Monday, May 5, 2014

Fear of failure

     Free daily advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that.

     When you are running a small business, you know that many of the things you try will result in failure. It's just a fact of life. Not everything you do will be met with glowing success.

     But failure is related to magnitude. The bigger the step, the more hesitant we are in taking it.

     Not so with small steps. The baker who tries out a new icing recipe on cupcakes is taking a small step. The greenhouse grower who tries out a new seed strain is taking a small step. The cafe that offers a new green eggs and ham breakfast is taking a small step.

     In business, you are continually taking small steps to improve. You make adjustments in product lines, in customer service, in how you manage the operation. Some of these work, others don't. 

     Never fear failing. It goes to basics.

     Failing means you have taken a risk. And risk is all around you, all the time. 

     When you step out of the front door, you can be hit with a pot of flowers falling from above. When you drive to the store, you can be hit by another vehicle.

     Our society tends to grapple with this by passing more and more laws. I'm sure that there are statistics showing that seat belt laws have had profound effects in reducing injuries. But it was not the law that did this. It was the awareness in the public's mind. In this sense, the law replaced education.

     Educators adopt all sorts of strategies to avoid educating kids. The realities of life have been abandoned in favor of teaching the latest theory. Self esteem, for example, cannot be taught--it wells up inside us when we accomplish something. Self esteem is not a teachable goal. It is a by-product of personal accomplishment.

     You are brimful of self esteem when you see your small business getting off the ground. Yes, you still tackle daily problems. Yes, you still worry about the future. But seeing the baby crawl and then begin to walk is amazing.  

     Taking risks is what life if all about. If your mother had not taken the risk of carrying you to term, you wouldn't have been born. 

     Likewise, if you had not taken the risk of failing, you wouldn't be in business.

     But a funny thing happens along the way. We get into business, and then we begin to fear failing. We continue to take the little risks--nibbling around the edges of our business. But we don't take the big steps to expand and grow for fear of failure. 

     The key is this--never take unnecessary risks, and before taking that giant step, think through what you're about to do. That fear of failure can serve you well. Just don't let it keep you from taking the big risks.

     Questions? Email me direct at and put BLOG in the subject line.
     I am retired and I am not selling anything. Your privacy is always respected. 

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