Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo,

Love kicks fear’s ass. Connect to it and you’ll be unstoppable!

Here’s a story of how a minor surgery marked a major inflection point in my business. My experience helped me turn fear to love, and to use that to energetically move my business in a new direction. Hope it brings you some insight – without surgery!

I had foot and ankle surgery that required me to avoid weight bearing for two months. Post-op, I opened myself to being cared for. That prompted a post about Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability called “Man Up and Give In”. Acute recovery was a snap. I’m pretty good on crutches, and could have easily jumped back into networking, speaking, and coaching. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, I settled into what looked like a slump.

Muscle atrophy, when you lose use of a limb, is amazingly swift. I’m still working hard to regain what I lost. While I was dealing with the reality that I had no calf muscle, I was also doing some deep work exploring who I am, where I’m strong, and how I want to make a difference. I focused on physical therapy and on heavier things. I read voraciously and noticed where I was letting myself be pulled.

Synchronicities became common. I met people with whom I felt closely aligned and discovered ideas and authors and communities that energized me. Most importantly, I became willing to be real with myself. Once there, I committed, effortlessly, to changing how I wanted to approach my work as a coach. How’d I do it? Read more…

Choose the story you want to believe…

I recognized two dissonant stories I’ve been telling myself.

  • Story 1: I recognize the absolute core of who I am (who we all are…) and am learning how to leverage that to create miracles. This stuff is powerful and I want to share it with the world!
  • Story 2: This is wacky, deep sh*t that no one is comfortable hearing about, especially the executive, sales, and marketing types who I’ve targeted for my coaching practice. Say “spiritual” once and people will run!

Perhaps you’ll recognize that the first story comes from a place of love. The second story comes from a place of fear.

Fear may help us produce short-term results, but it’s unsustainable. Fear eats us from the inside out. It provides useful, somewhat negative energy, sure, for the immediate task. But over the long-term, fear will either result in atrophy because we’re hiding and not using our talent, or we’ll cramp up and collapse because we’re asking more of ourselves than we have to give.

In whatever we’re doing, if the energy driving it is love, it’ll be surprising (at first) how effortless and successful we can be. Love connects us to the unlimited energy all around us. At first, we’ll recognize how to use that to help ourselves and others. A deeper connection with that looks, first, like self-motivation, which then turns into inspiration, leadership, and eventually, the ability to create whatever we wish.

Trust your intuition…

So I’ve let “Story 2” go. I just know it’s the right thing to do. Moving forward, I’m going to be more authentic than some will be ready for. I’ll lose a few in my tribe, which will be great for everyone. Those folks are at a different place in their self-development, and hanging with me isn’t going to be what they need.

Those who are curious and ready for deeper spiritual inquiry will find they’re walking with a more authentic, highly energized traveling companion. I promise deeper relationships, more profound learning, and that moving from good to great will be fueled by joy – not effort — if you’re ready to connect with the Pete of “Story 1”.

Some people have come to think of me as a “happiness coach.” I’m cool with that. I’ve differentiated my practice around the idea that happiness is the ultimate measure of success. The people I serve will continue to be sales drivers – sales reps, marketing professionals, executives, and business owners – who are carrying around way too much stress and angst to truly enjoy their lives.

I’m also expanding my service offering to include millennials who are struggling with the first-world problems of having too many opportunities, not feeling enough passion or connection, and find themselves unfulfilled but uncertain where to turn. I didn’t decide to work with millennials because of in-depth, deep market research. It didn’t happen because I’m an expert relating to young folks (although I’ve sired a couple!). Nope. It just came from an intuitive knowing that this is right for me and the world. When connected to love, your intuition is strong, and so is your willingness to trust it.

Let fear go and love the results…

So what’s in this for you, dear reader, who’s hung on for this long? It’s this: try on the idea that there are only two emotions… fear and love. Take something you’re experiencing — frustration, joy, jealousy, commitment, persecution, loyalty, etc. – and see if you can boil it down to its source.

Am I frustrated because I fear failure? Why am I joyful? Because I love feeling connected? Am I feeling jealous because I fear I’ll be left with not enough?

Then ask how those feelings influence what you’re doing. If what you’re doing is driven by fear, how long can you keep that up?

Ask yourself…
How is continuing to act this way going to carry me to my big-picture goals? What would I be doing if I were truly driven by love? How could I shift how I’m thinking to align with a higher purpose or a deeper recognition of whatever it is that ties us all together? What would that look like? Where could that take me?

I’ll wrap up this high-minded stuff with a low-brow expression: “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with sh*t”. Fear-infested fecal matter can be a powerful motivator. But if you’re creating because you taste the sweet, inspirational honey of an idea fueled by love, nothing will get in your way!

Pete Colgan is a happiness expert who helps sales and marketing professionals who want to feel fulfilled so they can manage stress, build thriving businesses and create successful, happy lives. Building on a successful 30-year medical device marketing and sales career, he helps his clients develop strategies to manage the stresses that come with their profession so they can create successful, happy lives. He earned an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

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