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You only think you’re stressed out about your business or start up.
Yesterday I drove my 29-foot motorhome into the most congested city in the world (okay, maybe just America). The roads were small, and every exit threatened “NO large commercial vehicles” because you aren’t allowed to drive through tunnels with propane, who would have thought? My palms were sweating because I was terrified of what this two hour stretch of interstate between Connecticut and New York City would hold. Oh, and it was raining.
In my head I was scared of failing. I was worried about turning onto the wrong road and facing an 8 foot low clearance sign. Or worse, what if I wrecked our home and my wife and I were injured? These were issues that I had to cope with, and the fear I felt was daunting enough to cause me to take my first wrong turn of the day…75 miles before even reaching the city.
Cars began honking at me and waving their arms frantically like I was a kayak cruising along merrily, right before plunging over Niagara Falls. I hadn’t even reached New York City yet and already I was headed for a low bridge. Thankfully, a nice man waved us to the side of the road and came up to talk to me.
“You can’t go this way man! There’s a low clearance ahead. You won’t make it.”
“I know,” I said. “I missed our exit.”
“Follow me, I’ll help you get to where you need to be.”
I followed a stranger through winding side roads and before long I was back on my interstate. I didn’t want to look at my wife because I knew she was upset at me for not paying attention. Here it was, two hours before even reaching the city and my worst fear of the day had already happened. I had accidentally taken a road that would have demolished my entire home. Yet, at the same time we were okay. We had made it out alive and more importantly, in one piece.
After correcting course, I thought about how irrational my fear had been. I had been stressing out all morning about how we were going to make it into the city. I had been so stressed, I even upset my wife by nagging her all morning to double check where all the tunnels were. Even amidst my morning yoga session I was worried frantically about the upcoming day’s drive.
As I drove along in the rain, I remembered a quote from one of my favorite books The Alchemist.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
What I realized was that my fear of going down the wrong road was obviously ten times worse than what actually happened when I did in fact go down the wrong road. With a little help, I was able to quickly correct course and navigate my way back onto the highway. My fear had been telling me that it would be a irrevocable disaster and our trip would be ruined.
Fear is a liar.
As I’ve had a night and morning to process what happened, I now can see this same fear of failure is what has held me back before in my business and entrepreneurial life. There’s been so many projects or businesses I’ve wanted to start, but had been paralyzed by the fear of failure.
Failure isn’t that bad. It happens to anyone willing to stand up and go for something. The more important part is you must have the courage to act anyway and possess the confidence in your skills to correct course whenever failure happens. The worst that will happen to you isn’t that bad, I promise. In fact, the worst that can happen is sometimes the best thing that can happen to you in the long run.
If you’re brave enough to act–even amidst your fear of failure–then you’re worthy enough to achieve anything you’re working toward, things like a New York City sunrises over the harbor.