Fear. What holds businesses back more than bad investments, accounting mistakes, lack of capital, misused resources or horrible time management?
Fear is that little nagging voice that tells you you should postpone the launching of your product for one more month, because that’s when it’s going to be “ready” and “perfect”. Fear is what delays a shipment because you need to change the font in your letterhead for just one more time. Fear is what keeps investors stuck with useless products or half-executed ideas because they invested too much time and energy into something so now they just can’t let it go. Fear is doing the same thing over and over and over again, even though it stopped producing profitable results a long time ago just because “it has always been done that way”.
Don’t get me wrong – there IS a difference between producing something excellent and wanting it to be polished to the greatest detail and launching something sloppy and rushed. I’m not advocating for the later. But there IS such thing as noodling a project to death!
It happens everywhere, in every industry. We take something 85% done well and because of that 15% left, we start over-analyzing it, “improving” it and meddling with it until what we’re left with is a feeble shadow of what the concept we started with was in the first place. Now you’re further back than those 85%, you’re at 40%. And you panic. How could this become such a mess?
It’s easy to fall into this trap especially with digital products, like websites, which aren’t ever really “done”.
I know I’m always asking myself “how can I make my website better?”, “what feature can I add that would make it more helpful and interesting to my readers?”, “can I push this concept even further?”. Plus there’s always new content.
And that’s exactly the key to not get paralyzed by fear! Nothing is completely set in stone and there’s always room for improvement.
It’s only human to feel insecure or nervous before taking a big leap, or embarking in a new venture, or putting something out into the world that you’ve poured your heart into. There’s a lot of risk and a lot of factors that influence it. But, at the end of the day, regardless of how big the chance, you can always adjust course, you can always improve and you can always come up with fresh new ideas.
It’s not the end of the world.
Overthinking, doubt, indecisiveness, procrastination, obsessiveness over the smallest of details in detriment of the big picture, are all byproducts (or symptoms) of fear.
I noticed in myself that whenever I think of project or task in a too serious way, or there’s a huge pressure behind it, I feel contracted and my excitement diminishes drastically.
All of the sudden, writing “that” blog post becomes THE biggest deal, creating an artwork becomes like “painting the Sistine Chapel”, hitting send on that email feels like meeting the president… Whenever something stops feeling joyful, fun and exciting in my life, it starts dying and decaying a little bit. Because my heart’s not in it. It’s not a good feeling! Who honestly wants to live every day with that feeling?
The good news is: you don’t have to! Get rid of the fears that hold you back and be fueled by passion and excitement instead! Give yourself completely to the thing you’re doing. That’s what’s going to open more doors than doubt and worry ever will.
And when those doubts come slowly creeping in, swat them away by knowing that you can always change direction if you want to, but you can never gain back lost time.
Your turn now: what is your biggest fear in business?
Andreea or Kay (or Klangwelt by her artist name) is a Creative Director and Visual Designer creating outstanding and effective branding identities for luxury, lifestyle, fashion and culture brands. Passionate about all things art and design. Also a stylist and fashion blogger at Style Unsettled. Follow her!