Not lazy, but afraid

How to keep moving even when we’re worried

Why do we put off marketing work we know we should be doing?

In Tali Sharot’s The Influential Mind, she speaks of the “Go, No Go Response.”

“When we are faced with the possibility of acquiring something good, our brains trigger a chain of biological events that makes us more likely to act fast. This is known as the brain’s ‘Go’ response.

In contrast, when we are anticipating something bad, our instinct is to withdraw. The brain triggers a ‘No Go’ reaction.

As a result, we are more likely to execute an action when we are anticipating something good than when we are anticipating something bad.”

The fact is, if we aren’t confident an action is going to create positive results, we won’t do it.

We’ll procrastinate. We’ll avoid it. We’ll make excuses.

It’s not because we’re lazy, it’s because we’re scared.

So the question becomes not, “How do I force myself to do this?” but instead, “How can I have more confidence that this will work?”

If there are marketing tasks you’ve been putting off, all the while chastising yourself for not acting, I have some tips to help you start moving forward.

1) Set it up so that even if you fail, you win. Meaning, have measurements in place so that you learn something valuable, something you can do differently, if this particular tactic doesn’t work out as you hope. Nothing’s a waste if you learn something, and confidence in that positive result will motivate you.

2) Let your negative mind wander, just do it with some structure. Pull out your index cards and write down what you’re really worried about when it comes to this particular task. What’s, seriously, the absolute worst thing that could happen? And what’s the most likely worst thing that could happen? Make a plan for what you’ll do in those cases.

3) Create a positive vision of the future. Write down the absolute best thing that could happen as a result of your action, and then the most likely positive results (there’ll be a large gap between those two states). And then make a plan for how you can maximize those positive impacts through additional effort, resources, or teamwork.

4) Finally, focus on your market position. Really, really make sure that what you’re planning will positively reinforce your market position. That way, even if it isn’t a spectacular success, it’s at least a deposit in the right bank account, and it’s worth doing no matter what happens.

Remember, as Seneca said, it’s easy to be ‘mortal in our fears, but immortal in our desires.’ Meaning, we can let our fears dictate our present actions more than our hopes or dreams. We can feel like we’re running out of time to do what needs to be done to avoid failure, but that we have all the time in the world to create success.

But time moves on whether we’re happy or sad, successful or struggling.

So if you’re looking to make progress today, focus on the positives and the rewards you’ll get as a result of your actions.

There’s no such thing as laziness, there’s only fear we apply a cruder label to.

Remove the fear, and watch yourself grow.


Further Reading:
The purpose of marketing.
Get where you’re gonna get.

If fear is keeping you from making better marketing decisions, I’d love to chat it out: joelkelly@hey.com


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