Taking Risks – How to Overcome Fear (Part 3)

I see myself as having a fairly high-risk tolerance. I like trying new things and trying out creative solutions within my business. What I don’t like is having a project for a client and then not being able to deliver a solution for them. I hate failure. What happens for me is that this fear of failure causes me to not take risks on new ideas or solutions

Being willing to take these risks is what enables trying new things. And trying new things leads to learning. You’d think then that since all of us want to learn, we would take risks. But we don’t because taking risk requires us to overcome fear.

When I started this company in 2006, I had a bit of experience building websites. But taking on client’s web projects put fear in me about my ability to deliver. There was this “oh no, what if I can’t do this” thought in my head. Further, I was in a spot where I had two little mouths to feed, if I couldn’t deliver there were consequences beyond my personal failure. I was able to muster enough confidence to overcome this fear and I stepped out to build a site, then the next one and the next one. At some point we moved from building crappy websites, to ok websites, to not bad websites, to kind of good websites, to great websites.

Goal setting didn’t help much in this process for me because goal settings didn’t help me overcome my fears. And it was my fear that hindered my progress. Honestly, the desperation of having to pay the bills for my family pushed me beyond my fear of personal failure. While I wasn’t consciously understanding this, what was happening to me is that my desire to take care of my family increased my capacity to pay a cost. I was willing to pay the cost of embarrassment. I was willing to pay the cost of putting in long hours. These “costs” where a smaller price to pay than not providing for my family.

To overcome fear, I’m wondering if it is less about setting goals and more about setting costs? Maybe instead of goal-setting workshops, we should be doing cost-setting workshops?

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