If you have never felt or thought this before, in all your years (or months) of starting, building and running a business; wow.
If you have never sensed the ravenous toxin of ‘what if I fail / what if they aren’t happy / what if I can’t deliver’ creeping through your veins at some stage or another during your time of business – you’re a super freak.
I’ve battled a certain level of anxiety plenty of times in my life before, but thanks to our business, I have been humbly introduced to a whole new world of anxiety; Anxiety 2.0.
As I write this, I proudly acknowledging that mostly, to date, most of our clients have been comfortably secured by myself or Ben with confidence. We have mostly known that we could absolutely deliver what we promised, what they needed and secure terrific outcomes for them and their respective businesses. We have mostly felt that our skills and abilities greet our confidence and willingness to go the extra mile and have mostly sold ourselves and our services to the client with definite, infinite and absolute faith in what we say.
Mostly. There has been one client. Everyone has one client.
One client who consumes you with an overwhelming cocktail of anxiety and fear that you may not meet their expectations and you may not please them. One client who fills you with a real excitement and feeling of victory that is constantly competing against a sensation of dread and absolute fear.
It’s not that you’re lying about what you can achieve – for me it was the pressure of doing what I do well on a whole new level. I knew I was capable of what I said I could do for the CEO, but my confidence was shaken by the authority of the client. Their enormity made me feel small and I started to tell myself I was too small time to work for them.
Ben, on the other hand, being the eternal optimist and my very own personal sunny disposition, saw the incredible opportunity it was. We are small time. We are new. We have been running for barely six months. But – do we want to be small forever? Did we sacrifice meals, dining out, visiting friends and family, or knowing where the rent was coming from, only to be content with smallness; with mediocrity? No! Bring it on!
Richard Branson has been quoted as the saying “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure if you can do it, say yes – and learn how to do it later”. Spot on, Richard! I feel the first 6 months of our company was thriving on this philosophy.
I have embraced that fear I initially had when discussions began with our first scary client. I puffed out my chest, lifted my chin and took control. With Ben’s never-ending support and constant reminders of my abilities – I sucked it up and dayum – I worked hard. I reminded myself that the very fact I felt fear was a direct indication I was the right person for the job. I was afraid to fail; afraid to disappoint. So passionate was I: The idea of not performing well for my newest client made me feel scared. I am thrilled to tell you – we made the mistakes we were so scared of and looking back… We very likely could have completely F***ed up the relationship. But we are still Ok, we’re still a business and they are still a client! (Bonus advice from the master of ‘accidental little slip-ups’: if you f*** something up – be humble. Admit it, correct it and move on. No one likes hearing excuses, reasoning or argument when they have made an error. Especially your clients).
Fear is your best friend in the business. If there are books on your bookshelf, you’ve read about this truth a thousand times. The fear felt is an accurate measurement of your passion and hunger to be the best at what you do. Fear overcome is an accurate measurement of your personal growth. Fear keeps you humble enough to admit your mistakes. But where fear is present, wisdom cannot be. Feel fear, embrace it and break through it – emerge on the other side more confident, smarter and wiser.
Are you good enough for that client? Can you deliver what you claim?
Do you truly believe in them and what they do, what they want to achieve? Are you passionate? Will you fuel their passion and make them feel valued, important and clever for investing a part of their own business in you and your promises?
If you don’t feel some level of fear in your ability to deliver positive outcomes to your clients – you may need to evaluate your level of passion for their success.
If you’ve never been afraid of a deal, contract or client, or afraid of the next step your business is taking – even in some very small way – you haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone yet.
I wrote this in my first 6 months of business. I am about to celebrate 4 years at the time of publishing here. What ride. What a gloriously terrifying, shaky, scary and sometimes doubtful ride. I wasn’t prepared, but holy jaysus, I am so glad I stuck it out.
Are you going to? Don’t do it alone. Join me in my FB group and let’s be afraid yet brave together.
Am I meant to add a bio? If I am, I won’t. Just find me here.