Fear keeps you from acting. Ask yourself this one question, “What would I do if I were not afraid?” See how fear is keeping you from doing what you really want? See how debilitating fear can really be? Fear keeps people from speaking when they want to speak. Fear keeps people from deciding when they need to decide. Fear keeps people from achieving what they want in life. Don’t let anyone tell you your fears are in your mind. Your fears are not a product of your imagination. They are real. And unless you learn to conquer your fears, you will never achieve the success that you desire. The cure for fear is action. So, decide today what you most fear. And then decide what is the best action to conquer this fear. Then, act. Do what you need to do to achieve what you want to achieve.
In The Hard Things About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz likens running a business to driving a race car. When driving a race car, you must focus on the road. If you focus on the wall, you will run into it. By focusing on the road, you will stay on the road. Any given day, there are hundreds of obstacles lurking in and around your path to success. And as long as you focus your attention solely on these obstacles instead of focusing on your goals and vision, you will never achieve your dreams. Life is a journey. Keep your eye on the road. As a business owner, do not obsess with what can go wrong with your business. When obstacles occur, address them, look for the opportunity within the obstacle, and move on. And remember to always stay focused on your vision. Look ahead and keep moving forward.
Starting a company is not easy. There are times of enormous stress. Times when you wonder if it is really worth doing. Times when you are just ready to quit and walk away. But walking away will cost your people their jobs. Walking away will cost your investors their funds. Walking away will cost you your reputation. So you keep going. And you keep losing sleep. It is hard to understand the stress of owning a business. Yes, you may have the next great idea. But reading books on leadership and business organization will never prepare you for having to fire people because of a bad decision. Or bad timing. There is no secret formula for success. Sometimes, things just do not go as planned. Life happens. Seek out a mentor. Find someone who started a business and succeeded. Lean on their advice. Because sometimes you will need it.
Without effective and intentional communication, your team is nothing more than a group of employees. Communication is what binds the team together. It keeps the team heading in the same direction, marching to the beat of the same drum. You will never achieve your dreams and vision unless you communicate your dream and vision to the members of your team. Too many times, team leaders are unwilling to actively communicate with their team. Poor communication results in rumors, frustration, fear, anger, and distrust. Your team will not stay under these conditions. Your team will not go the extra mile for you under these conditions. Your team will only do the bare minimum to remain employed. Instead, overcommunicate. Show your team that you trust them. That you are willing to treat them as a team member instead of an employee. And watch your team strive to achieve your vision.
Everyone has moments of indecision. We all experience the paralysis that comes with tough decisions. More often than not, our paralysis comes from fear. We are afraid of making the wrong decision. We are afraid to face the consequences of our decision. We are afraid of the criticism we will face as a result of our decision. To be decisive, you must address your fears. Remember, nothing good comes from not making a decision. Sitting back and passively allowing others to decide your fate will never get you where you dream of going. If you are going to be successful, you must be willing to be decisive. You must act to succeed. You cannot become paralyzed by your fears. You have already decided to pursue your dreams. Now, accept today’s challenges. Do not put off action. Decide today to continue to pursue your dreams and built the life you want.
I am not sure what the next great technological advance will be. Nor am I sure of how long into the future that this advance will occur. But I am certain when it does happen, new companies will rise, rushing to be the first ones to get to market. And they will fall. Because ultimately, these companies are built with the wrong people. And that includes the founders. Because these founders are not trying to build something great. They are just trying to build their personal fortunes. When you have the right people working for your company, you can count on them to carefully consider new technology instead of jumping on bandwagons. You can be sure that any technology adopted will fit within the company’s long-term strategy. The great companies, let by the right people, will adapt. And they will continue to be great.
The things that make a start-up so awesome in the beginning are the very things that cause so much trouble once the company achieves some level of success. A small, dedicated team of individuals becomes a large, unwieldy troupe of employees. Hierarchies are established, managers and executives are brought in from the outside, processes are standardized. And that core group of dedicated individuals looks around at what the company has become and realize that work is not fun anymore. So they leave, taking with them their innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that helped the company become what it is. Bureaucracy kills innovation. Instead of creating a bureaucratic system to manage a few wrong people, focus on getting and keeping the right people for your organization. The right people are competent and disciplined. They do not need, or want, a bureaucratic system to work in.
Knowing your purpose keeps you energized. It motivates you to develop your vision, to push through adversity, and to work through failures. Living a successful life without knowing your purpose is impossible. Your purpose keeps you grounded. It keeps you centered. It keeps you facing the right direction on your life’s journey. And it should be shared. Because you will never truly lead and you will never truly affect those around you without sharing your life’s purpose with them. It is all about leading with heart. Finally, remember that you cannot find your purpose by looking at the world around you. Your purpose is found within. And no, your purpose should not be to make lots of money. You will have to dig down deeper than that.
You have goals. A vision for your future. You are trying to get there, but you have made mistakes along the way. That’s okay. Mistakes happen. Keep moving forward. The only way your mistakes hold you back is when you allow them to make you stop. No matter how much time you spend planning, no matter how much effort you spend in executing your plan, you will not execute your plan for success perfectly. When failures happen, reevaluate your plan and try again. Only by repeated trying will you ever accomplish your goals and achieve your vision for your life.
Each of us were born with certain abilities. Either we choose to develop and improve our abilities, or we choose to ignore them. By choosing to develop ourselves and our natural abilities, we begin a process of personal growth. This growth is necessary for each of us to try to reach our full potential. Only by making the choice today to improve ourselves can we ever hope to reach our personal goals tomorrow.
How many things are you waiting for the motivation to start doing? If you are like a lot of people, the answer is probably a lot. If you have not figured it out already, the motivation is not coming. So, stop waiting for motivation to hit you over the head. Stop waiting for someone else to motivate you. Stop waiting and start doing. The doing will create the motivation. And the more you do, the more motivated you will be to keep doing. So, what is stopping you? Get moving. Whatever it is that you have decided to do, do it. Today.