“The one who faces, even if he fears them, the things that he must, and who correspondingly has daring as and when he must, is courageous” wrote Aristotle¹ over two millennia ago.
Fear is part of all our lives. Every manager, every leader feels fear. But what we have to do is look at it with different eyes. We must not be stopped by fear. We must give ourselves time to give it a rational dimension and transform it into a magnificent opportunity to innovate. Steve Jobs² ‘ 2005 invitation to Stanford students “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” always applies.
Jack Ma³ (Alibaba) defines the age between 25 and 40 as the age to work and make mistakes because “at this age you can fall and get up without consequences”. Don’t worry, we make mistakes and we will make our whole life. Luckily. And someone like Bill Murray⁴ (to Ghostbusters to be clear) even says “I never make a mistake twice in a row, I do it four, five times, so as to be sure”.
The fear of making a mistake can throw our action away but, for a leader, not making a decision is often a harbinger of greater damage than a wrong decision.
If you don’t take risks, you don’t grow up, you don’t learn, you don’t test yourself, but above all, you don’t let your potential emerge. So give yourself the opportunity to make mistakes and encourage your employees to take calculated risks. This will also make them grow.
“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is unable to understand the man who refuses to bow down blindly to conventional prejudices and instead chooses to express his opinions with courage and honesty” said Albert Einstein⁵.
To give value to your brand it is important to get out of mediocrity by always expressing a position, a point of view on decisions. It is a question of expressing one’s opinions, certainly valorising and motivating them, but defending them firmly. It does not mean not to question yourself, it does not mean not to listen to others, but by taking a position you will attract your collaborators whether they agree or disagree with you.
Tolstoy⁶ called it the energy of error. An energy that “is impossible to invent”, an energy that is triggered instantly, just when awareness of the error is reached and that is activated in such a way as to make us identify how to exploit that error. Because Tolstoy feared not only death, but also life, if it was always the same.