What scares you? (Here’s what scared me…)

What scares you? (Here’s what scared me…)

A lot of times, we need motivation to act. I mentioned in a previous post that we all need a “reason why” that motivated us. That can be something positive that we want to move towards or it can be something negative we want to move away from.

Today, I wanted to share with you what scared me into taking action. 

Let’s flash back to the early 2000s, when I was a travelling representative for a large software company.

I worked long hours, travelled six days a week, and on my one day off I slept almost all day. The thought of being stuck in this career traveling all the time, living in hotel rooms on hotel food, meeting with customers who didn’t treat you well, and working with colleagues I had nothing in common with freaked me out.  I so badly wanted to get away from that environment that I did whatever it took to accomplish it. That became my mantra and then my wife Michelle’s and my combined mantra. The mantra was “whatever it takes,” “whatever it takes,” “whatever it takes.”

So ask yourself: what will your mantra be? In other words…


You need a mantra to keep you motivated during the good times and the bad times. When you earn that first seed money, you need something to help you to fight the temptation to just go out and spend it. It needs to be something strong, something that matters in a guttural level, something that stops you in your tracks every time you want to go astray. Saying “I would like to retire sooner” will not be strong enough to keep you in line. It’s not specific (“sooner” doesn’t mean anything; it could be a day or a year or ten years), and it is not specific in quality (what does “retire” really mean? Retire with 100 percent of your current income? 200 percent? Or just 70 percent?) Be specific in your goal.

Create a reason why you just have to reach that goal. Be creative; paint a picture of you in your mind of being old and frail and not having enough money to eat. If you are security driven, that might do it. Fear is a powerful driver for short- and mid-term action. For me, it was the fear of being away from my family that did it.

That’s what scared me and started me on this path. And it kept me focused.

Find something that can do the same for you.

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