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The fear factor within innovation

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 20, 2012 10:06PM



Is false evidence appearing real or FEAR keeping you from innovation?

Innovation in many times overcomes all that fear because of significant events such as Sputnik. These events propel business leaders to government officials to ignore all those FEAR signs because they realize the ultimate goal is worth far more than past or even future fears.

The reality is those Sputnik type moments probably happen every 50 to 100 years or so. In those intervening years, the Fears start regaining their lost momentum and constrict further innovation and consequently progress.

In business, fear is ever present as it partners and strengthens those “What if” consequences. Fear seems to be continually whispering in our ears about all those negative and potentially nasty “What ifs.”.

• What if my new solution doesn’t work? Fear partner may be I view myself as a failure or others will see me as a failure.

• What if I make this capital investment? Fear partner is I will lose my existing investments including my house, the children’s’ college funds, etc.

• What if I have to speak in public? Fear partner might be “I will look foolish” or “People will think I am stupid.”

Our amygdala has captured and turned our fear or fears into Technicolor videos that almost paralyze us from taking action because we have not stepped away from all that false evidence appearing real. The end result is we take no action to innovate and potentially lose new opportunities to increase sales, improve customer loyalty and demonstrate our expertise.

Many have heard President Roosevelt’s “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” speech. In the book, “Dune,” (one of my all time favorites) author Frank Herbert expands upon this statement and captures what must happen to overcome fear:

“I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.”

Successful small business owners and entrepreneurs use innovation to remain ahead of the flow of current market trends to their perceived competitors. Fear is viewed as part of the process and is accepted because fear challenges those individuals to turn false evidence into either something real or something not real. They kick aside all that unreal stuff and move forward with confidence not fearing the mistakes as noted in last week’s column:

“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” Peter Drucker

The action for small business owners, entrepreneurs, sales professionals is to confront those fears because as Eleanor Roosevelt observed:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

Simply speaking, do one thing each day or at least once a week that scares you. So pick up that phone, make that cold call, and implement that new solution. Remember, your fears are only as deep as you allow them to be.

P.S. Shout Out: Miller Consulting Group of Merrillville can provide your firm with highly trained engineers to project management. In Chesterton, DRD, LLC supports your document management, storage and destruction.



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