Got “Chutzpah?”

Were you born with chutzpah?


That’s OK, too.

The important thing is that you find a way to break through whatever mental barriers you wrestle and just DO. Commit. Execute. Get out of the gate.

Don’t let your fear of failure stop you.

As I told you about last week, sometimes we sabotage ourselves and our careers in a number of different ways because we’re scared. We don’t ask for a promotion or seek out new opportunities and relationships, because we’re afraid of rejection. We don’t take bold, innovative action because we fear failure.

Even those of us who were born seemingly fearless have our moments. Sometimes I have to “fake” my fearlessness, as most of the time I like to say, “I’m terrified way beyond my pay grade.”

Or there are those like Carrie Wilkersen (“The Barefoot Executive”) — with a massive blog readership, published books to her name, her share of shout-outs from CNN, Forbes and the like. The Wilkersen’s out there look like they have no fear … but their legs are really just as wobbly as the rest of us before a big proposal where everything is on the line — or before we ask our boss for a raise.

Wilkersen, in a recent blog post, likens herself to being a chick who would stay in her shell if she didn’t reach out beyond her comfort zone.

Her words: “I decided that the egg was limiting. It was dark. And while it did serve a purpose for my growth at one point…the time comes to step out, embrace the light and stretch your muscles into a really great place.”

I can definitely relate to Wilkersen. I thrive off of the challenges, the uncertainties and peaks and valleys that come with being an entrepreneur. But don’t think for one minute I haven’t wanted to crawl back into the safety of my own personal “eggshell” at some time or other. In fact, I’d say there isn’t a month that goes by where I don’t let my mind noodle over the (perceived) comfort that comes with a W-2 — the “security” that comes with knowing there’s a guaranteed salary, a team of colleagues to camouflage my lazy days, and an existing culture and brand into which I can just be mindlessly absorbed. That “dependable” gig would be my egg.

Then I step back and consider the rush I get from pushing myself, and the thrill of wondering when the next engagement will come and what the project will require of me. Yes, that can be scary – but the rewards of overcoming that fear and giving it all as a self-made entrepreneur are well worth the moments where I’m shaking in my boots about my next proposal or big gig.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a salesman, a singer or a surgeon, these rewards increase as we work our way up into positions of advanced responsibility or influence. Naturally, there are also much higher risks as well. At the same time you can drive significant outcomes within an organization, you are also burdened with many eyes watching you – just waiting see if you fall and fail. Some, in fact, may want you to fail.

More than anything, we need to understand just where this fear of falling flat on our faces is coming from. Is it really rational at all?  Yes, we know that it hurts to fall short of a goal or not perform as we want. It can be embarrassing when this happens, particularly when you’re in a leadership position and everyone seems to be watching you. But, aside from that, just what are we really worried about here?

I came across a great statement recently about all those “eyes”watching our every move: “When I say that I have a fear of failure, I’m really saying that I fear what people will think of me if I fail.”

Isn’t that the truth? Just as you don’t want others to dictate WHAT you do, don’t let your fear of what others will think about you PREVENT you from doing at all. It’s best to go out and try to fly, as opposed to just staying in a shell and never really knowing what it would be like to spread your wings.





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