“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
I think Mr. Carnegie was on to something.
Indeed, fear is the biggest reason that organizations (and individuals) never reach their full potential. Of course, it’s easy to come up with other reasons and excuses. After all, who would ever want to admit to being afraid? So we say things like, “it’s not the right time,” “we have too much going on,” and “maybe next time.”
But at the root of all of those is fear: fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of daring to do something new, fear of failure, fear of reprisal, fear of action, fear of making a decision, fear of the unknown…..you get the point. But the very worst fear is that of something that doesn’t even exist or whose perception is far worse than the reality – kind of like the character of Boo Radley in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. There were a lot of perceptions about Boo but, in the end, it turned out that he wasn’t such a bad guy. Those perceptions and assumptions weren’t correct.
Here are a few tips:
Stop inventing catastrophes. Why spend so much time thinking about what could potentially go wrong instead of focusing on the opportunities that exist if you decide to pull the trigger and move forward? It’s important to analyze the pros and cons, sure. But let’s stop making stiff up in order to avoid making the decision.
You’re going to make mistakes. Accept that and move on anyway. Sometimes, things don’t work out as planned, despite the best preparation, due diligence, and research. That’s OK. It’s not the end of the world. Own the mistake, get up, dust off, resolve to do better, and go.
“Never assume. Know why? Because it makes an ass out of u and me.” An oldie but it is quite relevant in the context of this discussion. Just like the assumptions made about our friend Boo, when we simply assume there is an issue without making every effort to substantiate our assumptions, we lose focus and make excuses. It’s lazy. It’s unprofessional. It’s debilitating. It can cripple your progress. So, let’s stop assuming and deal with actual facts and data, shall we?
What other advice would you give to others to help them avoid the Boo Radley syndrome? Leave your comments below.
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