’t for someone looking for the “how-to” or “what” to do with their business. I think some readers might even mistakenly read this and think it’s the magic formula for profitability.

The intended audience of this book is the collective group of leaders who already know what they do. They already even know how to do it, but they’re looking for the deepest cause behind why they do what they do. And it’s in this search for reason that Sinek gives a fantastic forum for exploring your why. It’s because of my reading of this work that I’ve made adjustments to some of my own business direction.

One of the very few objections I might have with this work, if any at all, is that some of the concepts became redundant towards the end. This may not be a bad thing as many readers need multiple exposures to the same concepts before meaning can take root.

I found Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action to be one of the most thought-provoking and paradigm-shifting works I’ve ever read. If you’re an entrepreneur, CEO, or leader searching for the why behind what you do, you would be well served reading Sinek’s work.

  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action may be found at Amazon.comBarnes & Noble, and other popular retail sites.
  • Follow more of Simon Sinek’s writings at Startwithwhy.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How to find a mentor

Everyone needs a mentor in their life.

I’ve been blessed to have multiple mentors guiding my entire life, both personally and professionally. From as early as I can remember, I’ve had mentors of some sort speaking wisdom and truth into my life. I’ve never regretted asking a mentor for advice. A significant part of who I am is because of the mentors God has placed in my life.

John Keating Dead Poets SocietyThe concept of having a mentor isn’t a new idea. We see the call to discipleship all throughout the Bible. The term “mentor” actually comes from Homer’s classic work The Odyssey where Odysseus asks his friend Mentor to look after his son Telemachus while Odysseus is away fighting in the Trojan War. We see mentor-types all over culture: Yoda, Don Alejandro, Mr. Miyagi, Uncle Ben Parker, Gandalf, and one of my favorites, Robin Williams’ character Professor Keating from Dead Poets’ Society.

Mentors can bring valuable wisdom, intentional questions, and third-party perspective that we can’t find in our own efforts. Steven Spielberg once said, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”

Without the presence of an older, wiser mentor in your life, you can miss out on valuable insight and growth for a more meaningful future.

Why do you want a mentor?

You need to know why you personally need a mentor. A mentor can’t fix character; they can only point out character strengths and flaws. A mentor can’t make you successful; they can only give you wisdom that you have to implement for yourself.

The first step is finding a mentor is knowing the purpose behind having a mentor in your life. That may mean identifying areas of growth that need nurturing. It may mean getting direction and help articulating hopes and dreams that you feel called to pursue. What it ultimately means is submitting your life perspective under the influence of someone you trust will enrich your future.

How to find a mentor - writetojoncook

How to find a mentor

When it comes to finding a mentor, there are several important questions to consider in your search…

  • Who do you know, like, and trust whose life you respect?
  • What does their reputation, personal, and professional life attract you to their influence?
  • How well do you know them? And, how well do they know you?
  • Are they approachable with good questions?
  • Do they have the heart of a teacher?

There may be other questions and concerns to think through along the way. Whatever process you follow, know that your life will be richer and deeper because you choose to learn from someone further down the road of life than you.

Don’t kiss your brain goodbye

We live in a world confused about intelligence. A PhD candidate is lauded for their industry break-through on neural pathway mapping while the same student is then encouraged to just go get hammered this weekend because research demands have been a beast to endure.

Why would someone so undeniably intelligent make such a brain-evicting decision? Because as much as our world values knowledge and intelligence, it undervalues wisdom, specifically the wisdom of God.

Don't kiss your brain goodbye - writetojoncook

Other faiths and beliefs champion the idea of “emptying your mind” and just going with whatever happens. “Free your mind” is the mantra many pursue. Eastern mysticism even encourages a meditative descent to Alpha level where you mentally detach your brain to the point of immobility. Being mentally incapacitated is seen as a positive, even revered.

Having faith is not a contrast to intelligent living; in fact, a life of faith is stronger because of the demands of faith. C.S. Lewis wrote these words in his work Mere Christianity,

“Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself.”

At no point does God ever call us to kiss our brains goodbye. The six inches between our ears is one of God’s greatest gifts. To not use our brains to their fullest potential is one of the worst misappropriations.

There’s a huge difference between stepping out in faith, well aware of the potential risks, and just making dumb decisions. This is why the Apostle Paul encouraged the Roman believers to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Rom. 12.2) and later he also reminded Timothy that God gave us the gift of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1.7).

Part of following Jesus means we actively engage our minds in crucial areas of our lives:

  • Reading good books that stretch both our faith and our brains.
  • Having conversations with people who think very differently than we think.
  • Challenging the status quo of our beliefs and theology, especially if we’ve blindly accepted whatever someone has told us about faith, God, the Bible, and life in years past.
  • Asking tough questions of our community and ourselves.
  • Searching for our greatest purpose in life with faith to know God’s ways may not make sense to us, but we can still use our brains to consider what He’s called us to do and to be.

May you use your mind today to actively engage the world around you. May your thoughts align with the thoughts of our Creator. And may you think about the difference your mind can make in the lives of others today.

The five biggest fears challenging your potential

God made you for a reason. It’s absolutely bonkers how much He’s gifted you with the chance to live here and now with the talent you have. He’s made you to do something significant, maybe even world-changing, but if you’re not careful, there are five big fears threatening your potential.

Fear of failure

Let’s start with the obvious one: the fear of failure. No normal person craves failure. Being a success is innate in all of us. Here’s the greatest truth to facing the fear of failure: if God’s called you to do it, it won’t fail. If the worst thing that could happen is failure, so what? What would happen if you fail? Now, build an action plan to do your part in following the opportunity God’s called you to pursue.

Fear of being unpopular

Following God’s plan for your life isn’t always popular. People have done “bizarre” things when stepping into their God-given potential. It’s not always understood. It’s not always liked, even hated out of jealousy or pride. Some times it means you need to break away from bad relationships, poor careers, even losing “friends” in pursuit of your fullest potential.

Your future success needs to be built on relationships with people who are worth having in your life. The people of your past aren’t in your present for a reason. Think about that.

The five biggest fears challenging your potential - writetojoncook

Fear of inability

I think we all struggle with the feeling of inadequacy at some point in our lives. Do I have what it takes? Am I good enough? I’m not that talented, am I? It tools faith to remember that a good and loving Heavenly Father gives His kids good and beautiful gifts to make good and beautiful things. If God’s called you to do something, He will make sure you have all the talents and resources you need to succeed.

Fear of the unknown

Why do we people fear the dark? Because we fear what we don’t know. All throughout history God has called people to do extraordinary things when facing the unknown. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t know how many people would show up on the Lincoln Memorial steps. Abram had never even seen the Promised Land. Mother Theresa didn’t know the lives she would change when she followed God’s call to serve in the slums of India.

Never let the fear of the unknown hold you back from following the God that you do know.

Fear of success

The final fear is a subtle surprise: the fear of success. It’s easy to fear failure because each of us has experienced failure at some point in our lifetime. What’s not as easy is realizing that the fear of success can be just as petrifying. We fear success by failing to admit we might be destined for greatness. This gives us pause, makes us second-guess ourselves, and whispers in our ear, “Who do you think you are?”

God didn’t create us to live mediocre, vanilla lives. He called us to do great and magnificent things for His glory that we cannot even fathom.

This is why fear needs a knockout punch.

This is why fear needs eviction.

This is why our hearts are neither breeding ground nor haven of safety for the lies of Satan and the self-doubts we harbor within.

Release your fears today. Let God give you the courage to embrace the potential He’s given to you. May your greatest days ahead be set free from any fears holding your place today. Be free from fear.

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