fear management vs. fear leadership

The song of an entrepreneur…

Secretly, I’m afraid we won’t raise the money. But it’s okay. I can plow through that fear. We’ll raise the money, and everything will be okay. We’ll raise the money and stand the business up. We’ll have to hit our targets, get the customers in the door, run hard with the marketing plan. Yeah, it’s scary. What if they don’t come? What if they come but don’t buy? What if they buy, but not enough? It’s okay, I can manage that fear. It’ll work. I’ll make it work and everything will be okay. We’ll do this.

What if you don’t do it? What if you, say, “fail“? Does that mean that fear wins? How much do you need to be more than “okay”?

While we’re busy managing fear, fear can be managing us. It’s still creeping in, grabbing at our pant leg, begging to be paid attention to. And fear can always find a reason to get your attention – that’s it’s job – to get you to feed it. But what about the flu? (feed me!) But what about the market? (feed me!) But what about ten years from now? (feed me!) But what will they think? (feed me!)

Beyond coping with fear there is fearlessness. Because, here’s the white hot truth: if you go bankrupt, you’ll still be okay. If you lose the gig, the lover, the house, you’ll still be okay. If you sing off key, get beat by the competition, have to hand in the keys, you will still be okay. Ask anyone who’s been through it. They’re more than okay. People survive and they learn to thrive. It’s life. It’s business.

Don’t manage your fear. Lead your fear. Take charge. When fear climbs on your shoulder and starts nattering in your ear, here’s what you do: You stand as a master. You tell Scaredy Cat where you’re going, risks and all, and you convert Scaredy into a champion to help you get there. You say, lovingly but firmly (because ultimately the Scaredy Cat in you just wants some love and you’ve got plenty of it to give,) “Yep, we may fail, it’s possible. This is risky shit. But we’ll still be okay. Because that’s who we are. We’re the kind of people that are okay, no matter what. So remember that invincibility and let’s get to work. There’s a new land to discover and the only way to find it is to keep going – cliffs, cash flow, agony, adulation and all. If you keep your mouth shut and your eyes wide open, we’ll get there sooner. We’re doing this. We’re doing this because we want to. Because this is what it means to do life.”

And then watch what Scaredy Cat does. She’ll look perplexed for a minute. She’ll nuzzle up, as if to say thank you. And then she’ll strut down the street to help you recruit some new business.

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