Why fear is healthy (And necessary in business)

I recently went on a short but very much needed trip to Costa Rica. While there I had a lot of opportunities to participate in some activities that normally don’t present themselves to me in my every day routine.

Unfortunately for me and my fear of heights these sports were to be performed well above sea level.

The first full day there I rappelled down 5 different waterfalls, the highest being around 140’. As I stood (trembling) on the edge and peered over I felt a moment of panic followed by the unnerving feeling that my legs were going to collapse.

Tracey Noonan of Wicked Good Cupcakes rappelling a waterfall

Standing backwards at the edge of a waterfall proved to be a real challenge for me mentally

My brain could compute that I was harnessed, tethered and had 2 guides tending to my lines but the pit of my stomach wasn’t buying it.

Sadly for me there was no turning back. I could opt to spend the rest of my days in the dense steamy jungle or I could trust that the people working with me were professionals and knew what they were doing.

After a minute more of contemplating death I bit the bullet and jumped backwards over the edge.

That liberating feeling of fright, excitement and accomplishment was exuberating. The next day I zip-lined a half a mile,  550’ above the ground (that’s 50 stories folks), and walked over swaying hanging bridges. I’m still respectful of heights and I’m not over my fear by any stretch but I have to say I was proud of myself for facing that fear and taking the plunge. (Literally.)

Tracey Noonan of Wicked Good Cupcakes ziplining

zipping 40mph, 550 feet above the canyon floor definitely tests your ability to put yourself in uncomfortable positions!

Business is no different. I live with a healthy amount of fear every day when it comes to Wicked Good. Not the debilitating fear that prevents one from screaming when a zombie comes running for them but the type of fear that keeps you on your toes.

I fear that business will end.   I fear that my creativity will dry up.  I fear that business will slow down and I’ll have to let employees go.   I worry about the weather and deliveries. You name it; I worry about it.  But rather than letting my fears hurt me I use them to make me work smarter, harder and safer.

When we started our business I worried that I would never be able to handle the work load.  But I did. I worried that I couldn’t keep inventory, make a schedule or even get through a tough day. But I did.  What if we didn’t make any money? We did.

And the truth of the matter is the more I feared, the more I taught myself about the very thing that scared me. Once you decide to go into business you need to commit and jump off the edge.

Just like you can’t rappelle down a waterfall half way, you can’t start a business half way either. You’re either all in or you’re not.

I guess the moral of this blog is this. Fear is good. It keeps you sharp. It keeps you safe. Don’t let fear keep you from doing the things you really want to do.  Surround yourself with “guides” who can be trusted and have the knowledge about things you don’t.

If you don't take that first step onto the bridge, you'll never get to the other side. You just have to commit.

If you don’t take that first step onto the bridge, you’ll never get to the other side. You just have to commit.

Starting a business is exhilarating and terrifying all at once. Once you start your descent into your business you can go as fast or as slow as you want. You’re in control. Speed is not important. Having faith and facing your fear is. Strap on your harness, trust your guides, jump off that ledge and enjoy the rush.

Congratulations! You’ve just conquered a fear that so many want to overcome and very few do.

You’ve started a business.

T ~