Success is commonly seen as creating a unicorn and having a bank account bulgin with billions. If you don’t achieve that, if you stumble and fall along the way then it sometimes seems if you are a failure. The mistake here is that if you take this view then you are relying on your achievements as myour measure of success. Achievement is fickle and rarely under our control. The activity that you put into creating achievements or otherwise is a far better measure.
Much of my best work never delivered. The market changed. The company went bust. We pivoted. Was I responsible for the market changes? No. If it hadn’t changed I’d have a shiny medal. The reality is that I don’t. The reality is that as an entrepreneur this is really really common. We look at the stars and expect dreamlike rewards. The truth is that we mine diamonds and we need to shine and polish them as they are the true measure of our value.
What we do is incredibly valuable; then, we do it again and again.
Or we try to. Fear is a brilliant tool. It is super power at stopping us doing stupid things. If it hurts, fear kicks in and stops us doing it again. Great for teaching us to stay away from cliffs, bicycles and rivers in flood. The truth is that as entrepreneurs we need to go to these places. We need to go back to them time and time again and the fear makes it harder for us to do so. Worse we get platitudes that tell us to overcome fear but don’t tell us how to cut through the scar tissue that forms over time.
For me the secret lies as much in sidestepping the issue as in facing it directly. Does it scare me? Yes? Will it kill me? No (if yes – such as downhill biking I put on the brakes). Then try it. Push to overcome that discomfort at every moment. I’m always in awe of how Napoleon and other generals ignored canon and musket fire, appearing unconcerned as they got pelted with dirt and had horses shot from around them and aides mutilated. Fight the little battles first and then big ones are easier. The epiphany in my life was mundane. Cold water. I used to scrunch myself up before having a cold shower. it was a horrible experience. Now I just walk into the cold stream of water and accept the sensation.
Each battle with fear gives us confidence