Would you take a step forward? Into your brighter future? Or would
the Fear of the Unknown keep you standing still, in the safety of the unknown?
I shared before that the Fear of the Unknown (FOTU) is the
granddaddy of all fears. Like the Black Widow Spider of the Fear world.
In fact, Fear of the Unknown (FOTU) is
The recent research on FOTU (Joshi & Schultz, 2001) suggests
the “fundamental fear” related to anxiety and psychopathology, emotions and
decision-making, and is likely related to many other disorders, including
depression, somatic and eating disorders, and possibly chronic diseases.
And speaking of fear… it only took me about 20 years to find the
nerve to write the damn book. To think that I had something useful to say. To
imagine that anyone would read it. To put in the time and effort to start
something despite my fear that I would fail to finish.
And what finally caused me to write it?
Gronemeyer (2014) suggests that many of our life behaviors imply
inherent risk (e.g., driving, flying, eating, substance use, childbearing,
taking new jobs, sitting, smoking, gambling, starting a business, Russian
roulette, writing books), more or less, and depend on our inherent risk
tolerance or aversion to choose to participate or not.
Yet we confuse “risk” and “uncertainty”, which can also convey the
meanings of “chance” or “danger” if we interpret the opportunity as risk.
Back to FOTU.
We often hesitate to step into a venture that has some risk
attached to it, unless we’re half-crazed by the desire to make it happen.
Walt Disney, like many other persistent entrepreneurs slightly
possessed by their craft, started three companies before he stabilized. The
first he abandoned when he couldn’t make it profitable. The second,
Laugh-o-Gram, went bankrupt, right before his film was complete. Finally, after years of
freelancing and a few odd jobs, he created Disney Bros Studios which struggled
to find its place among the bigger studios.
In 1928, Walt penned Mickey Mouse to mimic a pet mouse in his
studio (which would’ve been named Mortimer Mouse if it hadn’t been for his
wife’s insistence.) Mickey came after he’d already created Oswald the Lucky
Rabbit and a few hundred other characters.
It took him 13 years to stabilize his business well enough to
suggest he had a legitimate company, when then went on to become an empire.
During these challenging years in following his passion, he
Loss of health
Major shifts in identity (he started as a cartoonist and
ultimately became a filmmaker).
But the “chance” inherent in these risks were actually
opportunities that allowed him to overcome the challenges of “not knowing
enough yet” as he moved into each new venture.
Shepherd et al (2000) suggest that “both positive and negative
shocks,” (translated as rainy days and rainbows of life) are ultimately what
give us the courage and stamina to persist in each and every venture.
Same for me. I managed my own risk (and fear) about writing a book
Working with a hybrid publishing company, to hold me accountable
(deadlines and all) and support the process of publishing ( and strategies);
Creating a roadmap for how I would use my book in my business
and career ( ;
Writing about a topic that my peers and clients had asked me to
write about, so I knew there was at least a small audience ( );
Making space and time so that I could ensure to accomplish the
needed tasks ( ).
…and when it came down to it, I just had to accept some risk
that I might not finish or that no one would read it ( ).
But the odds of the risk were better for me than
quite frankly I was with
the topic and couldn’t not write about it. , or choosing not to realize my desire to write the book because
Like Walt Disney, I knew what mattered most: that I honor my
burning desire to bring my own work and purpose into the world.
And that ultimately, I am a better person because of the
challenges I experienced in writing this book, and every other significant
challenge I’ve stepped up to in life.
And yet, we don’t have to experience FOTU in the quicksand-y way
you might imagine it. As if every step you take, you sink deeper.
You have a good sense of direction, or a Roadmap, to guide you
into your future,
You have feedback loops to assess your next steps,
You move the barriers out of the way to moving forward,
You’re really excited about the destination. You “can’t not go.”
A Roadmap is definitely more likely to get you to a brighter future. And Disney knew his roadmap, as he’d been drawing and cartooning since he was four and very little kept him from spending his time honing his craft throughout his life.
What would change for you if you had your own personal Roadmap? If you had something that stirred so deeply in you that you “couldn’t not do it?”
If this Roadmap could:
· Enhance your awareness of deep purpose and what matters to you…
· Reduce your barriers and hurdles for taking steps forward…
· Gain invaluable insight into your burning desires and vision…
· Uncover the bold small steps to take to get to your destination…
· Design your life to have more clarity, confidence and impact…
What would change in your life?
Having a personal Roadmap has made all the difference in my life. In a couple days, I’m going to share with you a Roadmap that has worked for me, and hundreds of my clients, to create impactful products, launch or scale businesses, step into new roles or careers and live more meaningful lives. I have the deepest faith that this Roadmap will work for you too – to fulfill on your dreams and have more impact and abundance than you ever imagined.
Gronemeyer, M. (2014). Decision-making as navigational art: A pragmatic approach to risk management. In Luetge, C. and Jauernig, J. (Eds). Business ethics and risk management. New York: Springer.
Joshi, S.T., & Schultz, D.E. (2001). H.P. Lovecraft encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Shepherd, D., Douglas, E.J., & Shanley, M. (2000). New venture survival: Ignorance, external shocks, and risk reduction strategies. Journal of Business Venturing 15(5-6): 393-410.