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Here’s one thing that scares me: organizing new events.  Yep.  You thought I was fearless?  Or that other people who start their own companies are fearless?  No – they feel fear just like anyone else (even CEOs of the largest companies)…but they don’t let the fear stop them from moving forward.

Consider it this way: practically by definition, entrepreneurs (that includes you too) always feel fear because they constantly push the boundaries of their comfort zone.  Yes, some people have bigger (even massively bigger) comfort zones than others, but there is still a comfort zone. Even for Donald Trump.  Doing anything new, such as making money through enjoyment, requires you to get out of that zone…which is by definition scary. Make sense?

For example, I find it’s always scary to decide (because now you’re committed) to organize a new kind of format event, such as the one I’m holding next week in San Francisco: Once you’ve done it, it gets much easier and you find other ways to get out of your comfort zone to scare yourself 🙂

A peek into my process

Here’s what I go through in putting an event together (whether in person, a conference call, anything):

  1. I reflect on the kind of event I want to have, including it’s purpose, type of attendees, location, and how I can make it enjoyable for both myself and them. I might reflect on this for a few days, weeks or months, until it gels enough for me to want to do it.
  2. I pull out a calendar and just pick a date.
  3. I post a note and that date on my blog (now I’m committed!) That committed energy ‘pulls me forward’ to make the event happen. Another example from May: “Upcoming Pebblestorm Events (LA, SF, DC, Kauai)“.  For example, I had no idea about the logistics for the Kauai trip when I first posted about it.
  4. I prepare everything…argh.  This is still a part of the process I mostly don’t enjoy. I do enjoy creating handouts and exercises for it, but not the logistics (venue, invite list, food…)  I do work to find ways to make it easier to organize, such as doing it with friends, at the same place regularly, etc.  Anyone who enjoys helping get events together as a hobby, PLEASE contact me.
  5. The event works out perfectly and we all have a great time!

Throwing rocks

The analogy I use is this: I’m standing at the edge of a river I want to cross.  Do I take a long time to architect and build a perfect bridge?  I could.  Or do I just pick up a big ol’ rock and throw it in the basic direction I want to go and then jump?


Are you stuck? Take babysteps

Stop and consider the question, “is my fear holding me back from moving forward?”  If you’re stuck, here are some ideas, PebbleStorm-style, to play with.

1) Rather than ignoring fear or pretending it doesn’t exist, acknowledge that it’s ok and normal.  EVERYONE feels it.

2) Consider ways to make it easier on yourself, such as taking babysteps.  You know you should do something, and that big something is paralyzing you. What is the smallest little step you can take to move forward?  It should be something you can complete within seconds (such as making a decision) to a few hours.

3) Return again and again to the principle of “make money through enjoyment” as your guide to which babysteps to take.  How can you make your path work for you and what you want?

4) Choose a next babystep NOW to commit to. It could be as small as picking a date for the event, or reserving a URL for a business, or buying a notebook. Small is great! Fall in love with small. Huge castles are made of lots of little bricks. It’s more important to think of ways to not let fear stop you, rather than feeling like you have to take huge steps.

5) Repeat steps 1-4.

Examples around events

– Instead of starting by trying to throw a 100 person event as your first, hold some 5-20 person sized events to practice and build a first audience base.

– Hold an event at your house or a friend’s house, to simplify the venue.  Though it might complicate the cleanup, ha.   Speaking of which, I’m going to have one for 6-8 people at my place in Santa Monica on the evening of Sunday, September 28th, details to come in the next week. See how I just committed to it without having done any planning behind it yet? 🙂 Ker-plunk!

– If you’re nervous about charging for an event, start with an amount you’re comfortable with.  $5? $10?  $1000?  It’ll vary per person.  You can take babysteps to experiment and to build confidence and momentum. Also, it’s perfectly ok to lose a little money here and there in some experiments, but your intention must be to have a profitable business. That means if you lose money on an event, don’t do the same event/pricing/whatever again, change it up and try something else!

– Try overcharging for an event or service once in awhile. You might discover that you AREN’T overcharging, and that people are happy to pay your ‘high’ price, because they’re getting more value from your events/services/products than you assumed.

– Instead of a sit-down dinner, start with a potluck.

– Call a friend to brainstorm about it, or to get support (either emotional or logistical) for it.

…You get the idea.

Now pick a teeny tiny babystep and just do it!

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3 Responses to “Using rocks and babysteps to dodge the fear”

  1. Hong-Anh Ha Says:

    I love the concept of “falling in love with small.” It reminds me of the message in the “The Tipping Point,” how little things can make a big difference. I totally believe in this, in fact this is where I have seen most of the significant things come from in my life, through the small things. It also makes me think of how effective a little bit of meditation can go such a long way. The image of how a small pebble creates large ripple effects comes to mind, hence pebblestorm….just some thoughts 🙂

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