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Do you feel as vulnerable as I do?

I think what we fear most from starting something new is vulnerability.

 

Starting a new business. Committing to a new workout routine. Exploring a new diet.

 

No matter the topic, the fear circles back to one thing; failure.

 

No one wants to explain to friends and acquaintances at a networking event why her awesome new business venture didn’t work.

 

No one wants to be the overweight or scrawny person at the gym.

 

No one wants to be the annoying friend who’s too picky at a restaurant because he gave up wheat.

 

Here’s the thing…

 

All of these scenarios have something in common.

 

Do you know what it is?

 

That’s right.

 

They’re all in your head!

 

 

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

— Mark Twain

 

I struggle with this everyday.

 

What if I fail?

 

Am I just an Idea Man?

 

Can I really have an impact?

 

Can I really make my life mean something?

 

I think there comes a point in life when we finally learn to quiet these thoughts. Perhaps not completely, but enough to help us stay focused on our goals.

 

It’s easier when you realize how finite everything is. You’ve seen enough elderly people who are dissatisfied with how their lives turned out. You’ve had enough friends die at far too young an age. You’ve reached a milestone and had an epiphany.

 

For me, it’s when I turned 30. It finally registered: wow, I’m not going to be here forever. If I’m not happy doing what I’m doing, I better figure out what makes me happy…like, now.

 

My own self-talk

 

So rather than fight vulnerable emotions, I make a conscious decision everyday to befriend them. Thank them. Feel grateful for them. After all, they’re merely trying to protect me.

 

Listen up, vulnerable emotions.

 

You’re awesome. I appreciate you having my back. Don’t worry, though, I’ve got this. I’ve been vulnerable before when starting something new and it has always worked itself out. It will this time, too.

 

I’m not a spiritual guru, by any means, but I find this little exercise helps.

 

When I start envisioning the explaining to friends why my business failed scenario, I remember that every failure is truly a learning experience that helps me figure out how to work through it. I view failure as a best friend; it always tells me the truth and guides me in the right direction.

 

And I think this is something we need to continuously remind ourselves. The same way it’s easy to feel vulnerable when pursuing a new startup, it’s also easy to feel vulnerable about scaling a business you’ve grown for the past 15 years.

 

For example

 

I was recently on the phone with someone very close to me. She’s a total badass. She’s grown a successful business over the years and is highly accredited for her work. Now she’s considering developing another side of her business in a related field.

 

Guess what…

 

She’s even feeling vulnerable!

 

This took me completely by surprise. This person is like a rockstar in her industry. What could she possibly have to worry about?

 

But when I inquired further, she vocalized the same vulnerability I have everyday.

 

I guess I’m afraid to be the person in the room who has to explain why it didn’t work out if I fail…

 

This taught me a lot. It made me realize that these vulnerable feelings may never go away, no matter how far along we are in our careers.

 

So in my view, it’s best to get comfortable with vulnerability early on. That’s how I know I’ll continue to push through it.

 

————

 

Tell me. What makes you feel vulnerable? How do you work through it?

 

Here’s to a vulnerable-free weekend!

Mike

 

Ps – This blog is about my journey while growing my startup, Connect and Haul. It’s a free search engine to help people connect with great junk removal services near them. Need a washer and dryer hauled out of a basement? Need to liquidate a house? Give it shot by posting a job. 🙂

 

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