Did you know one of people’s biggest fears is the fear to fail? But, why? Why are we so afraid to fail?
To me, failure is not moving forward with an idea or not trying something simply because it might not work out. Because what if it doesn’t work out? What does that say about me? Will my colleagues perceive me differently? Will they stop asking me questions or turning to me for solutions?
That’s a mental barrier we all need to overcome, because a lot of the time, our failures, or perceived failures, aren’t even an accurate depiction of what actually happened. Often it’s not other people we end up failing, rather we end up failing ourselves.
The first time I was afraid of failing myself at Gravity was when our Working Capital program fell into my lap. I was co-managing the project with one of my co-workers when he decided to leave the company. There was no seamless change of hands. It just fell onto my shoulders to make sure a program built to ensure the success of our independent business owners was, well….successful.
It was up to no one else but me what the outcome of the program would be. I could have shied away from the project, but I knew I wanted to take it on. Not only because it was an educational opportunity, but it was a way to take on more responsibility that could greatly benefit the company and the independent business owners we serve.
Since putting a bigger focus on the program, we’ve put $25 million back into our community businesses. However, Gravity wouldn’t have been able to see that amount of success had I not asked for help. If I had got in my own way, had I thought success looked like doing it on my own, then the Working Capital program wouldn’t be what it is today.
When I first took the program on, I thought I could totally handle it on my own.
I was wrong.
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I was pulling my hair out trying to accomplish everything on my own and swamping myself with work and not focusing to the best of my ability. When I finally realized I would be more productive if I had some assistance, things started to run more smoothly. I asked for people to take a few things off my plate so I could focus on much larger issues. When I focused on those larger issues, I had a renewed sense of passion for the project. But, I was only relying on myself to solve problems. I was so caught up in the program, that I wasn’t looking at things objectively. So, I asked for help again.
By talking through some of the unique issues of Working Capital, I was able to get an outsider’s perspective and brainstorm creative solutions. Had I been stubborn with my vision, none of the success would be possible. I was so caught up in the day-to-day of the program, my emotions got the best of me, and it was hard to make a rational or logical decision.
I think when we have too much pride, we set ourselves up for failure. Being a CEO doesn’t mean you have all the answers, rather, you’re able to find people or solutions that will help you achieve your end goal. It’s up to you to get your ducks in a row and trust that your team is going to help you on your way. Don’t go the road alone.