It was Jerry Seinfeld that said “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Estimates vary, but generally more than 600,000 businesses are started each year in the United States. Yet for every American who actually starts a business, there are likely millions more who begin each year saying “OK, this is the year I am going to act on that idea and make it into a business” only to have another year roll around without taking any real action.
Everyone has his or her own fears and roadblocks, something that prevents them from taking that crucial first step. Most people are afraid to start; they may fear the unknown or failure, or even success. Others find starting something new simply over-whelming, they have the mistaken belief they have to start completely from scratch. They think they have to come up with something that no one has ever done before– a totally new invention. In other words, they think they have to reinvent the wheel – when in reality they don’t.
February is nearly gone and New Year’s resolutions well behind in the rearview mirror. It’s very difficult (nearly impossible) to really move forward a start something new when we are carting the past along with us. The process of letting go can include changing your attitude and perceptions about what the past did to you, to digging very deep and letting go of some of the childhood stuff that has shaped your life for years.
I think the way the human mind processes the fear of failure is completely backwards. We are trained at an early age to panic at the thought of failure. It starts at a very young age. As children we are taught to strive for success and that falling short isn’t acceptable; non-success is quickly associated with punishment as a bad grade is given in school or a starting position in sports is given to the better player.
I’ve seen it first hand in coaching – 7 year olds that are completely defeated by fear and the mere prospect of failure. To many people, failure becomes a mental shortcut they create early on—representing an end-state of humiliation, shame, pain, etc. When we put logic ahead of fear it does not have to be this way. This outlook on the fear of failing is completely backwards: Failure can be one of our most powerful tools, pushing us to do great things.
As we continue to build Tama County’s economy, there are going to be mistakes made…..I guarantee that! The biggest mistake any one of us can make is doing nothing because our fears are so big that they paralyze us from taking action. So my advice: don’t hesitate – don’t doubt yourself. In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance. You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing will NEVER work.