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Can You Be Fearless?

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January 22, 2019

That’s probably the question Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked himself when he confronted challenges so large as leading the movement for equal civil rights.  Instead of putting the influence of his speeches and bold action on the shelf for the next 364 days, this week we’re wondering how we, entrepreneurial leaders, might draw insights from Dr. King. 

Indeed, his legacy exemplifies a tried and true formula for taking action in the face of fear:

M + V + P > FEAR

If math scares you, the following equation doesn’t require any complex calculations.  Instead, it’s a handy reminder of three skills upon which can rely to overcome the type of fear which cripples our ability to overcome obstacles and leverage opportunities we face– in business and in life.

Mental Fortitude.  Though most well known for his visionary “I Have A Dream” speech, Dr. King’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail better demonstrates what it means to have a sound mind in the midst of turmoil.  The startup (and scale up) environment is full of unknowns and uncertainly.  Thus, our ability to succeed under such circumstances depends entirely on our ability to remain focused, patient, persistence, diligent, and execute with pressure.  But, there’s no quick fix or fad diet to achieve greater mental fortitude.  It takes work.  And practice. So if you’re ready, here a few tips to get you started. 

Vulnerability.  Yes, the V word. Daring Greatly, author Brene Brown defines it as ” uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.”   She explains, “when we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.”  In essence, vulnerability is about relying on your love of purpose (or source of motivation) to  press forward through fear. What do you love more than fear?

Power.  If you’ve heard of the March on Washington, then you already know that there’s power in assembling a critical mass of people.  Isolation is truly the enemy of innovation.  And fear is more effective in its work when confronted alone. That’s why teams with co-founders and strong collaborative cultures are more successful in business. People working together with purpose is the best way to combat fear.  Whether its fear of failure, fear of success, fear of taking chances, fear of making decisions, or fear of whatever is needed to level up your venture, tapping into the collective power of the people around you allows to you go farther and experience success together.

Cheers,

Venture Cafe Miami

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