How many times have you let fear hold you back from doing something you really wanted to do? I have to admit---it is way easier to sit on the couch, watch Netflix and let our problems dissolve through avoidance. I binged on 121 episodes of LOST trying to avoid my fear of starting something new. Then I realized that nothing new was going to happen to me on my couch.
What could you achieve if you pushed through your fear? What is waiting for you on the other side?
I'm going to make a bold statement:
EVERYBODY HAS FEAR
After speaking to hundreds of people from all over the world involved in dozens of industries---from young entrepreneurs to older ones who have created BILLION dollar companies I learned that fear is an emotion that every person experiences. The most successful people that you envy? Those people push through fear every single day.
Will you push through the discomfort of fear to get to the other side of it?
When we started our business The Sugar Path we had a lot of fear. We were indeed a little reckless with our fear. In fact, while I think the phrase "no fear" is a little silly, I think our attitude was just that. It's not that we didn't fear doing something we had never done before, instead we just wanted it so bad that we were willing to work through the fear to get to the other side of it. Start a business we had no experience in? Ok let's do it! Go to an event we've never been to before? Let's go! Cater someone's wedding when we had never catered a wedding before---(just the most important day of somebody's life!)---yes, let's do that!
Our firsts carry fear because we don't know what to expect. The first time we ride a bike. The first day of school. Our first day on the job. Our first baby. Does knowing that others have the same fears help you take action? Or does knowing that others have had those fears and overcame them help you believe you can do the same?
What helped us overcome fear to take action was knowing what could be waiting on the other side. We knew that others had opened businesses with no experience and succeeded. We also knew that to start a new business we would experience fear, just like many others. But what helped us to face our fear and decided to push through despite it was to view fear as the price of success. It's the price of getting from the unknown to the known. You can't achieve success until you pay for it.
But what if you face the fear and fail? I'm not going to lie--failure happens. You may take a leap and the new job doesn't work out or you lose money on the business because it doesn't succeed. Then why do it? You do it because doing it and failing is better than not doing it at all. Trying and failing is better than not trying and regretting it. Failure leads to experience and something new. Regret leads to misery and waste. The most successful people experienced failure first. The difference is something called resilience. Successful people just keep going---keep pushing past the fear to finally get to success. They used their failure experiences as steps to get them to where they wanted to go.
Doing it and failing is better than not doing it and regretting.
I feared creating a business wondering if anyone would like us and want to be our customers. Was I silly to want to do something different with my life? What if I spent all my time and money on creating a business and then it failed? But most of all, what if I wasn't good enough? These things crossed my mind on a daily basis. Every day was a new day to face the fear of failing. But I knew that if I didn't try that I would regret it my entire life. To me, living with that regret would be worse than facing fear and simply trying, even if trying could result in failure.
I learned to get comfortable with fear. With every new day I faced a new thing and a new fear. I learned how to push past it and get to the other side with the philosophy one day at a time. One step that would lead to another step that would lead to another. The path to the other side.
Have you ever heard that phrase "What would you do if you knew you would not fail"? Is failure that terrifying that it keeps you from trying? I know it feels better to win, but in business "winning" is subjective. What does winning look like? Is it having a successful business with a healthy profit margin? Or is it an adventure where you get to help make hundreds of people happy? What is your definition of success? Perhaps success is the ability to push through fear and just do it. Just do the things that you are most scared to do regardless of the outcome.
Make that call. Send that letter. Knock on that door. Go to that networking event. Take the leap.
I have come to have a different definition of success along this journey. Success came in the form of reinvention. In learning brand new skills. In creating new experiences. In the security of knowing I can do nearly any damn thing that I set my mind to. In having more time to be with family. Success came in the form of less stress. In meeting literally thousands of new people that I never would have met if I did not take the path blocked by FEAR. In meeting dozens of entrepreneurs who became my friends and resulted in an event that would go down as one of the best events of my year. In reconnecting with people I haven't seen or talked to in years. What does success look like for me? It looks like happiness.
Fear is not comfortable --it's not supposed to be. Don't save fear up for the "right" day that may never come----spend it now and buy yourself some success, a/k/a happiness.