In cartoons, it’s always the Road Runner who wins, because he moves never looking back – or down – for that matter. Yet, when it comes to people, we can always find reasons not to take risks when we use the logic of consequence. We back off from things we eagerly want, just because of our exaggerated fear of failure or incapability. We seem to miss a subtle point that unless we lean out and introduce ourselves to opportunities, they will remain out of sight.
Surely it feels scary to face uncertainties as your journey unfolds. Yet, whether you fail or succeed in the project you undertake, the regrets of inexperience and doubt will echo more strongly than the discomfort of failure that will fade with time. Time will also show you that failure taught you much more than any success ever could.
The trick is to make fear your friend. Fooling yourself that it’s not an anxiety but an excitement (positive emotion) what you feel, moments before you do a public speaking. Throwing the hat against that wall and figuring out a way. Lewis Pugh, endurance swimmer and ocean advocate who swam across the North Pole believes that fear forces you to prepare more rigorously and see potential problems more quickly. When you set your mind to press forward, envisioning the worst-case scenario enables you to harness anxiety as a source of motivation to prepare and succeed.
When I first started approaching C-level and senior directors to talk about Untrite solutions, I felt small. Why should they listen to a founder of an unknown startup with a little track record, a limited-working product, a small team, but large ambitions of making world a beta place?
The first, second, third rejection hurt my self-esteem bit by bit, but a 50th didn’t make any difference from 40th. Because in the meantime, I started seeing that some of those reach outs turned to meetings… and some, to business or friendships (best when it became a combination of both). Each time I was getting a little closer to building something greater, even though I didn’t know how I’m going to get there. My perseverance and boldness started paying off and people started to notice.
There is a saying attributed to Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni and the Theosophists, that goes:
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
You don’t need to know all the answers to start doing something. Nobody does. But you need to you are receptive and open minded. When you show that you’re ready to learn, you will come across people who will help you move forward. But it’s your job to walk the path.
When people in the industry started seeing that I’m in it for real, many started to help. A few became my mentors that I’ll forever be grateful for. These people know that they once, too, were just starting and someone else helped them to become who they are.
When given an opportunity, throw your best self. No half measures.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was apprehensive about leading the civil rights movement; his dream was to be a pastor and a college president. In 1955, after Rosa Parks was tried for refusing to give up her seat at the front of a bus, a group of civil rights activists gathered to discuss their response. They agreed to form the Montgomery Improvement Association and launch a bus boycott, and one of the attendees nominated King for the presidency. “It had happened so quickly that I did not even have time to think it through. It is probable that if I had, I would have declined the nomination,” King reflected. Just three weeks earlier, King and his wife had “agreed that I should not then take on any heavy community responsibilities, since I had so recently finished my thesis, and needed to give more attention to my church work.” He was unanimously elected to lead the boycott. Faced with giving a speech to the community that evening, “I became possessed by fear.” King would overcome that trepidation soon enough that in 1963 his thundering voice united a country around an electrifying vision of freedom. But that only happened because a colleague thought King should be the closing speaker at the March on Washington and gathered a coalition of leaders to advocate for him.Grant, Adam. “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World”
What if we did this…
The world is full of examples of great entrepreneurs who entered an industry with no prior experience. Most often than not, a tabula rasa helps you look at things with a fresh perspective, undistorted by rules and convictions. Apply one method or a product into another industry and create something original. Richard Branson, Ray Kroc (he turned McDonalds into real estate franchise), Walt Disney, Sara Blakely used their polymathic genius do create value at scale.
Nothing ever happens, if you don’t think of it first. You have to have an idea of where you want to arrive. And then work out backwards how you’re going to get there establishing and working towards smart tasks:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
You’ll find people who will help you fill the blanks as you go along.
It’s all about perception.
The beauty of our mind is that it can find meaning in anything, even in a burned toast. The world we experience is all relative. When you and I look at the same object we assume that we’ll both see the same colour. Whatever our identities or ideologies, we believe our realities meet at the most basic level of perception. But in 2015, a viral internet phenomenon called “The Dress” tore this assumption asunder. It’s the same with opportunities. Some will spot opportunities where others can’t. In fact, many of the greatest companies like Airbnb, Trader Joe’s or Netflix started in deep recession.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” said once Henry Ford. We determine our own success or failure. The point is to commit to change and trust the process, no matter how painful it may feel. We are capable of so much more than our reasoning mind may tell us.