You’re a Wuss and It Is Costing You
We’ve all heard the stat from the SBA: 50% of small businesses will fail within 1 year and 95% of small businesses will fail within the first 5. Why are we so good at failing? What in our DNA makes those failures stumbling blocks for some (those who give up) and building blocks for others (those who keep going)?
After a lot of thought on this topic, my conclusion was fairly simple: you’re a wuss and it’s costing you. Here are 3 things you can do to stop being a wuss and start making money.
Forget The Fear of Failure…It’s A Myth
This is a very real feeling, no doubt. But SO WHAT? Nobody WANTS to fail. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “Today is the day I fail!” That’s ludicrous. Instead, as intelligent beings, we are much more sly with how we manifest this fear. You see, it would be too simple for us to just admit we’re fearful, address the feeling, and move on. No that won’t work for us. We have to attribute our fears to others, an experience, or a reality we face that is the REASON we can’t do something. It might go something like this:
Sure that guy can make money, he’s got _______, and _______ going for him. Not only that, he’s been doing it for ______ years. Furthermore, he probably doesn’t have the responsibilities of ______ and ______ and ______ like I do.
Have you ever had a conversation with yourself that resembles those statements in any way, shape, or form? Do you see what you’re doing by making those statements? You’re setting yourself so low that before you even start something, you’ve talked your self out of it.
Here’s a better way to deal with fear of failure.
Sit down, and make a list of the top 3-5 things you are MOST fearful about regarding your new endevour, project, or business. Be real with yourself, don’t let that manipulative self take over and write the halmark version of what your fearing. Be REALISTIC. Be HONEST. Be SPECIFIC. Once you have a list ask yourself these questions.
- If I was counseling someone else with the same fear, how likely would I tell them the chance of that actually happening was?
- If this fear does come to pass will it cost me my family, all my savings, or my life?
- If I didn’t have this fear, would I feel capable to pursue this project?
Most often, when you ask yourself the tough questions, you’re able to see that the actual thing you fear is something completely different than you may think. That fear of failure may be more a matter of your feeling inadequate, incapable, like you just don’t have what it takes (because remember, NOBODY WANTS TO FAIL). The point of this exercise is to identify the real reason we continue to fail before we begin. Are you willing to go there with yourself? Are you open to asking the tough questions? Are you willing to squelch the inner wuss so you can move forward with confidence?
Play To Your Strengths, Manage Where Your Weak
This ties in so well with the fear of failure myth. I’m not a PhD, and I’m not attempting to be one, but perhaps the reason we are so good at failing is because we spend so much time trying to improve our weaknesses that we forget to spend time on our strengths.
It’s human nature. We’re taught that weakness is bad. We’re told that we need to work on it, be better at it, just NOT do it.
While that may be well intentioned advice, it’s completely backwards if you ask me. Instead of spending so much time getting better at where your weak (and remember, I’m talking in the business world), spend 90% of your time playing to your strengths and hire out where you’re weak.
Maybe you’re great at writing salescopy but suck at web design. Maybe you’re unbelievable at customer support but horrible at vision casting. No matter the comparison, identify where you’re strong, identify a business that plays to those strengths, then manage your weakness (by hiring someone else). This has probably been one of the most valuable lessons to me personally.
Set SMALL Goals
Don’t be the, “I want to make $50,000/month this month,” guy or gal.
I can GUARANTEE you it won’t happen. If you’re trying to go from $0 to some huge number in NO time, let me save you the frustration and tell you the truth: it ain’t gonna happen.
Now instead, why not focus on something like this.
If $50,000/month is your ultimate goal (you can fill in whatever number that is), then take what you ultimately want and work backwards. $50,000/month is about $1667/day, $69/hour, $1.16/minute.
Next, identify something IN that goal as your FIRST goal. Meaning, take $1667/day and make that your first monthly income goal. $1667/month is $55.57/day, $2.32/hour, 4 cents/minute. That is a much more reasonable place to start, but it also does something sneaky to your brain: it helps you achieve part of your bigger goal, establishing success, and motivating you to the next level. Does that make sense? By establishing a small but measurable success in your bigger goal, you establish momentum and the sense of ability to go to the next level. You’ve accomplished something. You’ve achieved it. In your mind, you now know it can be done.
If you’re a planner by nature, this will be a valuable little nugget. Always be mindful of the bigger goal, but don’t spend so much of your energy trying to go from sea level to the summit of Everest when you haven’t even conquered getting to base camp.
So forget fear of failure and identify the real reasons you’re not pursuing what you want, play to your strengths/hire where you’re weak, and set small goals that are stepping stones to your biggest goal. Don’t be a wuss, and don’t let it cost you anymore!