When I had the idea for my business (Move The Crowd, an entrepreneurial training company focusing on change-agents and creative entrepreneurs), I was deeply inspired. And I wanted to share my idea with everyone.
But people were quick to criticize — very smart, successful people who meant well, but who did not get my vision.
They had lots of fears and doubts, and they were not shy about sharing them — doubts about the existence of my audience, doubts about whether that audience would pay for my services, and doubts about whether my audience even needed those services.
And there were doubts about me.
After all, I was an artist and an activist, so what the heck did I know about running a business? Who was I to teach entrepreneurship? To talk about capitalism? Did I even know what a financial model was?
The more opinions I got, the more I began to doubt myself. But no matter how many concerns I entertained, I had this burning feeling in my gut that just would not go away.
I remember early one morning in July when I woke up and said to myself, “Enough. Enough with everyone’s opinions, enough with looking for capital.”
I said to myself, “I’m going to do this business. Whatever I need to learn, I’ll learn. I can figure this out. If I fail, fine, but I’d rather attempt this and fail than live with the regret of never having tried at all.”
I knew in my gut that building this business was integral to my purpose. My call to courage came in being willing to let go of all the “smart people’s advice” and trust my own instincts.
In the hundreds of conversations we have with entrepreneurs at Move The Crowd, we listen to many similar fears and doubts:
- What If I’m not good enough?
- What if I get out there and no one responds?
- What if my husband/wife/boyfriend/best friend doesn’t support me?
- What if I give it everything I’ve got, but I still don’t make any money?
When we have the conversation about courage, we often want to end the story with a triumph and a huge Hollywood-style ending (I know — me, too).
I’m here to tell you that the big win isn’t guaranteed, even if you do everything you’re “supposed to do.” But there is always a higher wisdom operating. And though the win may not be guaranteed, growth is guaranteed — who you become and what you become capable of.
When you are willing to confront your fears head-on, your probability for success exponentially increases. Why? Because you grow, your capacity to engage expands, you become more, and more becomes available to you. These actions have the potential to move you closer to your vision.
Or not — and that’s where the bravery comes in. When we can let go of being right and certain, that’s when a commitment to something greater takes over. Courage is not contingent upon you getting your way; it’s stepping up when you have no idea how it’s going to turn out. Courage gives us the potential to access new wisdom, to cultivate resilience, to develop perseverance, and to become strong.
These are the things that make us unstoppable. So how do you find that courage? We’ve developed a seven-step practice.
1. Identify the fear: Get as specific as you can about what you believe will happen if you follow your purpose. Do your best to recreate your inner dialogue verbatim.
2. Describe the feeling: How does this inner dialogue feel? Notice the specific physical sensations (a tightened chest, sweaty palms, queasy stomach). If you can feel those sensations, do so, then keep breathing and observe. Keep watching and breathing until you feel the tension dissolve. It should take about 90 seconds for the emotion to move through your body.
3. Identify the fear’s purpose: Get specific. Where are you letting yourself off the hook? Where are you playing small? Where are you making someone else the “bad guy”? Where are you avoiding your full power and responsibility?
4. Examine the cost: What are you tolerating or settling for as a result of not going for it? What opportunities or relationships are you letting pass you by?
5. If you were not afraid, what would you be doing? Be as specific as you can about the actions you would be taking.
6. Rate yourself: On a scale of one to 10, how willing are you to take these actions in the face of your fear? On the same 10-point scale, how willing are you to consistently face this fear?
7. Recognize the opportunity: What is the opportunity available to you in being brave? What could be the reward for overcoming this particular fear?
Running this enterprise has been one of the most rewarding and challenging things I’ve ever done. Every day I face myriad opportunities and obstacles, and every day I get to practice courage.
Our society has conditioned us to believe that only a chosen few can lead, or make a difference, or become financially successful. And because of that narrative so many of us operate well below our capacity. We never fully activate nor realize our true talents.
Move The Crowd exists because we firmly believe that every human being has a valuable contribution to make. And for those who carry a vision for making a difference in the world, they deserve to be supported.
We also believe that each of us has the right to define our own success and achieve it on our own terms — If we are willing to put forth the effort to do so.
Rha Goddess is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.