Friday, September 05, 2008

 

No Fear

To be an entrepreneur, you must have no fear. You must either ignore or not care about the numerous odds stacked against you to succeed. You can spend almost no time fretting about the countless variables outside of your control that could impact your emerging business in a negative way.

You must operate with focus, determination and tenacity - and without fear.

Not unlike learning how to ice skate, actually. A couple years ago I wanted to start playing hockey, and the first step was ice skating lessons. I joined an adult lesson at a local rink, and found myself with a small group of adults surrounded by several groups of children. We were all there - adults and children - to learn how to ice skate, and we were all pretty much starting from scratch.

Funny thing is, after the first couple lessons, it was clear that the kids were progressing far faster than the adults. They were literally skating circles around us, while we still wobbled. While we were quite amused by this (if not frustrated), our instructor wasn't at all surprised. He said we were thinking about it too much. We knew, intellectually, that a mere, thin blade of steel was all that stopped us from falling down onto the hard ice. As adults, our awareness of this risk (and fear) made us more tenuous, and stunted our development.

The kids, however, weren't thinking about falling. They were blissfully ignorant to the inherent risks of what they were doing, so therefore were able to ride that lack of fear to an accelerated development path.

To succeed with a new business idea, or simply be good at innovation in an existing business, you need to act and operate like those kids. The more you fear, the slower you'll grow. The more you'll hedge your bets. The slower you'll innovate.

Sure, the risks are still there. But most of the time they aren't actually in your way.

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