This topic came from a conversation with my mentor, Carolyn. The conversation began when I told my mentor that I intend to eventually be self-employed. She coaxed me to think and asked a great question: “If you had a guarantee that you would not fail what would you do?” This is a profound question. The corollary is this: What are you scared of?
We all have various fears and insecurities; some are logical, and others are merely in the psyche. We all have experienced the irrational fears—for example, for no good reason, we are afraid of the dark or of shadows. There are logical fears, too, of choices we make and consequences. Is this the right relationship? Is this the right career move? Is this the right investment?
So, the first step is knowing what you are scared of, but the next—and bigger—step is figuring out how you are going to address it and being aware of the behavior that fear is driving. Are you going to live in fear and just accept the consequences? Accept the status quo? Are you going to build some sort of safety net? Are you going to move forward and live courageously on the edge and take the risk of failing?
These choices exist, and all choices are ours. Whatever decision we make, we need to ensure that regret does not take the place of dreams. Being scared is OK, but letting fear overrule you is sad.
The risk and reward theory does seem to be applicable at all places. All successful people have failed. I remember I once asked my ex-boss in India when he earned his first million dollars, and he replied, “I lost a million dollars before I earned them.” He used to manage a company that went bankrupt. He then started a new business manufacturing toothbrushes and made his millions.
It’s very easy to be fearful and to stay in our comfort zone. The adventure begins when you face your fears.