Next week, I will finally open the doors to the 5Cs Community and invite the first 100 founding members!!!!! Yes, I am excited. Strangely enough, I have no terror or fear. Not of losing the sizeable investment in funds and time I have put into it. Nor am I fussing about whether this is the right thing, the best thing, or even a stupid thing. It will do just fine. Whether it succeeds dramatically or bombs completely.
I know I’ve shared bits and pieces with you along the way. As far as start-ups go, this one, for the most part, has been peaceful and not at all scary for one reason only. I’ve had so many failed attempts over my career and business that I’ve finally taken to heart the lessons I needed to learn.
There is a cold, clammy, all-encompassing fear every business person and entrepreneur feels at some point. The fear that they made a mistake. The fear that they will never get ahead and make progress toward their big dream. That they will yet again lose more money on an idea. That they will not be able to make payroll. That their company may go down the tubes.
It is a horrible feeling of dread. And it can occur when you lose your job. Or you receive an ominous medical diagnosis. Or when someone close to you has a serious accident. Or even when your spouse leaves you. Or when you discover your child has a serious addiction problem and is involved in criminal activity. Or a whole host of other reasons.
The anxiety is so intense that it can envelop your entire being and take over your entire life. Yes, you know it is all mental chatter. But it is so damn strong. And it is scary. And it won’t go away. And you have a physical reaction to it. Your palms are sweaty. Your heartbeat accelerates. Your blood pressure rises.
All of us have been at this point of terror at least once in our lives, haven’t we?
Here is what took me so long to learn
Whether you find yourself in the middle or even at the beginning of the circumstances that generate all these emotions and feelings —
- Be ruthless and take action right away. First, sit in a comfortable chair and observe your breath. Take full breaths, with each filling your lungs. Breathe really slowly. Really, really slowly. Three breaths a minute or fewer. Do this for five minutes.
- Be ferocious in curbing your mind. Your fear is exacerbated by the stories you are telling yourself about what will happen to you. Recognize this and pull yourself back from the dark places you want to or have visited. This is not easy, but it can be done.
- Relentlessly, invest in the process, NOT the outcome. Yes, it is a friendly universe, and yes, it does have your back, even though it may be difficult to believe right now. Your entire focus needs to be on what you can do to improve the situation.
- Hand your problem over to a higher power. If faith is important in your life, give it to Krishna, Jesus, Allah, the Buddha or whomever you revere. If you are atheistic or agnostic, give it over to the universe. As you do so, ask that the situation be resolved in a manner that is best for all parties involved.
- Surrender. The outcome will be what it is. Indeed, even as you try ALWAYS to shape the outcome, you will NEVER ever control it. Could you make peace with THAT? The only way to do this is to consciously envision a worst-case scenario and then decide what you will do if that worst-case scenario comes to pass.
Also, intense physical activity helps. Even for those of us who detest sweating.
You will very, very likely have to repeat these steps. In several cases, many times a day. Do not be afraid to do so as many times as necessary.
Only then will you realize the profound truth of “This, Too, Shall Pass.”
Terror and fear be damned. You are so much stronger than you realize. Yes, you’ve got this!