At the core of every challenge is fear. Some people retreat away from it, and others have learned to embrace it. But let’s make no mistake about it … having the courage to embrace fear is a learned behaviour that requires practise. Learning to push past the inertia that keeps you from getting started. Learning to create low risk environments to test and develop your concepts. Learning to consistently take small steps forward to build momentum.
Today, in business, there is a very healthy dose of competition, and our ability to advance our initiatives, stay relevant and thrive in business still depends on our willingness to take risks. The challenge, however, is that human nature is to shy away from risk.
For those who find comfort in what is known, advancing into uncharted territory can be truly terrifying. And yet, as we know, experiments are where innovation, progress and personal fulfillment are found. Though most people will do just about anything to avoid doing something where the path or the outcome is undefined, the unknown is a friend and ally for those willing to 'give it a try' and see what happens.
This reminds me of a phrase my mother used to say about people who were stuck in their ways: “Be thankful for those people - they are your competition.”
Wow! Isn’t that a truth bomb?! Mom was good at those.
While you’re resisting change, or retreating from discomfort, someone out there is busy embracing their fears and discovering new opportunities. And, like it or not, these same people are actively creating circumstances that will force you to expand outside your comfort zone if you plan to stay in business (let alone thrive).
So how can you make it easier on yourself to invite a little more adventure into your business and life?
1. When the urge strikes, don’t think ... Just Get Started
And then keep going. Create a simplified version of the finished concept that you envision. Start by introducing it in its basic form and then build it up and expand on it over time. By doing so, you can leverage the experience of each small step to inform the development of the next phase. This has two benefits: your ideas end up better developed in the long run, and you reduce the number of potentially costly errors.
2. Create Safe Environments
Pilot programs, samples, and prototypes are great for this. Put out some trial balloons, test the waters, and ask for feedback on the concept or idea so that you get some traction. Don’t wait until your product or service is fully developed before getting a feel for how it will be received by the market.
Test your ideas with people you trust to give you honest, critical feedback. These people are a great resource and make it safer to experiment. Your allies want to help you succeed - embrace those who want to help and invite them to be ‘on the inside’ of your development curve.
3. Take Small Steps
One of the greatest enemies of the entrepreneur is the tendency to work in fits and starts. You never develop momentum this way. Keep moving forward and the momentum will build on itself. Unless you’re headed the wrong way, momentum always works in your favour.
Lastly, have the wisdom to know that you’re never going to be fully confident. With any new endeavour, there are always risks and unknowns. Your courage will carry you until your confidence catches up.
I will leave you with this mantra that serves me, and our clients, every day:
“Small steps climb mountains.”
As long as you keep taking small steps, you’re moving forward, and if you’re taking manageable risks, I can assure you that when you review your progress over time, your results will astound you.
What small step are you willing to take today to help you reach your most ambitious goals?
To your Success, Differently,