The moment irony makes a triumphant return
After spending my career writing about fearlessness and celebrating the mantra “just start,” I find myself filled with the fear of just starting.
On the other side of fear, I used to write, is success. I still believe that. But I am failing my own words and my own advice because I’m stalled — not stalled as much as in a controlled crash. I’ll do anything to avoid starting. Laundry. Dog walking. Fake working. Driving 20 miles to buy some sort of cheese. Literally — anything but starting.
I find myself completely annoying and insufferable. But here I am. I’ve purchased 10 million urls, 22 billion trademarks, business books, accounting software, designers and even a logo.
But I’m still doing laundry and not launching a business. And it’s ironic as hell.
I used to be the EIC of Entrepreneur magazine. I used to preach this shit: “No fear. Just start.” (To be clear, I now recuse that title because what the hell good is “former” in your title? Not that helpful, really. Cute, but not present.)
My challenge is this: I was raised to be fearless: I ride motorcycles. And horses. I do scary things that require helmets. And nothing really scares me about dying. I like adrenaline. Going fast. And Sean Spicer pressers.
This is different.
There’s something so raw and so real about starting a business. You have to let yourself become completely vulnerable. You have to ask for things and money and advice. And to me, that’s scarier and more hair raising than scraping a peg on a Ducati.
It’s a different kind of fear because you’re putting your shit out there — without a helmet.
I don’t profess to understand the psychology of the fear of “just starting.” But I know it’s real. I spoke to my mentor today (Again, something I swore I would never do, but now highly recommend) and he made the simple remark “Fear. You have fear. And it’s paralyzing you.”
What? Me? Fear? No way.
But he was right.
I’m stalling because I’m afraid of failing, which is not something I’ve ever said.
I guess my point here is part mea culpa and part advice: It’s not so much about “no fear,” it’s about motivation and knowing what you stand for. And doing it because you truly believe in what you stand for — and standing for it, fighting for it and advocating for it.