“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I was fortunate over the past week to spend time with a number of extraordinarily successful business owners. I always find that there are very few things more educational than working with successful people and trying to understand why they’ve been so successful. Of course everyone’s story is a little different, but there are always some similarities.
One thing I was struck by during my time with these people lately was the idea of decisiveness. Each of these individuals has figured out what they think is best for their business, and they’ve gotten on the path to accomplishing it. It certainly isn’t easy, but they’re moving forward.
There are so many businesses (and individuals) who fail because they simply don’t ever get started. They’re so paralyzed by fear of failure that they never get in the game. Any time they’re faced with a decision, or an opportunity, or some kind of situation that requires action, they freeze. They make the excuse that they’re being ‘thorough in their analysis’ or something like that, but it’s really that they’re afraid to do anything without a 100% guarantee of success. Which, of course, doesn’t exist.
You obviously can’t be rash. You can’t lead a business by making decisions or taking action and not putting any thought into it. You can’t set off on a new path without having a clear picture of what you’re trying to accomplish and how you think you can get there.
But you must take calculated risks. You must attempt to do things that may not work. You must try things without knowing exactly what the outcome might be or what barriers you’ll run into. No one ever did anything great (or even very good) without some risk of failure. You can’t wait for the perfect time, because there isn’t one.
Ask yourself this: Is there some issue or some opportunity or some big decision in my business that I’m putting off? Something that we’ve been talking about or analyzing or debating for weeks/months/years but haven’t taken any action on? Why? Don’t let your fear of failure keep you from striking out on the path you know you need to take. Get out there and do something.