Fear took over, and it was the fear that she would fail
Debbie Millman told me her biggest regret was not “going for it” after she graduated college. She took the “safe” option, got a job and built a career. And a great career she built, becoming the president of Sterling Brands, and working with over 200 of the world’s largest businesses.
Yet, she chose this route not because she wasn’t good enough to make it on her own, but because she was scared to.
Fear itself isn’t a problem. You’re allowed to worry and stress. This doesn’t make you weak, and it does not define you. But, if you wish to get to where you desire, you must fight your fear.
It took Debbie Millman years to figure this out, but once she embraced her creativity, with shows like Design Matters and books like Look Both Ways, she began to overcome her fear of failure.
Millman also told me about a chat she once had with her good friend, Dani Shapiro, who said, “We think we need confidence to do something and take action, but confidence isn’t what we need. What’s more important than confidence is courage and competence.”
Like anything, learning how to overcome your fear of failure is a skill. It takes practice. You need to learn how to embrace it, because once you do you can build real success on the back of it.
As Shapiro says, you don’t need confidence, only a little courage and competence.
Here are a few inspiring TED Talks to help you find some.
‘Smash Fear, Learn Anything’ by Tim Ferriss
To say Tim Ferriss is a high achiever is an understatement, but this doesn’t mean he’s immune from fear and failure. As a young child, he feared water. He avoided swimming for many years. In this inspiring TED Talk, he shares how he overcame this fear, and how this experience helped him re-examine the role it plays in learning (and life).
It set him on an incredible journey, and the realisation that “fear is your friend. Fear is an indicator. Sometimes it shows you what you shouldn’t do. More often than not it shows you exactly what you should do.”
‘Rethinking Failure’ by Barbara Corcoran
Despite a great deal of success, Barbara Corcoran is no stranger to failure. In this TEDx Talk she did for Barnard College, Corcoran dives into the role failure has played in her success, and how she’s learned to embrace it by pushing her fears to one side.
Your fear, for the most part, is something you have made up in your own head. You too can re-imagine and redefine what it means to you. And like Corcoran, you may find your “best successes come on the heels of failure.”
‘Turning Fear Into Fuel’ by Jonathan Fields
A common fear many people share is public speaking. But, like Jonathan Fields finds, this fear often vanishes once you begin and get into your groove. Today, Fields is a bestselling author who works with creative people to build more meaningful and connected lives. But, in his TEDx Talk for Carnegie Mellon University, Fields dives into how he suffered with fear for years, before he turned this into the fuel to produce his best ever work.
A former source of anxiety and paralysis can soon fuel action and achievement. However you feel right now, the only way to make it disappear is to do something. For as Fields asks, “If you are a little unhappy now, do you think doing nothing for 10 or 20 years will keep you a little unhappy?” Like most things in life, your fear only gets worse until you do something about it.
‘The Power of Not Always Fitting In’ by Marianne Cantwell
One of the most common fears I’ve found in entrepreneurs is “imposter syndrome.” On the outside you look cool, calm and in control. On the inside, you’re riddled with self doubt and insecurity. I can relate to this, and when Marianne Cantwell broke down this subject for her TEDx Talk at Norwich Education, I hung on her every word.
After eight years of building a community of lifestyle entrepreneurs, Cantwell recently scrapped a successful online program despite ongoing demand – because it no longer aligned with her version of success
As you can imagine, this created a lot of inner turmoil, but it’s this turmoil that often unearths a hidden strength. This fear that you’re not good enough (or doing the wrong thing) can often spark your biggest success yet. Like Cantwell, you may find life isn’t black or white.
‘What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection’ by Jia Jiang
As Jia Jiang describes an embarrassing moment from his youth in this TED Talk – watched over three million times – it’s easy to understand why he developed a fear of rejection later in life. He had dreams and aspirations, but for a long time placed these to one side, choosing the easier option, instead.
But, it’s this that led to his adventure into “rejection,” and a community that today helps people overcome their own fears of rejection so they can fulfil their own dreams. Such fear is something that affects us all, but as Liang says, “When you get rejected in life, when you are facing the next obstacle or next failure, consider the possibilities. Don’t run. If you just embrace them, they might become your gifts as well.”
‘Why You Have To Fail To Have A Good Career’ by Michael Litt
Michael Litt believes that “failure provides the ultimate experience needed for success.” Most people dream about overnight success, and maybe they admire someone who started their business or career with a bang.
