Don’t let fear hold you back.
As many of you know, I teach at American University’s business school. This semester I’m teaching a class on how to scale a business. As part of the curriculum, the students have to build different financial models, assess the choices a business can make in order to scale, and explain the risk / reward of each of these choices.
What’s interesting is that I only have a couple women in my class. One of those women started the semester by saying, “I’m terrible at Excel, so I’m not going to do the numbers.”
Well, that wasn’t going to fly.
I sat down with her, asked her to open up Excel and told her that together we were going to build a financial model. She tried, she got frustrated, and I could see the tears beginning to well up because she was convinced she could not do this.
All of a sudden, I flashed back to that exact feeling. I remembered what it felt like to think, “I’ll never learn how to build one of these models,” or to be put on a new project and I have no idea what the heck I was doing, or to start a business even though I didn’t know what the first step was.
Fear sucks. And we all handle it differently. For many of us, it makes us want to quit. It breeds self-doubt to the point that we announce we’re no good at something and are just not going to do it. And sometimes it makes us cry. But fear is just fear. We can all learn to do something that scares us. We just have to ask someone to teach us or share their experience.
As I helped this young woman learn how to build a financial model in Excel, watch the numbers populate and show real results, I could see the moment when not just the light bulb turned on, but her confidence turned on. This was not something she was going to be scared of anymore. This was not nearly as difficult as she’d imagined.
How many of us have these moments as adults? We’re no longer in classrooms where someone is there specifically to teach us. Many of us begin to think that we’re expected to know the answers. We begin to believe the stories in our head and that maybe we just can’t do something. And frankly, we don’t want to feel terrified anymore. It’s easier to just give up when no one is holding your feet to the fire.
For those of you who want to conquer something that you don’t know how to do, join us, either as a general member or an accelerator member (our next 6-month accelerator program starts in January!). That’s what Her Corner is all about: Creating a place where together we can help one another grow our businesses.