Saturday, January 22, 2011

How To Know When It's Time: Starting a Small Business Part 2 - Facing Fear

Being thrust into having to start a business is nerve wracking and can be an emotional roller-coaster.  One moment I find I'm fighting paralyzing fear because I don't know what will happen...the fear of failing, and suddenly I'm so over the moon about my future all I want to do is move forward at full steam!  It's a new and strange experience for me.  To focus on either of them is not good as I've learned in my own life experiences and the experiences of others in their in business.  Surging forward too quickly is as bad as being bound up by fear and unable to move.  It is a warning and a reminder that being taken over by either emotion may be one of the trickiest parts of this whole venture.  In this post its all about facing fear and what failure really is.

Me at the site of one of my biggest failures and greatest is now an alter of remembrance and turning point in my life. It is the place I need to know that because I failed here does not mean I won't succeed tomorrow.  It is only a spot in the road of life.

We all fear the future in some measure because we don't know what it will be for us...success or failure; mostly we just fear failure.  Few people today really realize that failure is a great teacher and all because of the social stigma surrounding it.  I know I suffered under this social stigma and its short-sighted definition for years.  Even though there is a vast amount of help out there for small business start ups, I still I find I have to force myself forward and have to face those fears almost daily.  Each time I do I am discover over and over that this is really just series of steps taken one at a time, that I should not think about and consider what comes next but I must not worry about what comes next or that I might make a mistake.   This means I must not listen to the voice of worry because it binds me up with fear, tying my feet to where I stand with the chords of "what if?" so I never move forward.  However we all have to face our fears to reap our desired rewards.

We fear spiders because we think they are going to bite us...but they are only trying to survive and would rather have a nice meal of flower fly or other insect.  So is our fear justified...I think not; understanding helps to alleviate fear.

Fear and insecurities are something we battle throughout our lives and each of us has our own way of dealing with them.  Nearly every gardening class I’ve taught and every meeting I’ve attended I’ve met someone who will confess to me me that they are scared to death to start a garden. Being the oh-so-confident and fearless gardener I am, my response to them is simply this; "Ya gotta start somewhere, so why not here and why not now?", followed up with some simple instructional tips to help get them going.  Sometimes they need to hear that everyone fails and yes they will fail, they will kill plants or plants will just die...but that's ok, that's life in the garden.  That they should not fear these seeming failures but to grab onto them and learn from them as opportunities to learn what really happened to cause it or to look at it as an opportunity try something new instead.  Isn't trying a new business just like that?  I think it is a lot like that.

As I write this it amazes me how many lessons I am able to glean from my past career which speaks to me of how our lives are an ongoing journey filled with lessons and applications that are meant to translate to these new pathways, meant to help us become wiser, meant to teach us and meant to be shared with others to help them along their way too.  We tend to forget this truth in transition times when we start fearing the unknown, when  we begin to walk down that new path we have never been on before.

Its funny how I'm finding myself needing to take my own advise these days and it makes me pause to wonder at how long I've been being taught through my past circumstances, those lessons preparing me this season in my life.  I know its been at least for the past eighteen years and I'm guessing for my whole life; and I’ll be darned if it didn’t happen without my I even realizing what was going on.

Every new day is born full of new opportunity and the lessons that will accompany them if we take hold of them and step out into our future.

For me as a Christian I don't face my future alone but with God as my guide which is a great comfort and help when I am tempted to fear.  This truth was made plain to me years ago in a rather unusual way when I opened the first copy of Reader's Digest my father had sent me as a gift and on the first page I turned to, the very first thing I read was this quote:

"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
“Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown”,
and he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God,  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”  Louise M. Haskin

Whether you are a long time business owner, just setting up a new business like myself, or someone who is just walking along a new path in your life that you find challenging, I hope this has been of some encouragement to you.

Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks
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