If you know me very well, you might be very surprised that at one time I had an almost paralyzing fear of flying. Anytime I had to board an airplane I would get cold sweats. If there was turbulence or unidentified noises during the flight, the sweats returned and my heart rate increased. To say the least, flying was a gut wrenching experience for me and this did not get better with time.
Fortunately, I overcame my fear of flying fairly recently. I did this through coaches who systematically and rigorously explained to me the reliability, structure, and system redundancy of modern aircraft. They pointed out to me the incredible structural integrity of commercial airliners that meant those fragile looking wings were not going to break because of turbulence; and that even if all the engines quit, a plane will descend but will not stop flying. It won’t just free fall from the skies. Having these realities driven home so expertly gradually removed my concerns about flying and replaced them with facts I could relate to.
Because of this experience I realized that business, too, is just one of many situations in life where fear can be crippling. If you are afraid to act, afraid to test the waters, afraid to fail, afraid of loss, you can become so paralyzed by those fears that you will miss opportunities. You will let key moments pass you by because you could not get the airplane off the ground.
Let’s face it; there are risks in business as in flying. This is simply a fact of life. However, by understanding the realities of risk and having a strong plan to mitigate those realities you can find your way out of the fear that may be holding you back.
I’ve talked before about how essential a sound business plan is. But, until now, I failed to see this additional benefit. Because a sound plan delineates a well thought out strategy for moving forward, because it addresses possible pitfalls and blocks and challenges, it is also your security blanket. It is why you can move forward without fear.
Does this mean no planes ever crash and no plans ever fail? No. But it means with planning and knowledge we can recognize that the risks are not as great as our fears may have lead us to believe. It means we can move forward without the cold sweats and palpitating heart because we have a stronger grasp on reality fortified by a solid road map, our business plan.
Just because life has its risks does not mean we have to live our lives cowering in the corner. We can meet the risks head on with planning, know how, and the wisdom, advice, and support of those who have already met the challenges. And that is very nice to know. That puts you in the driver’s seat and fear in its place somewhere behind you.
All successful people have one or more mentors who help them avoid the pitfalls in life and in business. Do the same and fearlessly take that next step towards the success you are seeking. Believe me; it will make you stronger and happier. I know. I’ve been there.