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Scaring Up Business – Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

The first time I heard this famous quotation was about twenty-five years ago, and it holds true now more than ever. What it means to me is that if you want something different, something more, you need to do something different. However, our human instinct craves the familiar and the comfortable. Change is scary. The unknown is scary. It’s a wonder anyone creates a brand-new business, then. Well, not just anyone does, and certainly not everyone. The people who are creating exciting new businesses are the bold entrepreneurs who step out of their comfort zones, despite the fear.

Over the past twelve years, I have worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and I have seen them in times of great emotion. In the early days of their business, it is a honeymoon period and everything is rosy. The optimism these folks emit is palpable and wonderfully contagious. They forget all about their fears, focusing instead on the excitement of the unknown (because, just like a ride at a theme park, the unknown can be scary but in a fun way).

As time progresses and they encounter challenges, they go through the ups and downs with a mix of emotions, but the stronger their commitment to their dream, the more they push through the challenges with admirable courage. A different kind of fear can set in at these later stages: a fear of losing what they have built and having to start over or (horror of horrors) go back to a job as someone else’s employee!

It is only when the entrepreneur has been through a few of these cycles on the roller coaster, that he or she can tackle the bigger fears. These are the fears that come with pitching for a huge piece of business or financing, or the fear of building a large enterprise with big commitments and staff that rely on you for their income. Or one of the biggest fears of all: that of truly making a lasting difference to the planet, because in order to do that, the business owner needs to be the face of the business. He or she needs to be visible and vocal, bold and opinionated. People want to hear the business leader’s wisdom and expect inspirational books, articles, blogs, videos and keynote speeches. They want to get to know the real person behind the business, and that means (gulp!) being open and vulnerable; it means writing and speaking directly to the market. The pressure is on, and there is nowhere to hide. Of course, you can do what you have always done, and you know what that gets you. Or you can, and probably should, take a great leap into the unknown and enjoy the ride. 

Words by Mindy Gibbins-Klein, who is an international speaker, author and multi-award-winning entrepreneur. She is best known as founder of The Book Midwife, REAL Thought Leaders and Panoma Press. Mindy has helped over 500 executives and business leaders to write and publish great books fast. She is the co-editor of ‘The Business of Professional Speaking’ (£12.99 Panoma Press), which is available on Amazon now. You can find out more about Mindy here: http://www.mindygk.com/

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