In Action, Leaders

“Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined.” – Leo Rosten

I spend most of my time with business leaders talking about the future. While every business or industry has some unique characteristics, in general they’re all very similar. They all have customers or clients, they all have a product or service, there are competitors, they’re all trying to be profitable, they all have employees, etc. And in the end, they’re all trying to figure out what they future looks like in the context of all those variables.

What I’ve found over the years is that most of those business leaders don’t lack for ideas. They have all kinds of thoughts about how to solve those problems and what their business might look like. The problem lies in actually making those ideas a reality. Too many businesses struggle with that part of the equation, and quite often it’s not for the reasons you might think.

When our business clients struggle with putting ideas into action, it’s rarely due to an overwhelming lack of resources, or lack of knowledge, or those kinds of things. Certainly some things they want to do take time to plan for and can’t happen immediately. But in the end, those logistical things are quite often not the issue. From a leader standpoint, quite often the issue is fear.

As leaders, we too often convince ourselves that we have to have all the answers, and that great leaders are always successful. Both of those thoughts are ridiculous. We don’t have to have all the answers, and no reasonable person can expect that. And great leaders fail all the time. Get online and look up famous leaders. Virtually without exception, that all tried and failed at various times, and in some cases, they tried and failed most of the time. Some people we look at in history as great leaders failed almost every time except the one time they’re famous for succeeding. And you think you’re going to be different?

Don’t let fear stop you from pushing your business towards its future. Do things that help mitigate that fear. Paint yourself a clear picture of what you want that future to be. Clearly state to yourself and your organization why that future will be so much better than the present. Make sure you understand why you and each member of your team will be better off.

Whatever you do, don’t let yourself and your business be paralyzed by fear. You may succeed right away, or you may (more likely) have some barriers to overcome. Remember that the only true failure is giving up and quitting. It’s OK to have fear. Don’t let it run your business.

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