Earlier this year, I did something super scary. I told a room of 50 strangers about my dream of starting a business. Up until this moment, the dream had been somewhat of a secret.
I had a business plan, I pitched the idea to my husband, and I told a few close friends. But, the thought of telling strangers was terrifying.What if they didn’t like my business idea? What if they laughed? What if they didn’t share my opinion or views? Aghhh! There were just so many things that could go wrong. And, guess what?
I pitched my idea at a business pitch competition AND everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
- I fumbled.
- My message was unclear.
- I made dumb faces.
- I forgot what I wanted to say.
- And, I even cried (during the pitch!).
It was a horrible experience. I cried whenever a nice person tried to tell me that “you did okay.” I cried when anyone tried to console me. I cried on the Metro ride home, and I cried when I told Morris about the whole debacle that night.
And, then I went to bed. But, I didn’t sleep. Because, I kept replaying the day’s events in my head.
Fear Holds Us Back
Fear holds us back from soooo many things: mending relationships, taking new jobs, moving, etc. Fear is powerful, because we focus on everything that could go wrong. We tend to forget about the things that could go right.
The good news is that: even when everything does go wrong…we survive.
The Good News
I think that’s why the Bible talks about fear so much, because the Lord understands that it only holds us back. And, even if bad things happen we survive. He’ll be with us.
Joshua 9:1 says: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Isaiah 41:10 says: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I Bounced Back
The crazy thing about the pitch competition is that the first time was only practice. So, I had to go back the next day and do the pitch again in front of twice as many people.
But, the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. So, I got up super early and began practicing with my webcam. It went well that time, and…I was selected as a winner!
The past six months in this business coaching program (sponsored by CapitolOne!) has been a blur, but amazing things have happened:
- I hosted three workshops (one at the Smithsonian, one at Kipp DC, and one at NPR)
- I was a guest on a radio show for WEBR Radio Fairfax
- I left my stable full-time job and moved Nashville
- And now I’m working on a novel and writing a weekly column
But most importantly, I feel like I’m living with a clear purpose and fighting for a cause that will last the rest of my life. The point is this: none of that would have happened had I let fear of failure paralyze me.
I share all of this, because I want you to conquer fear and live on purpose. As 2014 comes to a close, please take some time to think about what fears you will conquer in 2015.
Question: What Fear Will You Conquer in 2015?