I’m currently vacationing in St. Barth’s in the Carribean. It is amazing. It’s been a great time to reflect on things and look at my business ventures from a different and more holistic perspective. When I’m out of my normal environment, I always get to reflect on things and I find it to be very invigorating.
Yesterday, I was on the beach and decided to take a swim along the shoreline. Now, I’m a strong swimmer, but haven’t really swam any distance in the ocean before, so I thought I’d stay along the shoreline to be safe. As I got in the water, I realized I have a bit of a fear of sea creatures. The beach was fairly rocky, so each rock outcropping had a swarm of fish around it. I’m not talking about sharks, here, I’m talking about tiny little colorful fish! For some silly reason, the fish were really freaking me out! I have learned over time that I HAVE TO face these things head on, or I simply end up with a roadblock in my mind and my life in the form of a fear. So, fearful as I was, I then knew I MUST swim that shoreline.
I know this is a blog about an entrepreneurial journey. . . hang with me; I’m getting there.
As I got into the water, I saw what I thought was a turtle, it was probably either a rock or a dead turtle, based on it’s lack of movement. So, I moved away from it a little bit, tightened my goggles and started swimming. There were small rocks about every 10 feet or so, so I was having a minor freakout each time I passed one of them and the surrounding fish. The strap from my goggles would hit my face occasionally, making me think I was being attacked by a goldfish. Every now and then, I would drift either in so far that my arms hit the bottom, or I would drift out fairly far, and come back in. But, fairly soon, I make it to the other end, and back. The total distance, I’d estimate around a quarter to a third of a mile, so it was not PHYSICALLY challenging for me, only mentally. I made it back to the other end pretty easily and it was done.
As I was swimming along, I was thinking about why the situation was so frustrating. I really enjoy swimming. There I was, in a beautiful setting, with beautiful fish, great weather and sunny, cloud-free skys. For someone who loves to swim, this was a DREAM COME TRUE! But, the unfortunate part was that I was struggling through it because of an irrational fear. What bullshit!
As I was reflecting on this, I got to thinking that this is sort of metaphorical for a lot of things in life, particularly entrepreneurship. It’s some scary stuff. And good entrepreneurs are always pushing themselves through some sort of fear; if they aren’t, they’re not growing. I would even argue that if you aren’t pushing through some sort of challenge, you are not an entrepreneur. But it’s just like me swimming with those man eating goldfish, the fear gets in the way of the enjoyment of the process. I hope to use the fish analogy as a metaphore for my experiences as I continue on my business-building journey. The lesson I’m taking from this is to stop being so scared and just DO IT.
Not being scared of new things is a skill like everything else. It takes practice. By the way, I swam that beach again the next day. It was easier.