2022 is turning out to be the year of the perfect storm. In meteorological terms, a perfect storm is an intense and powerful storm arising from the convergence of an unusual set of weather patterns. In socio-economic terms, a perfect storm is a detrimental situation arising from a unique set of simultaneous calamitous circumstances.
Fact is far stranger than fiction. You can’t make up the crucible of factors that are causing the current perfect storm: Covid continues to run rampant – according to the world health organization, in just the last week 19 million new cases and 68 000 deaths were reported internationally. Depression rates tripled to almost 1 out of 3 adults in the US and 1 out of 4 in Canada. Inflation hit 40-year highs at over 7.5% in the US and 5% in Canada. Interest rates are primed to rise rapidly. A record number of hurricanes, wildfires and floods caused unprecedented damage. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is roiling global markets. In one week, Facebook recorded the largest one-day fall in stock market history while Amazon recorded the largest one-day gain. Social protests are disrupting already fragile supply chains. Anger, alienation and polarization seem to be the order of the day.
In my role as coach and confidante to leaders and entrepreneurs everywhere, I’m seeing macro-pressures translate into personal angst. The swirl is so strong, it can sweep them away. The noise is so loud, it can deafen them. The volatility is so violent, it can wreak havoc with their wellbeing. Like Winter Olympic athletes, the next wipeout always feels just moments away. As John Branch wrote in the New York Times on February 6, “The athletes who perform these daring feats are not crazy. They are not reckless. But they do have one thing in common that might surprise those of us who watch. They are scared. Every one of them.”
You cannot escape fear in this cataclysmic environment. It’s a constant presence wherever you go. It’s a voice in your head warning you about threats, real or imagined. It’s a feeling in your gut that expands or contracts according to your situation. It calls you into action or freezes you to the spot depending on your mood or state of mind. There is not a single person with whom I’m working that isn’t wrestling with their inner demons of self-doubt. So if you’re playing scared, know that it’s part of being human. It cannot be excised or avoided. It can only be confronted and controlled. If you lean into your fear, you can turn it into fuel. There is no safe way to be great or great way to be safe.
Here are Lipkin’s five ways to turn your fear into fuel:
- Find a reason to believe. You didn’t come this far just to come this far. You’ve overcome the odds over and over again. You’ve grown in direct proportion to the crises you’ve endured. What lies before you is nothing compared to what lies inside you. Remind yourself who you’ve been so you can become who you need to be.
- Know what you really want more than what you don’t. Problems are immediate. Failure is visible. Pain is definable. If you don’t know your dream, the difficulties will drag you down. Look back from December 31, 2022, what do you want to achieve so much that it’s worth any price you have to pay? In my case, it’s selling 100 000 copies of my new book, The Potentiator, so I can create breakthroughs with others by helping them play at their best.
- Sharpen your saw. Do the work. You’re great at what you do otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Now it’s time to become GOAT. What would that take? What do you need to study? Who do you need to talk to? How can you make the trends your friends? What do you need to create? I’m producing this video. I’ve written this book. I will be conducting outstanding conversations with every person every day. I’m getting better at getting better.
- Partner with champions. You’re only as good as the company you keep. Become valuable to the people who are valuable to you. Become their Potentiator by enabling them to play at their best. Communicate your contributions so more champions want to team up with you. Take care of others and they will take care of you. I’m grateful in advance for the reciprocation I’m generating with this message.
- Stay in the game. Longevity is the secret sauce of success. Many no’s lead to yes. Time is your greatest ally if you use it right. Mastery is a consequence of trial and error. Everything worthwhile has a prolonged gestation period. In the end, it’s not about who is right. It’s about who is left. Celebrate the struggle – it’s a privilege denied to many.
This is Mike Lipkin and it’s been a privilege potentiating you today. Until the next time, remember: Excitement is just fear that you’ve learned to enjoy. Do more of it.