In personal development circles it’s not uncommon to hear
the phrase “Everything you want is BEHIND your worst fears”…
We’re supposed to FACE AND EMBRACE these fears. For example
if you’re frightened of a relationship but desperately want
one, you can analyze things all you want but at some point
you’re going to have to take the leap…and it IS going to
Let’s stay with this analogy because it’s going to be
important for understanding how to move forward and
profit in your business.
If you were cheated on, for example, it’s likely your
worst fear for a new relationship is that it will happen
Perhaps you were totally blindsided and devastated
when you found out…
You had NO idea what was happening so you went into
shock and your world turned upside down.
Now here’s the thing…
What tends to happen in these situations is the
brain latches on to the catastrophe and STARTS
FORECASTING CATASTROPHE FROM ALL CORNERS. In other
words, because you didn’t see the trauma coming,
it’s like your mind says “disaster can come from
anywhere so watch out!”…
And you develop a “discrimination neurosis”… the
inability to discriminate positive, neutral, and
dangerous stimuli in your environment…
In layman’s terms you start to FREAK OUT about everything.
And instead of going back and isolating the VERY SPECIFIC
signs and cues you missed in your last relationship which
could have predicted (and even prevented) the problem if you
were alert to them, the brain latches on to PRESENT DAY
PROBLEMS AND PREDICTS DISASTER at every turn…
But really, in the words of my favorite child psychologist (ever)
“The Nightmare we fear most is the one we’ve already been through”
– D.W. Winnicott
What you’re actually doing in this situation is reliving
the trauma, over and over with NEW events in your present…
when the solution requires facing what happened in the past
The mind gravitates towards avoidance though, because facing
the past is painful.
But the best way to protect yourself from reliving the nightmare
you’ve already been through is NOT to avoid all new relationships
while you blindly prognosticate disaster, but to review the signs
you missed (there are always signs), articulate the REASONS YOU WANTED
TO MISS THESE SIGNS, and summarize what you would do if and when
you saw them again.
For example, maybe it was as simple as you being too busy to
ask what was wrong. Not prioritizing direct conflict resolution…
Or maybe fixing what was wrong would have required you to
change in a way you didn’t want to…
Or perhaps you were wedded to a fantasy of what the perfect
relationship was, and you didn’t want the facts to disturb
the fantasy you were enjoying…
It’s ALWAYS something…
And you can ALWAYS find the facts in hindsight.
Now, what does this have to do with business and profits?
Well, I’ve NEVER met an entrepreneur who hasn’t been traumatized
at least once by a business nightmare. Near bankruptcies. Law
suits. Tax problems. Partners gone bad. Products you invested
everything in which failed to sell. Employees gone rogue. Regulatory
But the most successful entrepreneurs don’t just blindly charge
forward after these events…to calm their business anxiety they
do a postmortem to determine exactly what they missed… otherwise
their worst fears will paralyze them…
And they would keep reliving the nightmare they’d already been through.
For example, when we lost $2,000,000 by investing in a focus group
facility just before 9/11 just outside of NYC and wound up $700,000
in debt, what gave me sanity was two retrospective insights..
1) We’d abandoned our core competencies. Up until that point we sold
intellectual capital, advising large companies on their advertising
based upon research skills we’d both trained for almost a decade to
learn. My undergraduate psychology degree was very research intensive,
and my doctoral degree came from a scientist-practitioner program, also
extremely heavy on empirical research. In short, I had NINE formal
years of schooling in how to do this before impulsively deciding I
wasn’t going to run large research projects and give people advice
based upon them anymore… I was going to build the largest and most
advanced focus group facility and rent it out. (Smack self in head
with spatula here)
2) We failed to apply our core competencies to the riskiest business project
in which we had engaged. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, but
we didn’t do any research before investing. We just got involved with our
own grandiosity and took the plunge since we’d never really failed before
in ANY business endeavor.
So the nightmare I experienced was caused by two very specific mistakes,
abandoning my core competency AND failing to apply that competency to the
most important business decision I’d made…
And with that insight, I was no longer terrified of every business
step. My ability to take risks going forward was restored because I
could always ask myself (1) is this project within my core competency and;
(2) Have I applied my core competencies to the project itself.
I’ll give you another example.
My friend David SUDDENLY found himself doing several hundred
thousand dollars a month in his information marketing business
(which was in a weird niche that had NOTHING to do with teaching
others to make money by the way!)…
But after just a few months he got a call from his merchant
account provider telling him that they were shutting off his ability
to process the payments…
And that he was being blacklisted so he’d have trouble finding ANYONE
else to process for him.
And just like that, all the work he’d done for years to break through
the sales barrier and get oil gushing out the end of his pipeline was
A few months in the sun and then it was famine time again.
Of course, David went into terror mode for about six months. But as
he emerged he interviewed a LOT of other people who’d gone through this
situation and figured out his mistakes…and a LOT MORE merchant account
It turns out he just wasn’t considering ALL the players involved in his
business… he was taking his merchant account providers for granted.
And by cultivating relationships with several providers and learning to
understand and respect THEIR needs in the business transaction, he WAS
indeed able to restore his processing ability.
See, most business owners take their merchant account for granted…
Both in terms of the rate they pay (virtually everyone we’ve done
a free rate analysis for has found they’re overpaying by 10 to 20%,
which can REALLY add up over the years to money stupidly given to
bankers instead of accumulating in YOUR business) … but more importantly
in terms of their willingness to process payments for you in the first place.
See, the bulk of merchant underwriter’s business isn’t done on the
guy who does $300,000/mo in an info marketing business. It’s done
on tens of thousands of $5,000/mo to $30,000/mo guys. They like to
SPREAD OUT THE RISK with chargeback and fraud percentages they
can statistically predict based on these large volumes of very similar
So once you break out of the $30,000 range (really past $40,000)…
You become a VERY RISKY ANIMAL.
EVERY business which breaks through this range becomes such
an animal to them…
And we ALL are working towards such a break, which in marketing
can happen very, VERY fast when you plug the last leak in your
sales funnel and/or when you find the right back end product…
So in theory we should ALL be protecting ourselves for this NOW
so we don’t have to live through David’s nightmare. So we can
develop a relationship with a few merchant account providers and
be SURE we’ve got the ability to ACTUALLY COLLECT the money
we’ve been working for so many years to earn!
But because 98% of businesses aren’t past the “typical merchant
animal” range yet, most business owners have the perception
that there’s no reason to bother…
Which is very, very sad…
Especially since the five year value of saving even 15% on your
merchant processing fees even at just $5,000/mo. of processing
volume is in the thousands of dollars in YOUR pocket vs. some
fat cat banker… and there’s NO cost to get a free comparative
rate analysis now.