Getting Past Fear of Failure and Growing a Successful Business
by Stacy Karacostas
When you face obstacles in your business it can lead to frustration and fear, neither of which are helpful emotions when you're trying to grow a small business. Here are three things you can do to get past those rough patches so you can keep your business growing.
Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good. ~Malcolm Gladwell
I love outdoor “extreme” sports. I’ve whitewater kayaked and skied hard slopes and backcountry for more than 20 years now. A few years ago I returned to mountain biking after about a decade off.
Having done the other sports for so long it’s easy for me to get impatient with my biking learning curve. I want to be as good as my hubby and the rest of the guys—but I’m just not. I don’t have their years of biking experience or the skills and confidence that go with that.
While I’ve had some amazing days on my bike, I still regularly have bad days like the one last weekend…
I wasn’t very focused on biking since I was in the middle of a brand launch and had just had my folks in town for a week. Within 15 minutes my front tire hit a big, pyramid-shaped root I should have seen and stopped dead.
My body, on the other hand, kept flying forward until I somehow managed to stuff the end of my handlebar into my thigh creating a palm-sized, immediately Technicolor bruise. Then, not 10 minutes later, I stuck my handlebar end into almost the exact same spot again (OW!).
No matter what my rational mind says in those moments (it’s okay, you’re learning; practice makes perfect, you’ve got a lot on your mind, etc.), my emotional side can get really frustrated, fearful and freaked. But I’ve learned I can’t let a couple mistakes and bruises keep me from having fun and being “successful”—whether I’m biking or growing my business.
Believe me; I’ve “crashed” enough times trying to market and grow my businesses over the last 15+ years to cause more than a little emotional and pocketbook pain. Thankfully I’ve learned a few tricks for getting past those bad days, staying positive and creating ongoing success as an entrepreneur.
1) Practice really does make perfect. Sure, I’ve known how to ride a bike since I was a kid. But mountain biking requires a whole ‘nother skill set that’s taken a lot of time to learn. So when I fall I just remind myself that I’m practicing not failing. Same holds true for marketing and growing a business. I might have grown up working in and running businesses, but I had to learn a whole lot more when I started my own.
2) Some days are always gonna be better than others. I can have an amazing day biking where I land jumps easily and cruise over obstacles I’ve never even tried before. Then, the next day I can’t even ride an easy trail without crashing…And that’s okay.
Just like some days I’m uber-productive and write a bazillion articles, work with multiple clients and launching a new product. Others I can barely get one task completed. Rather than beat myself up for my bad days I celebrate the good ones.
3) A little coaching goes a long way. A few years into mountain biking again I was ready to quit. I ended every ride beaten and bruised from trying to keep up when I didn’t have the skills needed to succeed. I certainly wasn’t having much fun.
Finally, I bit the bullet and invested in a weekend mountain biking camp at Whistler Mountain. I came back a new rider and—bad days notwithstanding— I wreck a lot less because I have the skills to truly enjoy riding now.
I do the same in my business…I regularly take classes, invest in coaching programs, attend conferences, buy products, and hire experts to teach me what I don’t know. So I’m way more successful way faster, with fewer bumps and bruises along the way. And it’s a heckuva lot more fun to run and grow my business since I’m not struggling blindly to keep up without really knowing what I’m doing.
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Practical Marketing Expert Stacy Karacostas specializes in taking the stress, struggle and confusion out of growing your small business. She's the author of "Putting Your Business on the Road to Success", "The Small Business Website Bible" and more than 200 articles on marketing, copywriting, sales and success. For more information, visit Success-Stream.com.