Fear is a four letter word. So is risk. Throw in fail to the mix and you have a cocktail that makes your stomach churn. However, out of fear, risk and failure you have some of the most innovative and successful companies and leaders in the world.
Sir Richard Branson recently wrote “My Letter to 25 Year Old Me” in which he told his younger self, “Continue to take chances. In the future how ‘lucky’ you are in business will be determined by how willing you are to take calculated risks.” He continued with “There will be times where you want to give up and throw everything in. Don’t. By turning challenges into opportunities, you will find success you never realised you were capable of achieving. But you won’t always succeed. In fact, you will fail time and time again. That’s ok though, because failure is an inevitable part of every personal and entrepreneurial journey.”
I am writing this after I left everything I knew behind for the second time in my adult life. I moved from Kona six weeks ago leaving behind amazing friends, a solid community imbued with Aloha, stable clients, an amazing Chocolate Festival I helped grow for five years and I moved to South Lake Tahoe without knowing a single soul with no job. My husband left a good paying full time job in Kona and came to Lake Tahoe to go back to his roots in furniture/jewelry making and design. Fear and risk..fear and risk..
A few weeks ago, when I attended the Inman Connect conference, I reconnected with an industry friend, Matt Fagioli who founded the Xplode Conference six years ago. He said he had been looking for the perfect person to come and join his team to help him expand his company. A week later he made me an offer to join him as the Director for Industry Relations for Xplode helping market his real estate technology educational conferences to associations across the country. Seeing a challenge and an opportunity, I said “yes!”. Am I taking a risk? Am I facing the fear of doing something out of my comfort zone? Yes. I keep Sir Richard in my thoughts. A lot.
Digging Into Fear As A Tactic Towards Courage
In the days leading up to taking on my new position, I had the chance to do two things that scared the hell out of me. I figured if I was going to let fear start niggling my gut over a new job, I would immerse myself in the feeling of fear to really get a handle on it. (No one suggested I try this tactic, but I will tell you it gives you some mental perspective for girding your loins!)
I went to a ropes challenge course in North Lake Tahoe last weekend with my family. First time experience for all of us and the course we chose was appropriated named the Monkey Course. I found myself zip lining through the trees with no assistance from the staff, walking on a single cable, which turned into rolling logs, which turned into balancing on free hanging posts dangling 30 feet in the air! Between swearing and sweating, I was digging into fear.
A few days later I went on a tactical mountain bike ride with my husband and son. This was downhill, balls out, single track between trees, granite boulders and fallen trees. As I envisioned the possibility of hitting a stump or rock and flying over the handle bars, I kept thinking, “is the possible outcome as uncomfortable as moving to a new community? Is it as challenging as learning a new job?” I know for a fact the possibility of breaking my leg or smashing my face is a worst outcome than being told “no” on a sales call.
“Do something every day that scares you“, is a motivational mantra. Take it from me, that facing fear head on..and I mean HEAD ON, does stretch something in your soul. My moxie is growing. I just need a helmet sometimes.