Okay, this is going to seem kind of weird. A couple of days ago I wrote a piece on fear. You know, admitting our fears, facing our fears, and all that, intending to post it today. Just before I did, I went to this site and saw Gregg Dourgarian has posted a piece on motivation, and hunger and drive and what success does to all that. Not exactly the same, but similar! So at the risk of making it seem like this is Self Help Friday at Staffing Talk, here’s my post.
This piece was formed when I recently heard a speaker talk about fear, and how that goes together with procrastination. He said procrastination can even lead to fear, as a consequence of not doing something. He also said when we don’t take risks and face fear, our fears tend to get worse.
Do any of those statements resonate with you? They do with me. In fact, he could have been speaking directly to me, as well as about me.
Let me share a personal story. I came up with the basic concept and language of a sales training and consulting platform called 3 Second Selling™ over a year ago. In fact, as I look at most of the web copy and other pieces of content much of it dates back to June and July of 2011.
Although I expect that to change very soon, as I write this my website isn’t up, and my book is barely started and what the heck happened to the past year?!
Yes, there were a few missing pieces, and I had some odds and ends stuff that needed completion, but did I let that get in the way of launching my platform? Yes I did.
Is that all that is behind the delay though? Is it simply a matter of some unfinished components that prevented the launch?
That shouldn’t have been the case. After all, I already had a very successful experience with my first paying client, and have always received lots of positive affirmation around my idea.
I was also getting (but apparently not hearing!) the counsel of serial entrepreneurs who were telling me to just jump in. They said, “We know you, you have a vision, and you want everything perfect before you get started, and that will paralyze you. It will prevent you from taking that first step.”
“You have a vision, and you want everything perfect before you get started, and that will paralyze you. It will prevent you from taking that first step.”
It was easy for me to share my idea(s) with friends and others. But to have the broader community pass judgment on my idea? That was another thing I guess.
I don’t think I was ever intentionally putting the brakes on completing anything just because it would have put me closer to the finish line.
But maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, that was happening.
However, I had plenty of reasons for the long timeline, good reasons, such as a day job in the form of my consulting business, an active, busy family I love spending time with, athletic pursuits I love spending time on, etc. Some of those same things that Gregg mentions in his post actually.
I don’t have as many gold coins in my pocket as Gregg does though, so I don’t want to buy into those things for myself. Even if the world lets you off the hook, don’t give in yourself.
Robert Kelsey is the bestselling author of “What’s Stopping You: Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can.” The book is about understanding, accepting and navigating the insecurities that drive career failure. Kelsey says, “We can learn to accept our fears as part of us, and then navigate their destructive consequences.”
“We can learn to accept our fears as part of us, and then navigate their destructive consequences.”
Here are Kelsey’s seven steps to overcoming (but not curing) fear of failure, as listed in this article on CNN.com:
1. Discover your true values
2. Establish your goals
3. Work out the milestones
4. Develop a strategy and tactics
5. Execute efficiently
6. Deal with people
7. Find your unique gift
As the speaker I just heard pointed out, facing our fears does not come naturally. But we often find rewards when we do. At the very least, we figure to grow and stretch in the process.
Do you have a desire to start your own staffing agency? To build out a new division of the one you work for? To create a new interview process and candidate scoring system at your company? What are you afraid of? What fears are holding you back? We’d love to hear from you.
When we admit our fears, they lose a little bit of their hold on us.
As for perhaps our biggest fear, the fear of failure, I will leave you with a quote from Bill Nguyen. He is the founder of Lala, the online music service Apple bought in 2009. He now has another startup called Color, a video broadcasting app for smartphones. He says failing is pretty normal.
“Over the weekend, I tried to power wash the driveway and the pressure was too low. I headed over to Home Depot and bought some tools. Four hours later, it was working again and by 6PM I finally finished the driveway. I’ve got serious short-term memory loss and getting bogged down from stuff that doesn’t work is not something that happens to me. We really try to focus on the possibilities and less on what happened or its impact.”
So let’s take Bill’s approach, focus on the possibilities, and face down our fears, particularly our fear of failure.
Fear is a natural part of life. But we don’t want to live in fear. Right?