“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
Are you reluctant to make tough business decisions because you don’t know what the future holds?
Are you asking yourself too many “what if” questions when opportunity presents, that you are driving opportunity away?
This is a common trend among too many small business owners. Every business owner wants to see their business grow but only few realize their full potential because they are too uncomfortable with change and the uncertainty it brings. I have seen so many businesses sabotage their growth potential because they are reluctant to hire people they don’t know or invest their cash flow back into a new marketing strategy; just in case it doesn’t work!
Change is a necessity in an economy driven by rapid technological change
If you as a business person are not looking for ways to change, improve and grow, guess what will happen? Your competitors will take more and more of that valuable market share! Like Ray Kroc said, “in business you’re either green and growing, or you’re ripe and rotting”.
How can you as a business owner learn to embrace uncertainty?
1. Understand where the feeling of fear comes from
2. Change your habits
3. Develop support resources
Overcoming Fear of the Unknown Future
Fear of the unknown future usually arises due to a fear of losing something we currently have or value. It is a natural reaction that the ego uses to protect us from perceived danger. This natural defense mechanism was extremely helpful in primitive times where we had to survive in the wild against beasts and wild animals. However, in the modern era most of the wild animals that threaten our future survival are the fictitious threats in our head. The fear we work up within ourselves through doubt filled self talk.
You might fear losing control of your business by hiring someone you don’t know. You might fear losing cash flow if the new product doesn’t work etc…
If you’re stuck in this scenario, I recommend that you ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is the worst that can happen?
2. Can I live with that?
3. What is a possible great outcome?
4. How would that make me feel?
Change your habits
Habits are patterns of behavior that we have taken time and effort to build which keep our worlds stable but at the same time create barriers to change. In order to embrace uncertainty and make decisions to change aspects of your business you must first identify the habits that will stop you from making this change.
1. Are there things I routinely do that I need to change to accommodate this business change (this could be as simple as no longer going to work in casual clothes)?
2. How have these habits been helping me or stabilizing my life?
3. What can I replace these habits with that will help me reach my goals
THEN WORK VERY HARD!
Develop sufficient Support Resources
As a business owner the more resources you have at your disposal the more in control you feel, the easier it is to overcome the fear and change your habits.
The more resourceful you feel before starting a task the more likely it will succeed.
To help you identify resources ask yourself:
1. Who are the people around me who will support?
2. How can they support me?
3. Do I have a mentor or coach that can help?
4. What processes are in place that would help? (e.g. insurance, procedures etc…)?
5. What are the skills that I have that will make this a success?
6. What are the skills others on the team bring that will make this a success?
7. What research do I have or can I do? Do I have a written plan?