The truth is, most successful people sneak into success, growing slowly over time, as they make one mistake after another. Or, as Litt says, “You will fail to have a great career, unless you fail to have a great career.” Today, Litt is living proof of this, founding and growing Vidyard into a company that’s changing how brands connect in the digital age – but only after a lot of trial and error.
‘Embrace The Near Win’ by Sarah Lewis
As a renowned art curator who has worked with some of the world’s biggest artists and galleries, Sarah Lewis has had the privilege to learn how creative people work and how they form successful careers. In her TED Talk, Lewis shared one of these invaluable lessons, and how she’s learned to appreciate the “near win.”
She talks about how success is a moment, but how successful people always strive for more. Pursuit is in the mastery, and making one progress after another. Each “near win” pushes you further, meaning your fear of failure isn’t only pointless, but has a direct impact on the progress you make today.
‘Success Is a Continuous Journey’ by Richard St. John
As well as fearing failure, many people fear success. In this inspiring TED Talk, Richard St. John, the bestselling author of The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common dives into why so many people reach success, only to then fail.
He says, “We think success is a one-way street. So, we do everything that leads up to success, but then we get there. We figure we’ve made it, we sit back in our comfort zone and we actually stop doing everything that made us successful.”
Success is a continuous journey, and failure, fear and mistakes play a role in this. It isn’t a straight line. Your journey is unique to you. It never ends, so why would you let your fear of failure hold you back?
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
20 Quotes On Coping With Change From Successful Entrepreneurs And Leaders
Change is up to you.
Change is a hard concept to grasp – and can be even harder to cope with it. Whether you’re switching careers, leaving a company or ending a relationship, change comes in all sizes – big and small. And while some change can be exciting, other times it can be difficult.
Having your own approach to change, whether it’s in how you view it or how you handle it, is important in moving forward and being successful.
To learn how others do it, here are 20 quotes about change from today’s most successful leaders and entrepreneurs.
1. Elon Musk
“Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.” – Elon Musk
2. Oprah Winfrey
“You don’t have to hold yourself hostage to who you used to be.” – Oprah Winfrey
3. Barack Obama
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” – Barack Obama
4. Larry Page
“If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.” – Larry Page
5. Steve Jobs
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs
6. Andy Warhol
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol
7. Steve Case
“Revolutions happen in evolutionary ways.” – Steve Case
8. Coco Chanel
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” – Coco Chanel
9. Warren Buffett
“The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.” – Warren Buffett
10. Steven Spielberg
“All of us, every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives.” – Steven Spielberg
11. Mark Zuckerberg
“Entrepreneurship is about creating change, not just companies.” – Mark Zuckerberg
12. Richard Branson
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and by falling over.” – Richard Branson
13. Joan Rivers
“Life is very tough. If you don’t laugh, it’s tough.” – Joan Rivers
Related: 3 Reasons You Should Embrace Change
14. Lady Gaga
“In order to build strength, you have to usually come from a lot of weakness.” – Lady Gaga
15. Thomas Jefferson
“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” – Thomas Jefferson
16. Thomas Edison
“Good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.” – Thomas Edison
17. Sheryl Sandberg
“I learned that, in the face of a void or in the face of any challenge, you can choose joy and meaning.” – Sheryl Sandberg
18. Tony Robbins
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” – Tony Robbins
19. Martha Stewart
“The more you adapt, the more interesting you are.” – Martha Stewart
20. Albert Einstein
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
You’re Probably Biased At Work. Here’s How To Stop It
New research looked at hard data to find solutions.
Everyone suffers from bias, despite their best intentions. And that bias can manifest itself in ways we don’t always intend – including how opportunities are and aren’t doled out in the workplace.
Recently, a trio of researchers used sensors to see if they could distinguish any differences in day-to-day behavior between male and female employees. Their goal was to eliminate the type of bias that can occur in self-reported polls about behaviour.
To study this, the researchers looked at a company where women made up just under 40 percent of entry-level employees and 20 percent of employees at the second-highest level of seniority. For four months, 500 male and female employees at this company wore badges with sensors in them that recorded their movement, speech patterns and proximity to one another.
The researchers then monitored who the subjects communicated with and who led conversations. Though the data was anonymous, the research team collected information about a given person’s gender, role and how long they had worked for the company.
