Be Afraid (Then Make It Work For You) Part II

be afraid (then make it work for you)

Part II- It’s Alive!

Many entrepreneurs have an uneasy relationship with fear. No matter how mature we believe we are, that uneasy feeling is still the same emotion we felt at age three–the feeling that something is lurking under the bed. It is ready to grab us. We just know it. When we were small, we listened intently while our Dad explained over and over that there were no monsters under the bed. He explained to us in simple terms how our thinking was completely irrational. Those explanations were a poor monster repellent. We knew the monsters were still there. It was the day we grew impatient, got up, and verified for ourselves that there was nothing under the bed, that we left irrationality behind.

On the path to entrepreneurial greatness, fear is a given. Fear is normal and healthy, and should not be avoided. (See last weeks post!) We should not fear fear. What we should fear is staying under the covers.

Come on out. Let me tell you a story about the scariest kind of monster that hides under your bed:

Once upon a time there was a lady named Jane. Jane was weary of cubicle land. She had a boss from the black lagoon. It was all Jane could do to keep herself in her swivel chair from 9-5 each day. One day Jane had an idea. She would escape! She had long entertained the idea of starting her own business and decided to make a run for it! She gave her notice and decided–due to her sense of urgency–that she would create her business plan on the fly. The good news is that friends and family stepped up to supply her first sales. The bad news is that within a few months, those same friends wearied of the sense of obligation. Sales slumped. But good news! Jane took a sales course, and pulled out of the slump! She hired help. The bad news was she never wanted to work in HR, and found the whole employer thing difficult. But rehiring was even worse because she had to do double the work when the first help did not pan out. But the good news is her new assistant brought in new sales. Jane hired more people to fill the orders while she went out to get even more sales. But the bad news is Jane began to experience high levels of stress. She was becoming the very boss from the black lagoon that she had tried to escape. A little while later, a competitor moved into town with a hot new product and took more than half her sales. She rebounded by taking out some ads in the local paper. But she felt she had no choice: she began to take on sales that were outside her forte in order to make payroll. It was either that or lay off her best help. Unfortunately, people liked her work, and she started getting more of the work that she did not like to do. The sad ending to Jane’s story is that her new business was not her happily ever after after all. She had created and fed her own monster. And now, all she could think about was how to escape.


 Jane’s entrepreneurial path looked like Exhibit A:

jane's path

Now let me tell you another story.

John started business with a decided goal. He knew his mission in life. He knew his strengths. He knew what kinds of things tripped his curiosity, and he continually sought them out to learn more. John never sat still, and was always seeking the next opportunity. And he found it. Or rather, it found him. And John was ready for it. But when someone asked John to sell out and come to work for them instead, John said no. Even though he would make a lot more money, he knew that it was better to stay focused on his vision. His vision had greater potential.  John knew that if you do not follow your heart and your vision, you will never get the bigger picture.


Johns path to success looks more like Success in Exhibit B . 

path to success

Our job is not to collect dots. We are to connect the dots. Do you think creating a Vision Statement is only a rhetorical exercise? Exhibit A and B should clearly illustrate why it is not. The thing entrepreneurs should fear the most is not having a point, a purpose, or a trajectory to your work. The business with a purpose will eventually find the big picture, even if they take three steps forward and two back.

The scariest type of monster of all is to fall short of your true calling, your true purpose, and your true destiny. Get out from under the covers. The day that you are brave enough to look under the bed, your monsters will flee, and you will find your sweet spot.

And you will prove yourself very very brave indeed.


Why do we at etc!graphics inc, a graphic design company, care about your business strategies?  Because no matter how beautiful we make your visuals, your graphics will never make more sense than the clarity of your own vision. The clearer your target, the more lucid your marketing, and the better connection from your visual graphics. We want to help you become the best you can be. Join us all this month as we share ways to help your small business sustain and grow in a crowded marketplace. Etc!Graphics is devoted to helping you, the small business owner, think like a marketer.