Are you a rollercoaster person? Or would you put your hand in a box of spiders? I personally would do one but haven’t the courage to do the other – yet.
…Courage – noun – the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery. (Oxford dictionary)
Rollercoasters and Spider Boxes - As an entrepreneur, or indeed anyone who is doing something different which is out of their comfort zone, you need courage. From the very first moment you entertain the idea of starting a business or pursuing an idea, you need courage. Courage to think seriously about your idea, courage to put pen to paper, the courage to tell your family and friends, maybe courage to quit your job, and even courage to put something out there into the world, to be judged.
But it doesn’t stop there; every day as an entrepreneur you need the courage to do something. It might be reaching out to someone you’ve never spoken to before, doing a presentation, sharing your financial plan, approaching an investor, posting something on social media, submitting your taxes(!), the list goes on… All of which feels like you are putting your head above the parapet, drawing attention to yourself, making yourself a target, and potentially getting it wrong. Exposed. And, on occasion, you may know that you’re never likely to have the courage unless you get external help and support, for example with the help of a coach or a mentor, and that’s fine.
I know all of this because I’ve experienced it. Having started my own business from an idea in my head through to its design, development, and launch, I have had to, and still do, draw courage regularly to take the next step forward. Just one example for me is sending emails and pitches out to investors. It must be done. I do it in bursts, and also detach myself from the process.
So where does my courage come from?
I have acknowledged and accepted that courage isn’t a constant. It comes and goes. Influenced by my mood, level of risk and priority, and of course what else is going on in my world. By acknowledging this, I know when I simply need to focus on things that don’t leave me exposed, and other times I know when I should make the most of it. I know the things that require a bit of extra grit, extra courage, and I trust that it will come. And in those moments when I know I have the courage I go for it, I do those things, without a second thought.
Do not mistake this for procrastination, it’s not; procrastination is something that drives me crazy – just get on with it! It’s about knowing yourself, the self-awareness and self-trust to know that the courage will come, but sometimes only when it’s ready.
That’s not to say that there aren’t things you can do to prompt courage, because you can. It could be:
- some fresh air or exercise,
- a couple of power poses (thanks Amy Cuddy!),
- a podcast, putting some perspective on it (not as many people are paying attention as you might think), and,
- being pragmatic about the worst that might happen (your house isn’t going to fall down – most of the time!).
Also know, that in most cases getting it wrong is better than not trying at all, you will be able to do it better next time, and try not to have regrets, what’s done is done. All of these things can help you be more objective and help you take a step forward.
So, going back to rollercoasters and spiders…I love rollercoasters but still need a bit of courage for the first time on a new one, but it then gets easier and I love it. However, putting my hand in a box of spiders, this is not something I’m ever going to do under my own steam or courage, if this is something I absolutely need or want to do, I will definitely be looking for external support.
To finish, don’t feel like you have to have a constant supply of courage, and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t; despite what you might think (and people might say) no one else has a constant supply. Please understand that courage is like a muscle, the more you exercise it the bigger it is when you need it; but it comes and goes like waves on a shore. Keep exercising that courage muscle, and when those waves come in you have to surf them, get the most from them, and most importantly, enjoy them.
Written by Sonya Kimpton de Ville - grapvyn