Culture, Entrepreneurs

You only have to be brave for 20 seconds


Standing on the edge, looking over. Feeling my stomach flutter. My hands clammy. My heart pounding. Paralyzed in the moment. Looking over at my ten year old son who had a look of complete confidence in me (even though he’s terrified of heights) reminded me that all you need is 20 seconds to be brave. That’s all it takes. Together we counted and jumped, repelling down the side of a building, trusting in our gear and in ourselves, safely landing a few seconds later.

“You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” –Benjamin Mee, We Bought A Zoo

How many of us have felt the same emotions in business where we felt like we were jumping off the side of a building, facing our deepest, darkest fears? Going into business on your own can definitely feel that way. For almost every entrepreneur, you are forced out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. How does one garner up the courage?

For the last 18 months, since leaving my corporate job to start my own business, I have pushed through, facing some of my biggest fears. One of them has always been new business development. Fortunately, I have a great business partner who has taught me so much about selling. But I still had to get over my fears first.

Susan Jeffers wrote a book called “Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway.” She reiterates that everyone has fears and fear isn’t something to be ashamed of. To help overcome your fears it can be helpful to think through the possible outcomes, examining the worst case scenarios. So what if they say no? Will the world come to an end? Probably not. This way of thinking can shift your mindset from “I can’t handle it” to “I will get through it.” This shift allows you to drive through the next 20 seconds and face your fear on the other side. By facing my fears, I found out that I can actually sell, and have been part of building a business that is creating jobs and helping other entrepreneurs be successful.

Two years ago I started the Whisky Chicks. I had been the hostess to many parties, but the Whisky Chicks was the first time I had opened myself up publicly and invited others to share in my passion. I asked myself, “What if no one shows up? What if they have a horrible time?” I got over my fears when we had over 35 women show up on that cold January evening. And even better, the Whisky Chicks have turned into an impactful community organization. Those 20 seconds of bravery have yielded over $37,000 for charity and have brought together 500+ people to mix and mingle and learn a thing or two about bourbon.

So what are you afraid of? Is it public speaking, fear of failure, fear of success? Whatever it is, take a deep breath, count to 20 and jump. You never know where you might land but like Benjamin Mee, I promise you, something great will come of it.

stopwatch with 20 seconds

Linda Ruffenach

Customer experience guru, original Whisky Chick, and strong believer that roadblocks are not meant to stop you but to help you find a better path.

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