Jan 29 2013


This is final post in now what has become sort of a 3 parter.

Started with Killer Blue Whales about some of my pressures and fears, then Fontal Assault about how startups teams play into the mix, and now bring it home with Fear.

And for this one, I’m sharing what one of my advisors emailed to me after seeing my Killer Blue Whales post. I sent this out to my team as well. It’s SPECTACULAR.

I can tell you from all my experience the most powerful motivator in the world is not greed, it’s fear. Whether it’s fear over upholding the expectation of others, knowing that others lives and careers and families are depending upon you, or wondering whether your big idea is in fact a superior candidate in the tightly congested field of other ideas, it’s always fear.

People go too far in trying to manage stress and anxiety related to fear. It’s not all bad, not at all, in fact. Fear is the reason we are alive. Fear is the reason why humans avoid being eaten by the bears. Absent fear, you are eaten by the bear. Not a good outcome.

Fear is your friend. Harness it. Engage it.

Greed, by contrast, has always seemed to me to be an inappropriate motivator. It combines with things that fall outside the Golden rule, typically. It relates to a time when being smart meant something akin to being crafty, in the ancient market bazaar kind of way, not in the world of creating value.

But since I am on it, the only other thing I might offer is that, if you get with the idea that fear is not unhealthy, but in fact it’s a desired component, find a way to share it. I think fear is a great component to creativity (create-ivity), and having people have their own share of fear means that when they overcome an obstacle, their sense of accomplishment is even so much more turbocharged. All this is pretty fluffy, and I think this is exactly the headspace you operate in in any case, so all is well on the Western front.

It is a big world out there, expectations are high, people are smart, the ideas are flowing, and it all looks pretty intoxicating and overwhelming/intimidating. One of my sayings, however, in contrast to all these great ‘potential’ threats is: ‘no points for original thought, life is execution’. All entrepreneurs have ideas, some of them are really great ideas. Further some of those ideas are viable, some of those viable ideas have technically viable means, as well as market opportunities. And then there are those ideas that are not only all of the above, but the team could actually make it happen! Making it happen is actually where it’s at.

Fear monger to fear monger? Embrace it. Harness it. Share it.

Don’t get eaten by the bears.


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