Fear keeps us from doing a lot of things in our life, but if you can move past that fear and get out of your head, the possibilities become massive.
It was 1988 and I was suddenly unemployed. My position was being eliminated due to an acquisition. I was 28 years old and the sole breadwinner for my growing family. My wife was pregnant with our second child and we had very little savings. What should I do?
Logic suggested I polish up my resume and start interviewing for a similar job, head of human resources. Surely, with my credentials I could find something decent. I was also given a reasonable severance package, so I had a few months to figure things out. No need to panic.
That’s when creativity and innovation kicked in. Questions like What if, Why, and Why not started rolling around in my head, pushing logic aside. What if I do something different? What if I start my own consulting company? What if I figure out a way to be my own boss? Why do this? And, why not do it? Little did I know that these questions would spark a new, life-changing career for me.
Of course, fear kicked in too. I now think of these fears and doubts as the “Yeah, buts.” Yeah, but you don’t have any money to get started. Yeah, but you have a family to take care of. Yeah, but you don’t know anything about consulting. Yeah, but you don’t have any advanced degrees or credibility. Yeah, but you’re only 28 years old. Who is going to take you seriously as a consultant?
I gave these “Yeah, buts” a lot of thought. On the one hand, they seemed negative and restrictive. On the other hand, they served a useful purpose in identifying and mitigating risk. So, I used the “Yeah, buts” to come up with a business plan. Who knows? Maybe writing a business plan, with thorough research and analysis, will talk me out of my idea.