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Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Ryan Estis challenges conventional thinking on corporate culture, communication, client acquisition, brand ambassadorship and change. The former chief strategy officer for the marketing division of McCann Erickson, he helps companies, leaders, and sellers more effectively connect to their two most important audiences: employees and customers. Guiding audiences through the realities of the new economy, he blends interaction, energy, and actionable content to transform and elevate your business outcomes. Above, Ryan draws on personal examples to explain why it’s important to be brave in the face of challenges:

It was 3 a.m. and my mind was racing. I couldn’t sleep. My worst fear was becoming my reality. I am a failure.

I was pretty sure that by sunrise I was going to call my old boss and beg for my old job back. I didn’t want that job. I didn’t love that job. But it paid the bills. Who was I kidding anyway? I am not an entrepreneur.

I knew this could happen. Smart people who cared about me provided ample warning. “Bad timing.” “Crowded space.” “Changing industry.” “What makes you think you can actually do that for a living?” Now I was getting exposed. I am fraud.

After all, I was the guy listening to the book “Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway”every time I got into my car for two years. I was stuck and the fear of change (or actually, the fear of failure) was holding me back.

I’d finally found the courage to make my move and start a business. Now, just a year into it, I felt even more uncertain about my decision.

Here’s the truth. I wasn’t a failure or a fraud. That was just a story I invented in the middle of the night to fuel my fear. That is a dangerous place to spend time because it’s usually where bad decisions happen. What I didn’t understand in that moment was something I have to come to believe through my own experience:

Failure is the path to achievement.

My entrepreneurial journey was just beginning. The epic failure would have been quitting during that essential learning curve. Through my experience, I’ve learned a few techniques to more effectively confront my fear and use it to my benefit. I’ve also evolved my definition of failure.

Ryan Estis/May, 2015