WHY CAN’T WE PULL THE TRIGGER? JUST DO IT!
Learn how to manage your fear.
By Harland Merriam
(repeated on demand)
Ten years from now you will be glad you made the decision and took action on it. But, something still keeps you from pulling the trigger. This has happened to me several times in my life.
For example, when I was in high school, I remember wanting to go out with this girl. I would pick up the phone and dial her number, all that is, except the last number. And then hang up. The result, another Friday night without a date, a missed opportunity to get to know her better and have fun together.
Ever happen to you, this failure to pull the trigger?
How about with your investments? I’ve talked with so many people who are afraid they will make the wrong decision, get burned, and lose money.
Avoiding loss is a great motivator, isn’t it? Or is it a great limiter?
There are risks with every investment.
The stock we buy today may get caught up in a big market correction and lose a lot of value overnight. The property we purchase may have hidden problems, which might put a big squeeze on our expected gain.
My partners and I have to deal with our fears or concerns every time we put a property under contract. To be honest, we wonder if we have analyzed the market correctly, have accurate information on the income and expenses reported by the owner, have figured out our repair estimates accurately, and more.
We are very careful to work our due diligence deeply and completely. But, even that doesn’t eliminate this concern about pulling the trigger.
Fear is a real thing in our life. We would imagine it is in your life as well.
Fear is a powerful emotion. Sometimes it seems to control us.
We can give it this control, or we can learn to manage our fear and keep taking appropriate action.
You have probably heard the phrase “freeze, flee, or fight”. Fear directs us to take action, to protect ourselves. Right now! That is fear’s purpose, to get our attention when we sense danger.
But fear takes over.
I know several real estate investors who have not ever actually bought a property. Some call it “analysis paralysis.” This is the “freeze” reaction caused by fear. They freeze because they are afraid of making a mistake, experiencing a loss. So, they don’t ever pull the trigger.
Let’s explore three things we can do to manage fear better and regain the ability to take action when appropriate.
First is to simply recognize the fear.
In his book, The Meaning of Life, Victor Frankl reminds us there is a small gap between an event and our response to it. If we don’t take advantage of this gap, fear retains control. And when fear retains control we react to the event rather than make a purposeful response to it.
Therefore, the first step in managing fear is to simply recognize that I am afraid. I stop and get in touch with the emotion. There it is. This simple step of taking a breath and noticing the fear creates the gap. Then I can use the gap to begin to manage the fear rather than allow it to control me. And so can you.
The second step is to accept the fear. We don’t have to like it, but we can admit or accept that it is there.
This means also accepting responsibility for the fear and for your response to it. You are back in control.
The fear is real. It is there. Admit it. Accept it. Even appreciate it.
Fighting the fear doesn’t really work. Ignoring the fear doesn’t work either. Step into the fear. Real courage is not the absence of fear. Rather it is the choice to act even though we have some fear.
The third step takes us to both rationally thinking about it and taking action in light of it.
INVESTIGATE AND INTERVENE WITH IT
Step into it and begin to investigate not only the fear but your motivation or your goal with whatever you are doing.
Back when I was a teenager, I was afraid the girl I wanted to ask out would say “No!”. As I began to investigate this fear in light of my goal of going out on a Friday night and having fun, I realized if she said “No” nothing really had changed. I could call someone else or wait for a time she would be able and willing to go out with me.
So, I intervened with my fear and went ahead and dialed that last number and asked her out.
And she said “Yes”.
What do you want to accomplish with your investments? Perhaps you want them to grow in value, produce passive income, give you some tax benefits, or something else.
Investigate the investment in light of these goals. This will lead to the final step in managing your emotions.
Decide what you will do and do it. As a good friend of mine says, “Take effective action.”
Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”
My partner has this quote hanging in his office:
What step might you take to get you closer to your goals for your life? It may be a small step. It may be getting to know the folks who are presenting the investment opportunity to you. It may be checking on references.
But, more often than not, ten years from now you will be glad you made the decision and took action, won’t you?
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Harland leads our Investor Relations. He is a “repurposed” Pastor and Army Chaplain. He is an author, speaker, mastermind facilitator, and coach. Harland lives with his wife, Barbara, in DeLand, Florida.