It’s great to be scared

I was listening to an interview on the radio the other day and I have to say I heard one of the most profound quotes I may have ever heard. The quote was simple, it was to the point, and it really struck me as being a brilliant one.

“When you are scared you fight harder than you ever have before, so don’t be afraid to be scared.”

In all the years of coaching in all fields, academically, athletically, personal, executive, and in groups I have never heard a truer or simpler statement. I also can honestly say that as an entrepreneur this should be high up on anyone’s list of beliefs. If there is a day when you are not afraid of something, be it failure, money not coming in, the message that you are giving out, your brands image, whatever it is that you might be afraid of in that moment then you are truly not doing something right. I believe that if you are not afraid then you are not pushing your limits far enough.

A year or so ago I started teaching a 1 hour introductory course with the title “Is Entrepreneurship For Me?” and in that course I always show people this image:

Then I ask them where the perfect entrepreneurs dot should be on this graph. Where do you think it should be?

I tend to argue that right in the middle is a great place for any successful entrepreneur to be. And this is why:

  • Myth: Everyone has to believe in the myth of entrepreneurship. Believe that there is a chance that you could strike it rich. The myth that all entrepreneurs are successful and that they have the freedom to do whatever it is they want to do. This myth is important to keep the dream alive when hard times come around, believe me they will come, maybe not for long and maybe not often but they will come.
  • Excitement: Entrepreneurs when they begin the process typically find it incredibly liberating and exciting. Usually it is one of the first times in their adult life that they get to be the boss. The allure of making your own schedule, controlling your earning power, being the one who decides what kinds of work you do during the day, and so many millions of other decisions is super exhilarating. This is often what drives people to start their own business. This excitement is real but sometimes misguided. I say misguided because many times those who are beginning their entrepreneurial path only see the positives. This excitement, just like the myths can propel people forward though.
  • Reality: When the honeymoon period of entrepreneurship is over reality strikes. Again a mix of good and bad reality come swelling in. “Oh my goodness I have to make money,” “Oh my goodness I’m really doing this,”Shit this is beginning to be real, and kinda fun.” In fact one of the things that I hear most often about the reality of the situation is how “weird” entrepreneurs sometimes feel at first. The reality sets in that setting your schedule is your own undertaking now. What you do in a day is completely up to you. So much freedom and so much ability to pick and choose. For some the reality of the situation is that all of sudden you are doing jobs that you never thought of before, accounting, marketing, pr, human resources, financial analysis, research, networking, web designer and everything else under the sun. The reality is things have to happen and you are the one (usually) to do it all (at least for a little while). When you get right down to it the reality of the situation is often times a great motivating factor to get off your butt and do the things you need to do.
  • Fear: Perhaps no other motivating factor exists though then that of having to feed, shelter, and cloth yourself. There is a fear associated with entrepreneurship, “Am I doing the right thing?” “Will I succeed?” “Who would pay for my services?”  These are just a few of the questions, questions of doubt, that drive entrepreneurs to push themselves. Fear can be perhaps one of the best motivating factors for entrepreneurs to really get off their ass and do everything they can to succeed, mostly because failure is not an option.

So now you see my point of view on the subject. I have watched 1000’s of entrepreneurs grow in a million different ways and always they land to far up and over in one of these sections and that ultimately leads to their downfall. To summarize, get your ass in the middle of this graph and feel all kinds of emotion. Because all of those emotions will drive you to succeed. If you aren’t feeling something, and there aren’t always two little voices debating in your head (sometimes 1 louder than the other), then something isn’t going right.

What do you think? Where do you fit into this model?

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