I’m writing this essay early today.
It’s 5:28 AM as I start, and I’ve been up long enough to have already knocked out an email for a client that needed to be done to go out tomorrow.
This isn’t especially early for me. I’m regularly up before 5:00 — but it’s often quieter, more introspective time.
However today is a bit of a somber day. And a day where I need to get work out of the way to be able to focus on family.
We had a death in the family, and today is the funeral. The guy was a character. A doctor with a zest for life, who was always getting into something.
We did a rosary service for him last night, and the stories that followed had the whole chapel full of friends and family laughing — just the way he would have liked it. The guy from the funeral home said it’s the first time he’s ever been in on a service for someone where there was a story about the son-in-law getting a FULL physical before marrying into the family.
I didn’t grow up with him — I married into the family about a dozen years ago. So I don’t have as many stories — and I didn’t get into nearly as much trouble. But I’ll share this.
A few years back, we had a reunion on a cruise ship. One night, as I was doing laundry for my family, I decided to explore the ship a bit. I wandered into the ship’s dance club. I ran into my brother-in-law and this uncle, sitting at the bar, talking. I got looped in. This uncle was buying rounds of Blue Hurricanes — who-knows-what, and a whole bunch of blue sugar.
We were out until at least 3 AM that night. I still remember him pulling me aside and saying, “Roy, I think you have something. If you’re ever building a business and need an investor, let me know. I’d love to invest in you.”
I didn’t have an idea. Wasn’t pitching him. Wasn’t trying to get money out of him. I didn’t even know he wanted to invest. He just believed in me, and thought I’d make a great investment. So he offered, without reservation.
And this wasn’t just about making money or being shrewd with his investments. It was just one way he could show love and appreciation for the talents he saw in me.
I think he mentioned it once or twice seeing him in passing at family events in the last few years.
Then, two weeks ago, I saw him — for what I didn’t realize at the time would be the last time.
Again, with the same enthusiasm, he asked me, “Roy, what do you know about tele-medicine?”
As a retired physician, he was collecting all the info he could on this growing field. He was looking at opportunities to practice tele-medicine — and there are many for talented doctors like him. He figured it was a unique way to practice a few hours per week, keep some income coming in for his hobbies, and just stay active.
But he was also thinking business. He explained to me that there’s a big trend towards tele-health, and said he wanted to start a company in the field. It was clear he was tossing me a slow-pitch softball, if I wanted to be a part of it.
At the very least, he said, he wanted me to let him know if I learned or heard anything about it that would be useful.
As I write this, I don’t capture the joy or excitement in his eyes and spirit, in these conversations. There’s too much business in here, that doesn’t reflect how much fun he was having all the freaking time.
He was serious about making money, yes. But it was also all play to him. He was having fun.
He just kept moving forward through life with an infectious gusto. He was a light and a joy that filled any room he was in.
If you told him “you can’t, because…” he ignored you. Last night we were expressing surprise that with all the ruckus he got into (always in fun), it was a hidden health condition that took him too early.
He was always looking forward, with joy, on what was next.
So many people had so many amazing stories to share, just because of the way he lived his life.
He will be missed.
Today’s lesson wasn’t meant to come from his story, but it works.
Too many people hold themselves back for all the wrong reasons…
I’ve had this sitting in my ideas file for a while. Was looking for the right time to write about it. And decided to make it today’s essay before writing the above. But it fits. It fits so dang well that I could almost leave it at that.
But let me hit some important points.
Last week when I was talking to my coach, Joseph, he talked about a concept he’d picked up from Bob Proctor.
The “Terror Barrier.”
It’s that line we have inside us. We know it’s there. We know exactly where it is. It represents where “doing something new” turns into “doing something terrifying.” And most of us find it almost impossible to cross.
Many of my biggest breakthroughs in my career have come as a result of forcing myself to take action that moved me past my Terror Barrier.
Looping my wife’s uncle back in for a moment, I think he didn’t have much of a Terror Barrier. My story doesn’t illustrate it, but so many of the stories about him do — even from an early childhood. And even if he did, he didn’t believe it was a real barrier — just a line he crossed that felt uncomfortable. But a line that he knew he could cross to go on a new adventure.
Many people think their environment or capabilities hold them back — most likely, it an unwillingness to face the negative…
We do have real limits.
Draw a big circle on a piece of paper. Now, inside that, use a dashed line to draw another smaller circle.
The big circle is your real limits. Maybe they’re physical. Maybe they’re mental. Maybe they exist outside of you. There are limits.
But the smaller circle represents what you think your limits are. It’s a dashed line because you can move past it. But still, in everyday life, you probably let these false and imagined limits hold you back.
The dashed line is also your Terror Barrier. It represents stepping outside your carefully-constructed “self” into something bigger. That’s uncomfortable. But it’s also how you grow. It’s how you live a bigger life. It’s how you impact more lives. It makes for some great stories.
You won’t live a great life unless you’re willing to challenge your limits…
You can live a good life, a comfortable life, while staying within the bounds of your smaller self. If all you want to do is enjoy the ordinary, that’s how you do it.
But if you want to be extraordinary, you have to consistently push past those imagined limits, and face whatever happens when you do.
There will be issues. There will be challenges. There will be roadblocks to bust down.
There will be negatives. You will feel fear. You may step on a few toes. You will create discomfort in yourself and others.
Then, you’ll figure it out. It will become your new normal. It will become accepted reality. It will become a part of a bigger self-image.
Then, you do it again, and again, and again. Eventually, you will hit up the occasional real limit. It’s good to know when you’ve found those — you don’t want to butt your head against them too many times, as that will just give you a headache.
But mostly what you’ll find is that it was just fear — not real limits — holding you back from getting everything you ever wanted, and living the best life possible.
And since fear literally exists in your imagination, you don’t have to let that put any real or permanent constraints on the life you live.
Get help if you need it…
This is the biggest value of a good coach, mentor, or someone else in your corner.
When I started with Joseph, I was charging $10k per project as a copywriter. I mentioned wanting to charge $20k.
He told me to do it. This would mean crossing my terror barrier.
“What’s the worst that can happen?” he asked.
Long story short, I tried it. And now I’m booked through the end of 2017 at $20k per project, with a client I really enjoy working with (and that represents huge opportunity).
Moving past your terror barrier and doing what you know you want to or need to do can be very fruitful.
Plus, it lets you do more interesting things, and live a more interesting life.
So, what’s standing in the way of your vision?
What are the details of that challenge?
What of that is a real limit, and what’s fear and represents a Terror Barrier you just need to figure out how to cross?
What would need to be true to overcome ALL your limits?
Answer those questions, then feel the fear, and do it anyway.
And say “I love you” to someone you love. You never know when you won’t be able to say it again.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,