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Making the most of 2 billion heartbeats

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Lauretta Hannon dithered around in safe jobs for nearly 20 years before taking the plunge in the career she really wanted, as a writer.

Hanging onto the security of a steady paycheck is a fear that’s hard to overcome, she rationalized. A sampling of Hannon’s excuses: 

  1. I’ll fail.
  2. I’ll fail spectacularly.
  3. Eventually, I’ll become a bag lady and go insane.
  4. I already have a good day job.
  5. I would need a [fill in the blank] to do this and I can’t swing it.
  6. I have no leadership skills.
  7. Why even try? Look at all the heroes and bright lights in this field.
  8. Everybody wants to do this. What makes me think I could?
  9. I shouldn’t waste my time on something that will never happen.
  10. This will have to remain a hobby because I need my secure and prestigious day job.

Hannon acknowledges now that fear had her in its clutches. The reptilian part of her brain—the part that triggers a fight-or-flight impulse—had her constantly on the run.

But Hannon keeps three quotations handy.

One is from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Do it, Hannon says, and the cumulative effects are courage and momentum.

Another is from Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

A third comes from an obituary about daredevil Evel Knievel: “It seemed he could not think of things big enough to jump over.”

Hannon is an optimist, she says, although not the annoying kind. She knows that life is full of losses, but she also knows that every living creature gets about 2 billion heartbeats, so we need to make the most of them.

You guessed it. Hannon went after her dream and has become a best-selling author in the South. (See www.thecrackerqueen.com.)

— Adapted from The Cracker Queen, Lauretta Hannon, Gotham Books.

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