Fear.  Leaders hear lots of things that produce fear.  We hear about possibilities of recession, public health crisis, challenges with the labor market, budget woes, supply chain issues, and more.  All of these things are difficult to navigate but are secondary to the fear we experience and cling to emotionally.

Fear paralyzes us.  It keeps us from innovating and trying something new.  Fear of failure for instance causes people to only do the things that are risk-free.  The reality is that growth in our companies cannot happen if we are not willing to take a risk.  We are not talking about risks that are illogical, but risks that have the potential for a reward that needs to be embraced.

Every entrepreneur has had to take risks.

There is no crystal ball to ensure that you will be successful in a new endeavor.  There are no guarantees that a new process or a new goal will work out perfectly.  In fact, the more important a goal, the more challenges there will be along the way.  That does not mean that you should not do it.  However, you must be prepared to face those obstacles that are inherent to stretching and doing something new.

As leaders, we must ask ourselves what are we procrastinating on to avoid risk.  What price are you paying for not doing the hard work of growth?  Many professionals believe that growth will happen if you just follow the same path you have been on for the last 5 or 10 or 15 years.  The reality is that we must test out new paths, new processes, and new goals if we are to learn, grow and succeed.

Differentiating ourselves from our competitors is about stretching, learning from experiences where everything did not go perfectly, and being part of a world that is challenging and full of potential pitfalls.  Success means letting go of the fear and embracing the possibilities of what could be accomplished if we are willing to step into what may be uncomfortable.  Let’s spend our time not protecting what is but rather looking forward to what could be possible.