The terror barrier is something I learned from a mentor of mine, David Neagle, who also had a phenomenal impact over the last few years on changing the way I think about things. 

The barrier occurs when we strive to reach a goal, either personally or professionally. So often, on the journey toward this goal, we are held back by that little annoying person in our head telling us things like: 

  • Nobody wants to return calls any more.
  • I am bothering people.
  • Nobody gets it.
  • Nobody wants to work that hard.
  • If I hire somebody, I will have to take myself off my desk.

None of that has to be true. I am not saying it’s easy; I’m not saying you can decide to hire somebody, and it’s going to be Mr. or Miss A player. But, no, there are systems for hiring and developing talent. What we need to focus on is what mentally happens when you decide to do something. 

The keyword here is decide. Because whether you move toward or away from a goal is a decision. You are either going to decide through making changes or not changing a thing, and even the absence of a decision is a decision to stay where you are.

Now, let’s assume a gap between where you are today and where you would like to be. Grab a pen and paper and draw a line to the left. Indicate your current starting point. What is your monthly run rate or annual revenue? Now draw a line on the right to indicate your new goal. Perhaps, you want a million-dollar office or would like to bill $500K as a solo operator. It’s a level that you most likely have never experienced before. So, this is your new number.  

Somewhere in between exists the Terror Barrier.

So, you begin moving forward, and you start taking action. At first, you are excited to learn the process. Then, you start facing resistance, and in that resistance, you become uncomfortable. But let’s say you continue, and you break through that first level of discomfort. Then, instantaneously, you get to another level, and you become increasingly more uncomfortable. 

The closer you get to your new goal, the farther you travel from your comfort zone. You can feel the fear in your body. 

Your thoughts are riddled with doubt and worry. You may begin to second guess the process with beliefs like, “This isn’t working out. I hired someone, and they haven’t made a placement yet. I just spent $3000, and I’m about to spend another $3000 over the next month. Hiring is getting expensive.” 

You get more and more uncomfortable until you hit this point of maximum fear. This is the terror barrier. We have all experienced it. You continue to push yourself out there; you’re out there farther and farther on a limb at a level of maximum discomfort.  

Your subconscious, which is a vicious creature, has two goals. One for you to procreate to expand the species, and the other, to keep you safe and alive. So, whatever you’re doing now at your current level of dissatisfaction, did not kill you last night. Your brain recognizes that pattern, whatever procrastination, whatever dysfunction, did not kill you.

When people hit the terror barrier, when things are not working out, they revert all the way to where it was comfortable. Typically, right before they’re about to get their real breakthrough and get what they want!

The greatest challenge with reverting to your starting point is that it becomes increasingly difficult to make that forward progress should you try again. The subconscious mind recognizes the effort, pain, and discomfort at an earlier stage. You may think to yourself, “Here we go again; this isn’t going to work out.” As a result, you heed the warning signs, begin to backpedal and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

Now, look at what you wrote down as the ideal.  Did you write that because it felt good, or is that what you really want?

When you start this journey, you’re in choice. You can choose to break through and ultimately get to the next level. And, the next time, you are going to go through this process quicker. You are going to recognize the levels of fear and discomfort. That means you must be close! Fear and the increasing discomfort mean you’re closer to your goal than you used to be. 

Ask yourself… 

What would be true if everything worked out fantastically?  

What do I need to do to make sure that happens?

How would this change my life?

Let me promise you; this opportunity exists in front of you right now. First, determine what it is you are resisting. Whatever you are resisting is the potential for your breakthrough. 

What are you resisting?

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your recruitment business:

1. Grab a free copy of my Retainer Blueprint

It’s the exact, step-by-step process of getting clients to give you money upfront.​

2. Join the Recruiter Think Tank and connect with firm owners who are scaling too It’s our Facebook community where smart recruiters learn to make more money and get more freedom.​​…

3. Join me at our next event

3x a year, I run a 3-day virtual intensive, sharing the 9 key areas that drive a 7-figure search firm. Click here to check out the dates of our upcoming event:​

4. Work with me and my team privately

And if you ever want to get some 1:1 help, we can jump on the phone for a quick call, and brainstorm how to get you more leads, more placements, and more time.​

Photo by Matthew Garoffolo on Unsplash