I am often asked for advice, and have saved some of the questions and answers from my files that might be helpful to others. This particular response is to an e-mail from a friend who moved to her country of origin to begin a business. Her mother was a businesswoman, but felt that her business was a failure in the long run and is very afraid for her daughter to enter the fray. This was my response to her plea for encouragement.
We just saw a show last night called The Big Idea about succeeding from failure - and it was all about how many failures successful people have before they finally have the thing that really takes off. It isn't always so, but the consensus was that we have to allow each failure to move us forward and NOT be afraid to fail. If we have passion and conviction in what we are doing, we can not let the naysayers turn us away from our goals. One man told of how every time he came up with something, others would say, "Why are you doing that? If it was going to ever be anything, it would already have been done." And he said THAT statement was what let him know he was on the right track - he went ahead with his vision and determination and invented things that were successful.
In our journey toward autonomy we are faced with everyone else's fears because they didn't make it happen the way they would have liked it to be - and they are afraid for us to try because they failed or gave up or whatever. One woman said that you have to ask yourself what your objective is. And then look at what your worst fears around it are, and then say, "Okay...if that happens, then what?" and you keep doing that until you see the logical answer is that if you fail you will start something else. It's like baking a cake. If it doesn't turn out, we bake another one!
Starting a business means you are banking on your energy and believing in it. You are going to make a statement that you have something to offer that YOU are willing to invest in. If you are willing to invest in yourself then other people will be willing to invest in you. Your statement of being an entrepreneur says that you believe in your product. That makes other people believe there is something to what you have to offer.
So, you can look at the worst case scenario and realize that if that happens and you don’t succeed, you'll still be standing, and you can take the lessons you learned from that and start again in whatever way is more appropriate. BUT that is only worst case scenario. You can also succeed!
I would suggest that you ask your mother what she would have done differently in her business to make the outcome different. What did she learn? What did she do that caused it to fail? What did she learn about herself in the process? Perhaps she found out that she really wasn't cut out to be an entrepreneur, and that's a valuable lesson. But perhaps she was naive about financial matters and would have been more savvy about accounting or the people she chose to work with her. Get her to share what she could or would have done differently that would have allowed for the business to be a success - and maybe it was that she was in the wrong business or one that was too demanding. Turn this negative view into some positive pieces of information that you can build on - not be defeated by.
Best case scenario is that you feel the fear, go ahead with your plans anyway, and you succeed beyond your dreams, bringing joy and abundance to everyone and everything you touch. Now, THAT is something to aspire to!
Remember the old saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.
The report back from my friend was that she did ask her mother about the business she had and what she would have done differently. As a result, her mother began sharing tips for how to succeed where she had failed and promised to support her daughter in the venture.
The lesson here is that when we ask for the advice of elders and encourage them to share their journeys instead of getting defensive when they get negative, we move beyond the fear point and engage them in helping us create something very rich in texture and inclusive of each person’s expertise.