Running (a Business) Scared
Overcoming Fear-Based Leadership
We find ourselves in the Lone Star State quite often these days. Between visiting family and slowly trying to expand our business westward, it would be safe to say that Texas is our second home. At least until we find enough pocket change to post up on a beach somewhere.
One can dream.
Here we were in Dallas again. The sun was shining. The weather, surprisingly nice for this time of year. The definition of a picture perfect day — until it wasn’t.
Like many that never see it coming, we became one with another in unholy vehicle matrimony. While far from harmonious, we somehow escaped with just a kiss to our passenger-side door. Frustrating, yes. But damage as fixable as your lipstick-stained cheeks after visiting grandmas house on a Sunday afternoon. Miraculously, both of our smaller kids slept through it all.
While the accident alone was enough to make me wish I was back on the tamer roads of Tennessee, it’s what was birthed from that brief experience that shook me the most:
The spontaneity of fear.
Despite being accident-free for over 18 years and barely going through a situation worthy of that title, I found myself wrestling off a bit of newfound fear as I navigated the blacktop in the days that followed.
If faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, I was quickly learning that fear of the same small proportions can so easily create the opposite effect in our lives.
Pressure. Stress. Anxiety. Doubt. Even the temporal loss of a lifelong skill if we let said event hit us hard enough.
The good news for me — my moment of auto timidity disappeared almost as soon as it arrived. But while I may have been ready for Mario Kart in the Metroplex again, the road bumps in business ownership can often feel a little harder to recover from.
With as much time, energy, and love as we tend to invest as leaders, when things don’t go according to script — which is daily, am I right? — it’s hard not to take the unpleasant surprises personally. And the longer it takes for us to find healing and closure, the longer we go on living at a fraction of our best. That rarely serves anyone well.
Does this mean as leaders we should suppress our feelings? Absolutely not. It’s these feelings that often connect us on a deeper level and set the tone for culture in our places of work.
But there is an aspect of this title that we must embrace if we seek to preserve the pathway to provision for those we lead in love professionally and personally.
To lead [leed]:
- To go before
- To show the way
While not all inclusive, it’s hard to deny that these two roles are some of the most foundational to the success of your business or the one you lead.
Without a leader, there is no unified direction.
Without a defender, there is no promise of safety for those you shelter.
And without the learned ability to rise above adversity, there is no peace. No growth. No real hope for a bright future.
Leadership is a lot like life. It’s tough. And it can be a lonely road at times. But if we can learn to run into the storm instead of away from it, we’ll light the way to brighter days for all who follow.