Here there be dragons…

Successful entrepreneurs don't let obstacles scare them into NOT taking action.Centuries ago, when map-makers reached the end of the world as they knew it, they would label the yet-to-be-explored areas with an ominous phrase: Here there be dragons.

The word seems to be code for many seemingly negative things: danger, risk, the unknown, something fearful.

As entrepreneurs, you have your own dragons to face. These may come in the form of overly demanding clients, public speaking, asking for the sale, or anything else that feels big and scary.

But “dragon” can also conjure some very positive images: power, strength, beauty (even if it’s scary).

Maybe it’s time to make friends with your dragons.

Here are some steps you can take to become more adept at dragon-wrangling:

The two are not necessarily synonymous. An unexpected encounter with a king cobra on your first trip to Southeast Asia? Definitely unfamiliar and scary. Delivering a brand-new workshop you’ve just added to your repertoire? Not so much scary as unfamiliar.

When you can re-label an activity as “not yet familiar” instead of “frightening”, you’ll rob it of its power to stop you in your tracks. After all, everything is unfamiliar—until it’s not.

If you find yourself intimidated by an upcoming task, determine what’s freaking you out and take steps to pre-empt those potential obstacles. If you can anticipate challenges and your response to them, they become much less intimidating.

There will inevitably be circumstances in which you definitely want to keep your distance from certain people or activities. There’s a difference between chickening out of something you know is beneficial, and choosing not to engage in activities or interactions that are ultimately not in your best interests.

Let’s face it: You deserve to say “no” in certain circumstances. Family members who don’t respect your work hours simply because you office at home; clients who’ll take a mile if you offer them even one inch; friends who constantly take advantage of your good nature: These are all energy-sucking dragons that don’t get to hang out in your world.

(By the way, if you struggle to set boundaries with clients and respect them, check out the dead-on-target strategies offered by my friend and MasterMind buddy Pat Schuler, creator of Kick Butt Sales Training.)

Facing fear builds strength and courage.So…What’s your experience with dragons? Are they typically fearful, dangerous beasts? Or are you able to view your dragons as symbols of power and personal growth? How do you make friends with your dragons?

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