Fear is the great motivator. Fear is a motivator for the animal kingdom, in which only the strong, or quick, survive. Fear is what will keep you alive.
When I lived in Honolulu I was learning to surf. Sitting in the lineup — Waikiki skyscrapers behind me, vast Pacific Ocean blue out in front — I’d see a hill of water rushing towards me and start to paddle. As a beginner I got my share of false starts. I’d see a small hill that looked like it might turn into a wave, and it wouldn’t even break; it wouldn’t turn into a wave that I could ride.
Pretty soon I got the hang of it, but I began to think, “What is the wave that will push me further? What is the next wave that will make me a better surfer?”
The answer I have found is: “the one that scares you.” The small waves you get used to. But when you see that huge wave in front of you, coming for you fast, your heart jumps into your throat as you start paddling hard to catch it. That’s when you know you’ve got the wave that’s going to push you further. The wave that’s going to make you a better surfer.
In business, though, we are often afraid to take risks. We’re afraid to try something different, or push the envelope. We’re afraid that trying something new will alienate us from past clients.
But at Fasturtle we have a saying: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” If you’re satisfied with what you’ve accomplished and you don’t ever want to grow, then keep doing what works for you.
If you want to push ahead with anything — you’ve got to have that fear.