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Out On A Limb With No Panties On

All too often, when I embark on a new project, I feel much as the title states.  Precariously perched on a shaky foundation,  while exposing myself to any who choose to look.

But, that's the attitude it takes... especially when trying something new. 

RISK - "exposure to the chance of injury or loss"

What will you lose if you give your idea a shot and it doesn't do well?..  To go even further, what will you lose if your idea is a complete failure?  How much injury must you endure if you let it all hang out and the market whacks it off for you?  What's the cost? -- Is it worth it?

"I might be embarrassed if I fail."  "People may think me wacky."  "I'm afraid to let it all hang out."  "People tell me it won't work."  "Conventional wisdom is contrary to my plan."  "What if it goes well and I am unable to perform as planned."  "The risk is too high."

Any of this sound familiar? 

While I am a staunch planner, it has been very easy to plan myself out of a plan.. especially if I was having some of the above thoughts.  Fear of the unknown, fear of my inadequacy for the task, fear of failure, and yes; fear of success have often times broken my desire and diminished my hopes.   Being able to settle for less than you want is a nice characteristic to have.. unless you settle for less out of fear.

Fear can be as big a motivator as it is an inhibitor.  Learn to put your fears and misgivings to work for you with the following steps.

1.  Redirect your energy - Worrying about things and being unsure of your abilities and your ideas will drain you.   It will force you onto the roller coaster of "what ifs".  What if this happens or what if that happens, or what if nothing happens... You must see things from all sides in order to make an educated decision; so asking these questions in and of themselves is not a bad thing.  What makes them bad is when you dwell on the uncertainty of any answer that you can provide yourself.  Unless you are a seer of sorts then you, not unlike myself, can only imagine and make preparation for the future.   It is here that you must redirect your energy.. Indeed, ask all the thought provoking questions, write them down, and then direct your thoughts and energies to answering the scenarios with honest, realistic answers.

2.  Build confidence in your abilities - The biggest fear that will hold you, or any of us, back is a fear of failure.   The best and most productive way to ensure that failure will be thwarted is to build your knowledge.  When you make a plan and can back it up with the knowledge to carry it out, then most of the battle is won.    

3.  Develop a win/win attitude - I always try to approach any task with three things in mind.  

  • If I follow my plan, I will succeed.

Taking the steps to develop a plan, that I am comfortable with, provides a stable foundation to build from -- which automatically places any endeavor on a successful track.  BUT, any foundation, no matter how well laid is useless unless you build a structure on it.  Thus - following my plan will construct the desired outcome.

  • My plan is rigidly flexible.

Being NO soothsayer, my plan never includes all the uncontrollable events that try to sidetrack me.  While I build in as many alternative ideas as possible, there is no way to think of everything that the future could hold.  Therefore, I try to remember that some parts of the plan may not work, nor be appropriate once the benefit of time and experience are factored into the equation.   So -- I try to initially build a knowledge and comfort level with deviation from the plan.. This way, when it occurs my hopes won't fall.

  • My success is not determined by the outcome.

Hmmm.. I guess everyone measures success in different ways.  This is where the WIN/WIN comes into play.  If I can take an idea -- make a plan, put in the effort to follow the plan, devote my time and money, as well as, my emotional well being -- Then I consider THAT a success.  The desired outcome is indeed important, but it is not the only; nor even the most important factor in determining an endeavor a success.  I look back at some of the things I have done - and I must smile, and cringe..  There have been high and many low points.. but in every case, I learned things that I was able to use on the next crazy idea to pop into my head.  This is a win/win situation.. Not everything you do will be what you wanted it to be.. but everything can teach you something new.

4.  Thicken your skin - If your idea is new, (which is always the best) then the opposition will show up at every turn.  Many people will graciously share with you their thoughts on why things won't work.  "Phooey on em", I say.  Most of the time these folks will be the first ones to refuse to climb the tree... they will probably never perch on that proverbial limb.  Let the nay sayers nnaaaaay!  But keep your ears and eyes open, they may have points that are worth considering.  Incorporate what you want and let the rest bounce off your tough skin.

5.  Learn from the success stories while being true unto yourself - No matter how much I would like to be as successful as some of the many online businesses, I will never BE them.  If there is one thing that I have learned over the years, it is that achieving someone else's desire is never going to fulfill mine. So, I try to learn from other's successes, and then fit what I learn where I am able -- and toss the rest.  That way there is no keeping up, nor struggling to stay in line... but rather a comfortable medium of what I want, built around what I know.


The tree may be tall, but if it's your tree then it will be worth the climb.  The weather may be windy -- but what the heck..  If you've counted the cost, weighed and checked, planned and made addendums.. Then go for it !!  Strip off those inhibitions and get to climbing.  Your desire and willingness to risk will get you ever higher, until you reach the top - OR -   learn a better route for the next climb.

Rusty is the owner of Nighthawks, an off-line business in the construction industry.  He also authors http:------------- which offers free advertising and other resources for online entrepreneurs.




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