Although they approached the investigation with the hypotheses that perhaps the female employees had less access to mentors or did not advocate for themselves with management as much as their male counterparts, the researchers found that this was not the case.
“We found almost no perceptible differences in the behavior of men and women. Women had the same number of contacts as men, they spent as much time with senior leadership and they allocated their time similarly to men in the same role,” the researchers wrote in a summary of their findings in Harvard Business Review.
“We found that men and women had indistinguishable work patterns in the amount of time they spent online, in concentrated work, and in face-to-face conversation. And in performance evaluations men and women received statistically identical scores. This held true for women at each level of seniority. Yet women weren’t advancing and men were.”
They concluded that differences in men and women’s behaviour aren’t what leads to gender inequality in the workplace – entrenched bias is the culprit.
So what can you do in your own company to make sure that bias doesn’t impact your hiring and promoting decisions? The researchers recommend instituting training programmes to reduce bias among management and people in the position to bring on new team members. You also might want to consider making a policy that, for all new open jobs, you interview and recruit people from a variety of backgrounds.
Also, look at the responsibilities your employees have outside the office. Think about ways to make it easier for both women and men to have flexible schedules, especially given that women often have social pressures to take on more family and household obligations.
Finally, determine where the pipeline to managerial and executive positions begins to trend more towards men. Collect data on exactly when these shifts happen in order to identify their specific causes (e.g. higher-ranking positions and their responsibilities require more late nights), then come up with pointed solutions (e.g. flexible morning schedules to accommodate childcare).
From there, measure the effectiveness any solution you implement. (“Since we implemented this policy, have those who have taken advantage of it advanced?”) This way, mitigating inequality is a science, not a guessing game.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com
Better Thinking For A Better World
How to think more critically and strategically in a world filled with complexity and rapid change.
We take the act of thinking for granted. It is often seen as a skill one is born with and not one that should be cultivated over time.
As the world becomes more complex and more busy, strategic and critical thinking becomes more valuable. Strategic thinking points to the ability to decide how and when to deploy resources to achieve a certain end state.
Below are four areas of focus that will improve your strategic thinking:
1. Making Time For Reflection
Life is busy. Juggling work, friends and family, and the recurring notifications from your phone has become quite a feat. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to create space for reflection.
Time spent in solitude allows you to reflect and connect the dots. It temporarily takes you out of a world in which you must be reactive to survive and keep up.
My suggestion is to create a SOS (space of solitude) for at least 30 minutes every day. In this time, reflect on what has been working and what has not been working. Meditate on your goals for the future and plan for the actions that will help you get there.
2. Asking Better Questions
Many of us fall into the trap of sequential problem solving. This happens when leaders or organisations simply move from one challenge to the next and the only question they ask is “how do we overcome this challenge?”.
What about the questions like “how did we arrive here?” or “what assumptions are we making here?” or “what does better look like?”
I am not trying to give you a template of questions to ask. Merely prodding you to go beyond challenging the problem but to also challenge the thinking about the problem.
As we deepen our questions, we elevate our thinking.
Do not simply ask more questions. Ask better questions.
3. Seek More Input
Teams are great and often underutilized. How can you use your team’s knowledge, experience, and opinions in a more constructive way?
Well, how about allowing them sufficient time for reflection in solitude but also as a group. How about prompting them to look for the patterns in their environment? How about, as a leader, asking them questions that allow them to really stretch their cognitive abilities?
Even better, empower them to ask those questions themselves.
Related: Disruptive Thinking: A Winning Edge
4. Thinking rules
We often make the same mistakes over and over. Not because we have not learned the lesson but because the context changes. Or excitement gets the better of us.
During your reflection time (hopefully you have noticed the importance of this by now) you can reflect on your past decisions and figure out how you could have made better decision.
Once you have done this start jotting down a few personal rules that will help guide your decision making in the future. A personal guideline I established was that I will wait 24 hours before making any big purchase. Gadgets and golf gear often get the best of me. But simple rules like these help to guide my decision making and prevents me from making mistakes irrespective of context or emotional state.
What is next?
Starting today schedule a daily SOS. Yes, schedule it. Do not leave it to chance.
Think of it as training for your brain. A space where you get to think. Free of distraction and noise. You will be amazed at the clarity that comes from these sessions and how your productivity and effectiveness soars.
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