By Saralyn Collins
I’ll never forget the day our daughter who had just graduated from college set out to conquer the world! It seems so smart now (she’s safely home) but at that time, both my husband and I were filled with fear and questions.
Well, let’s take a step back because this month’s column is very different. Most of you know me as a very bottom line kind of person—all focused on business. And I am! But this has been on my mind for a while.
And I have to tell you a story!
It was about 15 years ago and our daughter was headed off to Central and South America for an extended time (no one knew how long) all by herself. This was long before we had smart phones and constant internet connections to stay in touch with her.
Right before she left, so many things went wrong. She was arriving in Mexico City at an airport an hour outside the city, very late at night with no one to meet her and no where to stay. Yep, I was scared!
We sat in the Miami airport hardly speaking for what seemed like hours. Time came for her to get on the plane and she just walked off—giving us the sign language gesture for “I love you.” She never looked back. My husband and I cried all the way back to Orlando—taking turns consoling each other.
I later asked her about that time. She admitted to me that she was almost literally “scared to death” when she boarded the plane—that she was in such turmoil she thought she was either going to throw up or faint. So she sat still without speaking or moving for the next couple of hours trying to get herself under control.
It was some time before I knew the whole story of her landing and trying to find a place to sleep that night. The stress had exhausted her and she admitted she was scared. In fact, I later learned how many times over the next two years she faced unbelievable circumstances and danger—how many times she faced down terrifying people and situations—and kept on going. Someday, I’ll share some of her experiences with you. They will blow your mind!
Later when she was safely home (sigh of relief here) I asked why she chose to go on when she could have turned around in that airport and we would have happily gone home. She thought for just a minute and then answered as truthfully as she knew how. She said “Mom, of course I was afraid. So what? Since when is having fear big enough to keep you from doing something important and valuable?”
The more I thought about her answer, the more it resonated with me. I have always taken pride in being a bit of a risk taker. Yet, with age, I found myself fearing the consequences—what if I failed—what others would think of me if… I was getting soft… that’s all there was to it.
For years, I had been talking about different things I wanted to do at some point—one of them was to jump out of an airplane. So that’s exactly what I did. Free fall at 120 MPH for one mile! (Just bragging a little here… )
My husband kept saying, “but who jumps out of a perfectly good airplane?” Me—that’s who!
Recently I read the following words in a blog post by a colleague: “You have probably heard the phrase, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Some of you may live by that mantra. Others may feel the fear and let it paralyze them, never taking risks, living a life of safety and complacency. Fear is a natural emotion that we all feel at times, and that can keep us safe when facing danger or something that we are ill-prepared for. Fear can prompt us to do more research when embarking on a new venture, and it can serve as the impetus for better planning. But fear can sometimes also stop us dead in our tracks, serving as a barrier to personal and professional growth.”
So here’s the point: I meet people every day who have no idea they are allowing fear in some disguise to keep them from building a successful business. They give in to fear instead of learning how to network effectively. They don’t pick up the phone to call for fear someone will actually answer and they will have to explain who they are and what they do. They don’t try to promote their products or service because they fear rejection.
You wouldn’t believe some of the responses I get when I encourage certain business building strategies. They give me many reasons why something won’t work but I know in my heart—they are scared. Afraid they might fail if they try something new!
What a tragedy. How many blessings have you missed from fear? How many connections have you passed over because you were scared they might ask something more of you? How many times have you failed to grow your business to the next step because you allowed fear to be in charge? How many wonderful people have you failed to meet and connect with because you were afraid they might try to sell you something?
So – I’ll get off my soapbox now and get back to business. I say “Feel the fear… and do it anyway!”
Feel the fear and join us anyway for our Biz Magnet lunch the 3rd Thursday of every month. And don’t be afraid to contact Saralyn to talk about business growth strategies. She won’t bite!