What Are Your Afraid Of?

Jim Hinshaw
Contributing Writer
Improvement Professional, President & Sales

Let’s just start with a question: What are you afraid of today?

A decade or more ago, Sigourney Weaver was in a movie called Aliens. She is on a ship with a bunch of Marines headed to a planet that had some “aliens” on it. They were sort of joking about what sort of battle may be facing them, her advice was: Be afraid, be very afraid!

What are you afraid of today?

Snakes? I saw a photo of a 20’ Anaconda, it weighed over 1000 lb, that would freighten me!

I just moved back to Arizona, we see bark scorpions all the time, they are the really small ones. They are also the really deadly ones, in fact they can stop you from breathing. So that is one thing to be afraid of.

I understand a grizzly bear can be up to 1500 lbs (Google it!), and large males at that weight can be almost 10 feet tall on their hind legs. 5 feet at the shoulder. And they can run 35 miles per hour. Can you run 35 MPH? So that is something to be afraid of.

On a trip to Hawaii years ago, May and I went swimming at Ke’e Beach. That would be where Bethany Hamilton got her arm bit off by a shark in 2003. But the beach has a beautiful 4-foot-high natural reef protecting it, and it is only about 5 feet deep. So really safe. We were there with our good friends, Andy and Karen Friend, who live on the island. Karen asked me if I wanted to go swim with the green sea turtles. You betcha, I replied. So, we have to go over the reef into the 20-foot-deep water where the sea turtles swim. Also, I recall, where the sharks swim. She told me I would be stupid to come to Hawaii and not swim with the turtles, and shark season was past. Like they have a calendar, and move to California beaches this time of year! Got into the deep water, swam around in my snorkeling gear, turned around and almost ran into a 20-foot green sea turtle. So here is how you measure sea turtles, take the circumference of the shell, multiply by the number of legs. OK, so it was just a regular size turtle, but looked huge up close. I backed up onto the coral reef, which sliced open my legs and arms. Now I am bleeding in the shark water, I am chum!

That was what I was afraid of!

Turns out I can walk across the reef really fast when motivated.

How about another sea creature, jellyfish? The world’s largest is called the Lion’s mane Jellyfish, tentacles can be 120 feet long! I would be afraid.

An IRS Audit? I had receipts, but still…I am afraid.

What are we really afraid of? Change! We don’t know what the future holds, and we are not sure how it will affect our business, but we are fairly confident that our businesses will be adversely affected by: weather, economy, politics, available manpower, the internet, big box stores, Amazon Services, list is extensive. Turns out what we see depends mostly on what we are looking for. If we think the sky is falling, better head inside. On the other hand, this week talked to 2 contractors who grew their business over 20% last year. In an area where there “are no people available to do the work”, or so I am told. Maybe these companies just had their teams do more, did not hire any additional service techs or installers. Nope, they hired new team members, some from out of state, at least one from a country on the other side of the world. Many of these new team members came from outside our industry, but had good people skills, and liked themselves. I can teach technical skills, but if a person is not happy with himself, and has a bad attitude, that will spill over fast to the customers. So hire for attitude, train for skill.

Can I summarize: we are afraid that when we meet change, will we fail? Will Smith says failure is a necessary part of life, failure is where the lessons are. He uses the illustration of the gym, working out. We lift weights till our muscles hit: failure. Then those muscles grow, we get stronger. So he says failure is a good thing, gotta seek it. Successful people fail a lot, but they use those lessons to improve their lives. That is why we practice, he says practice is controlled failure, a great concept. Will ends up his motivational message (that Alexia gave me this morning) with: Fail early, Fail often, Fail forward.

So this year, while it is still early, do something different with your business. Hire someone outside our industry, but with good people skills and a positive attitude. Try a new market or try a new marketing concept, see what works. Plan on what you will do, and when things don’t go as planned (example of failure), learn the lesson that you paid for and try another idea, another path. In life, we either win or learn. So learn something new this year.

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