“What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done? And why did you do it?”

If you follow my Facebook page you’ll know that one of my absolute heroes is Commander Chris Hadfield, the so-called ‘Singing astronaut’ and sometime Commander of the International Space Station.

In his recent TED talk on fear, this was the opening question he asked the audience. Chris Hadfield should know a thing or two about fear. He went blind while on a space walk to make repairs to the International Space Station, after some of the anti-fog chemicals on the visor on his space suit got in his eyes and made them shut down. Luckily he recovered as soon as he got back inside the space station and took his suit off.

His talk was about how we can change our response to fear, while still taking risks, and this got me thinking about some of the conversations I have with clients. Running a business can be a risky venture, and can make people fearful, about what would happen if things went wrong.

Unfortunately fear, can motivate us to make all kinds of bad decisions, and keeps our thinking small. Big thinking and vision do not come from fear. Fear and anxiety take us out of the present, in to the future and this is when we spiral in to that negative, worrying kind of thinking; the 2am kind of thinking that no good can come out of.

Next time you feel fearful, anxious or worried about your business, think about Chris Hadfield blinded out in the darkness of space. What kept him calm was remembering the procedures that he had practiced many times before; it was the voices of his colleagues talking him through what to do, and it was the fact that he was clear about why he was doing something so dangerous, and why that was so important, to him and to humanity.

So when things do go wrong, which they will, make sure you have good systems and procedures in place for your business, take wise counsel from those you trust, and remember what motivated you to start a business in the first place, but don’t let fear motivate you.


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