Recently I heard a story of a man who lost $100 Billion Dollars. Yep, you read that right.
This happened mainly due to fear.
So as we sit around and plan and scheme for the new year, I want to share this story about what happens when fear gets a death grip on your soul, and you start second-guessing yourself.
Fear Starts in 1976
In 1976 there were three men in California who wanted to start a company. One of the men invested $3,000 into the idea for a 10% part of the new business. All three men signed a simple business partnership agreement on April 1, and they went to work.
But something happened along the way.
That 10% investor started to worry. Nothing like this had really ever been done before in business, and as he was a little older than his new partners, he started having some doubts about their success.
He lacked their passion and vision.
Lying awake in bed every night he thought that the company would fail. He could lose everything. His house, his reputation, maybe even all of his possessions at that time.
The fear chewed on him like a dog worrying a bone. He couldn’t shake it.
Finally, that overwhelming fear outweighed the desire to succeed and he approached his business partners.
“I can’t do it”, he said. “I want my $3,000 back.”
They Don’t Have The Money
His partners then told him that they didn’t have the money. “Sorry, it’s been spent. We can’t give it all back.”
They used the money already for supplies and things needed for the new company.
“That’s what the investment was for, remember?”
He was upset, but on April 12 he accepted a check for $800 to back out of the business.
For him, that $800 check quelled the fear. He wouldn’t lose his house. His reputation wouldn’t go down in flames.
He was safe.
His two partners took a different approach. They had an incredible vision.
Their “why” was bigger than his “why”.
By the end of that April, they scraped together $1,500 and handed him some legal paperwork completely dissolving their ties to him and any ownership rights he had with his 10% stake in the new business.
He was happy. While he didn’t get all $3,000 back, he got the next best thing.
Fear said yes.
Can You Guess The Company?
That 10% investor’s name is Ronald Wayne. Have you heard of him before?
He should be famous. In fact, he should be a household name, instantly recognizable by just about everyone.
What about his two business partners? Coincidently, their names are both Steve.
Does that help?
Ok, what about their last names? What if the original line up of that company had lasted?
Wayne, Wozniak, and Jobs.
Fear Cost Ronald Wayne $100 Billion
As you can guess that company is Apple.
In August of 2018 Apple’s valuation hit $1 Trillion Dollars. They were the first company in history to do so.
Ronald Wayne’s $3,000 investment for a 10% chunk of Apple would be worth $100,000,000,000.
But let’s be fair to Ronald. He couldn’t see where the Steve’s where taking the company. Nobody can predict the future. It’s easy to sit back and pass judgment on him and call him foolish.
Plenty of small businesses fail every single day.
Yet, this is still a good story and one we can use for you.
What Is Your Fear?
Let’s talk about you for a minute.
Is there something you should be doing, but aren’t because of fear?
Fear of failure. Of what people will say. Maybe, like Ronald Wayne, of what you might lose.
Let’s flip the script on that.
Can you write down what you are afraid of on a pad of paper? Could you give that fear a name? Make it tangible.
What if I could reach out to you and remove that fear?
Boink. It’s gone.
Could you move forward? Maybe start on a new path or make a better decision?
Tips On Eliminating Fear
Let’s work on that.
First, have you named your fear? What is keeping you from making a change that could impact your life or company somehow?
Below are some ideas that can help you:
For me, this is always the best place to start. A lot of times we don’t start something because we lack the knowledge or understanding of how to achieve that success.
That fear is built on a lack of information.
Therefore, think about what information do you really need to eliminate that fear. It’s not going to come to you, you are going to have to go out and get it. This means reading books. Looking up information online.
Being vulnerable and talking to people and asking them questions. This means, the horror, that you have to admit you don’t know something.
Let me tell you something to make you feel better. I absolutely don’t know everything. (It’s shocking I know.)
There are people out there that know more than me about virtually everything. When I need to understand or comprehend something I simply ask. Have a conversation.
But, after that conversation, I now have more information.
Imagine what would have happened to Ronald Wayne if he had asked more questions instead of being intimidated by his business partners?
Worst Case Scenario
A lot of fear is based on the unknown. Nobody knows the future.
But our feet sit in cement and we never get started because of that fear.
Do yourself a favor and work out the absolute worst thing that could happen. What is it?
Here’s the good part. If you can imagine that worst case scenario, now you can think about what you need to do to prevent it from happening.
Maybe you need more training. I’ll bet there is a place for that. Take a class. Find a mentor.
What about tools or products that might help? Yep, another chance to go shopping.
Maybe you don’t have the skill or desire to do part of what’s needed? Could you hire or outsource that part?
When you realize that the “worst that could happen” isn’t really that bad…and you can actually prevent a good chunk of it, that fear will be squashed like a bug under your shoe.
Fear of Simply Failing or Making Mistakes
This is huge.
Many people don’t try out new things or make changes because of their fear of making mistakes. That gigantic “What if” is beating you in the head like a skillet in a cartoon.
What if I make a mistake?
Here’s something that you may have forgotten. You’ve been making mistakes your entire life. That’s how you learn.
Remember when you started riding your bike when you were a kid? Who instantly jumped on and pedaled away?
We all suffered the same skinned knees and hurt egos as we tried to master how to pedal, steer and have fun at the same time.
It’s the same with learning to cook lasagna or bake a cake. Go out on a date. Write a poem. Design something in Photoshop.
Making those mistakes is how you learned.
So exactly why are you afraid of something else? Be brave. Know that you are going to make mistakes and it is 100% ok.
In fact, plan for them. Recognize them as that opportunity to learn and grow.
It’s not so scary if you put it into that perspective.
How many mistakes do you think Apple has made on their way to $1 Trillion dollars?
This is the hardest thing to do.
To have any sort of success at all you have to put in the effort. Participate.
Why did Ronald Wayne not share in the success of Apple? You could argue that he didn’t really get past the first month and start.
What do you want to do but haven’t because you simply haven’t started yet?
Imagine for a moment what could happen this year if you actually threw your fear into the trash can and started!
When you don’t try, it’s easy to make excuses. But when you overcome your fear and get started making a change, it’s easier to build momentum and keep going.
Take that first step.
Don’t make a $100 Billion Dollar mistake because of fear.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.” – Mark Twain
“Limits, like fear, is often an illusion.” – Michael Jordan
“If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu
How can I help conquer your Fear?
Do you feel stuck and need someone to help push you forward this year?
I’d love to help you realize your fullest potential. Click the button below and let’s chat for a few minutes and see if you are ready for coaching.