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What will you choose for 2019?


Someone told me long ago –
there’s a calm before the storm.

I know.
It’s been coming for some time.

Now that’s a warm and fuzzy way to start a post at this joyous time of year, isn’t it?

These words are the opening to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hit, Have You Ever Seen the Rain?  It was 1970, times were ugly in America, and many heard CCR’s latest track as an ominous doom-and-gloom song.  They thought it was about the unpopular war in Vietnam, or nuclear apocalypse, or rebellion in the streets of many U.S. cities at the time.

It could have been any of this that CCR founder John Fogerty was writing about.

Turns out, it was none of those things.

Oh, there was doom and gloom alright – but a lot closer to home.  In the years following, Fogerty often talked on stage, during performances, about what Have You Ever Seen the Rain? was really about:  the rising tensions within CCR at the time, and the imminent departure of his brother and co-founder, Tom, from the band.

Remember:  at the time of The Beatles, Stones, Kinks and The Who, CCR was the closest thing to an iconic American rock band in 1970.  Their music was gold.  The band members were rich and famous.  They had it all going their way.

So why, at the peak of their success, was CCR so uptight, so unhappy?

That’s what Fogerty was writing about.

I want to know:
Have you ever seen the rain
Coming down on a sunny day?

Strange, but I can relate to a bit of this.

And there’s even a point to this story – especially as we wind down 2018 and look ahead to another year.

Have you heard of entrepreneurial paranoia?

The holidays once brought a feeling of dread for me.

I spent the first 15 years of my career working for a big company with the security of a regular pay stream.  While nothing was ever guaranteed, the predictable income flow was comfortable.

Then, 20 years ago, I left comfort behind and started my own business.  It bought me freedom.   But, in those early years, Christmas also brought some jitters.  No matter how successful the year had been, I knew I’d have to start at zero again in just a few days.  This feeling isn’t new to anyone in sales – or any entrepreneur– but it was new to me.

I didn’t like it.

But then, with maybe three years under my belt, I noticed my fears during the holidays disappeared.  The dread was gone.  Today, the gurus would say that my FEAR was rooted in False Evidence Appearing Real.  I told myself it was impossible to repeat my success from the previous year, even though the results said otherwise.  Over time, though, I saw that my worries didn’t line up with the evidence.  I began to believe in myself, because my results proved it.

Business owners call this lack of belief entrepreneurial paranoia– the fear that good times can’t last… or that bad times will be never-ending.   Even if the evidence refutes it.

It’s illogical.  But the feeling is real.

Hockey players going through slumps fear they’ll never score again, even when the stats (evidence of past performance) say it’s not true.  Coaches in the NFL say the sting of losing lasts longer than the sweet taste of victory, so they live in a perpetual state of paranoia.  They sleep at the stadium three nights a week. Just because they won today doesn’t mean they’ll win next Sunday.


It’s the proverbial question: is your glass half-empty – or half-full?

So, at the end of another year, here’s what I think I’ve learned.

I accomplished much of what I set out to in 2018.  I’m grateful.

But my year wasn’t perfect.  I missed on some things, slipped up on others, disappointed myself in a few ways.  And I also learned a lot.

I’m guessing you’re probably the same.

It’s normal.

The temptation, though, is to succumb to False Evidence Appearing Real, and to dwell on our misses.  To ruminate.  Rain coming down on a sunny day.   

The good news?  There’s an alternative, if we’re open to it.

We can celebrate, not ruminate.

  • We can recognize and appreciate even the smallest of our victories.  They’re evidence of success.
  • We can identify the patterns of how and where good stuff happens in our lives and build on them.  We can replicate and systematize them.
  • We can even look for the lessons learned from our slip-ups.

And then we can move on… full of possibility, not fear.

It’s not easy.

It’s a mind shift to intentionally move away from FEAR and entrepreneurial paranoia… and toward celebration.

But it’s worth it.

So, as you head into 2019, ask yourself:

  1. What do your patterns of success tell you?
  2. What are you learning from your misses?
  3. Are you choosing to celebrate?

P.S. Thanks for reading this year– and for joining in the conversation.  My very best to you and your families for a safe and happy Christmas.  I hope you celebrate.

~ Craig