Challenge #2 Facing your fears and why it matters in business

One of the first challenges that jumped off the page at me was “to face a fear.” Why? I don’t know maybe because I do like a good challenge or, much like Marty McFly, I hate being told I can’t do something. Even if it’s me doing the internal talking, once its a public challenge…it’s on.

So where did I go with this challenge? Sure, I could have climbed a ladder and attached a gutter 30 feet off of the ground at my house (like the Mrs. would have preferred,) but I am not sure how that helps me in day-to-day business. So I dug a little deeper. What I decided to do was take a drive on a Saturday and confront a personal fear which has haunted me for the better part of 3 years. This personal fear has professional implications. It prevents me from reaching back to previous resources and experts who could help me with my business. Unfortunately for the readers of this post, its a bit too personal and I am not going to disclose the contents of the conversation, the other person involved or even the city where it took place. What I will disclose is that it’s something that I would think about nearly every day and at some level affected productivity. Some days more than others. I was afraid of the confrontation but overcame it and have a story to tell.

Here is why it matters and the lessons I learned:

1. As a business owner, letting go of the past is crucial. Personal or Professional. The sick thing about most Entrepreneurs is that we can’t separate the two anyway. While we are personally experiencing life, it is through the dangerous lens of entrepreneurial-ship. Staying static in business will get you killed, because being irrelevant or out of business is death to the entrepreneurial spirit.

2. Fear is often disguised as procrastination. When you are putting things off, do some self-exploration and make sure it isn’t your fear of failure or the task itself.

3. Succumbing to fear is missing an opportunity. I can’t believe all of the opportunity we let sail by in our river. One constant, in my experience as a youngish business owner, is that accomplishment generally comes in a form other than your original plan. It’s a modified version, almost always.

How did I attack it?
1. The same way I attack any problem. I went to the whiteboard. Sick, I know, mind mapping a scenario of a conversation. It really was about digesting the worst case scenario.

2. Also, I turned on some music, loud and freeing. In other words, I went to the vault to get inspired.

3. I Burned the boat. Did you know that when the Greeks landed on a beach where they battled, THEY BURNED THEIR BOATS? No one was going home until the job was finished or they were dead. So, I burned my boat.

A moral? Not 100% sure, but as business owners, I think we are so hard on ourselves. We convince ourselves it is much worse than it really is. Perhaps it is the balance of the “Id” necessary to take rejection, humiliation, and failure.

This post is part of Derek’s 30-in-30 Project. Click here to learn more about it from the initial introduction