9 – January 9
“One day John and George showed up…and told me we had a gig. I said, ‘No. I’ve got a steady job here.…I can’t expect more.’ And I was quite serious….But then I thought, ‘Sod it.’ I bunked over the wall and was never seen again by Massey and Coggins. Pretty shrewd move really, as things turned out.’”—Sir Paul McCartney
The successful corporate executive had just been fired after twenty years. He told me he had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but had been afraid to “fly without a net.” I have seen many people like him give up their dreams for the illusion of security, trading their hopes and aspirations for what they think is a safety net. The tragedy is: There is no net. There never was—and never will be. We are all, always, flying without a net. There is no job from which you can’t be fired, no house that can’t be destroyed, no life that can’t be lost, no gold that can’t be stolen, no stock that can’t lose its value, no security that can’t disappear.
So you might as well do what you want!
When I decided to sell my business management company and teach the Financial Stress Reductionâ Workshop full-time, it was really scary. I didn’t know if I would be able to sell enough workshops, on an on-going basis, to make a living. With the bookkeeping service, my clients paid me a fee every month. This created a regular income stream. With the workshop business, however, a customer paid once for the workshop and then was gone. I had to generate new customers every eight weeks. I didn’t know if I could do that. I was terrified.
But I loved teaching this workshop. All of my performing skills and financial skills were married in this creative outlet. My students were giving me great reviews and producing extraordinary results in their income. I had to go for it. I talked to people endlessly about the class and one by one, people enrolled. I would relax a bit at the beginning of each new course—I was safe for another eight weeks! But then, I’d look at the next course—no one was enrolled in it yet—and fear would strike again.
It took about three years before I started to trust that, if I followed my own program assiduously, there would always be people in the workshop. As long as I take action—think positive, send out ships and count my money—I make a wonderful income from work I love. And as long as I stay centered—swim with dolphins, survive the storms, and seek balance and enlightenment—I am happier than I have ever been in my life.
Make no decisions based on security. There is none. The safety net is an illusion. The only net you will ever have is the internal one you make for yourself. It is woven of goals, grit, determination, will, planning, resilience, creativity, and optimism. And the belief that if you fall, you have what it takes to get back up.
“I soar to tremendous heights of success!”
So here it is, twenty-plus years after I went full-time with the workshop business, still loving it, still swimming with dolphins, still enrolling people, still making money. Yes!! It works.
Oh, I can also still look ahead to the workshop after this one and cry, “Oh, no, there’s nobody in my next workshop! What if I’ve already gotten everyone who’s gettable? What if The Competition gets them before I do? What if…”
You can play the “what if” game too, can’t you? But it won’t do you or anyone else any good. I saw this quoted by one of my Facebook friends: “I do not fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.”—Louise L. Hay
A photographer client of mine once made me absolutely crazy with his “what ifs”. It was like he was determined to be anxious. As we worked together in class, he had clients and photography assignments lined up 4 months in advance, and then 6 months, and then 9 months! But it didn’t matter how far ahead he was guaranteed work – he could always see ahead to that blank space in the future where the unknown lurked. And what would he do then?
How much of a guarantee would make him feel safe? One year? Five years? That’s a zero sum game. Look, you can’t even know that you’ll be alive 9 months from now. Or even tomorrow. So give up the worries and spend all your creative energy on figuring out how to make money serving others and doing what you want. That’s how you’ll enrich the world as well as yourself.
The only reasonable “what if” is this one:
What if Paul McCartney had continued to work at Massey and Coggins?