Why did the chicken cross the road?

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Q-Why did the chicken cross the road?
A-To get to the other side.

Have you ever wondered the point of this inane, little joke?

As far as I’m concerned, here it is…

The chicken crossed the road. The chicken didn’t stay where he was wondering what the best option was. He didn’t stay put because he was worried about not making it across. With all the possibilities of failure and even danger he still managed to get himself to the other side.

How many times in your business or in life for that matter have you stayed right where you are because you were chicken? I know I sure have. I can actually think of something I didn’t do just recently that I wanted to do, that I really should have done, but I didn’t because I got scared, scared about what someone else would think if I acted a certain way or said a certain thing. So I stayed put.

It’s a shame I let my fear stop me, because it may have cost me a great opportunity. Has that ever happened to you? I’m guessing yes. It’s quite human to be afraid, but when we let fear run our lives, we don’t get what we want.

The way I’ve noticed this showing up for a lot of  people lately is in the same way it did for me. They are not speaking their truth. I know it’s kind of a new-agey way of putting it, but that’s the best way to describe it. Not speaking your truth shows up in lots of ways. It happens when we deny our value. It happens when we deny our desires. And it happens when we subdue our dreams.

Let me give you an example. I had a singer friend over for dinner when we were both younger and we started talking about our futures. I asked her what she wanted for her career. Her response was something like “I think I’d be happy if I could just get paid to sing here and there and have some really great students.” Sounds like a pretty nice life, yes?

The problem was that was total B.S. My friend, like I, had spent thousands and thousands of dollars on voice lessons, acting lessons, auditions, scores, language course, etc. She had trained with some of the best teachers in the country. She had traveled far and wide to audition for different opera companies. There was no way her dream was to “just get paid to sing and have a few great students.” So why did she say that?

It’s the same reason we all say things like that. She didn’t want to be disappointed. She didn’t want to have to admit she wanted something more, something perhaps she might never get. My dear friend, by the way, went on to sing in a hit Broadway show.

When we let fear get in the way of our taking action towards our goals, what we are really doing is trying to inoculate ourselves from disappointment. What if we try and we fail? What if a potential client rejects us? What if we find out we don’t have what it takes? What then?

In order to be truly successful you must be willing to assume a certain amount of risk. You must be able to tolerate failure. There is no bridge to success that allows us to hop over risk. It is something we must embrace and be willing to endure the consequences. Let’s face it, Mr. Chicken could have been squished by a car, but if he hadn’t tried, he’d still be standing there.

No on gets off scot-free. Everyone earns their battle wounds in business. But if you come by them honestly, from speaking your truth and valiantly moving forward, instead of seeing them as ugly scars, they become our badges of honor and our right to success.

I love to hear your voice!

Where do hold yourself back? What do you do to stay true to yourself?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

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Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.