IS FEAR OF failure holding you back? I’ve heard
a myriad of reasons why people back off from
moving forward—personally and/or profession-
ally—in their lives. Things like:
“Maybe I was just lucky the first time.”
“What if I fail? What will others think?”
“I’m a single parent; my kids depend on me.”
“I’m too old.” “I’m too young.” “I’m too busy.”
It takes courage to follow your dreams.
But it’s important to recognize the difference
between reckless risks and legitimate reasons to
not move for ward. Do you have the time to focus?
Do you have the financial and human resources?
Do you need to have support from family and/or
others? Do you have serious health issues?
Here are some steps to consider in making
your dreams possible.
Celebrate successes. Think back through
your life and note all your accomplishments, no
matter how small or insignificant you think they
are. Acknowledge them.
Know your core values. These help guide the
decision-making process. Jim Collins, in his
article “Aligning Action and Values” (available
at jimcollins.com), emphasizes spending time
with the values and visions you already have in
place. Are these aligned with your new venture?
Learn from your past failures. For his book
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
(Viking, ;;;;), Adam Grant interviewed non-conformists such as Elon Musk, Mark Cuban
and Larry Page. He reports, “Yes, they’re afraid
of failing, but they’re even more afraid of failing
to try. We learn more from failure than success.”
Build a collaborative support team. One
example is an advisory board that can provide
you with honest feedback and clarity and build
your confidence. Many people or businesses
don’t have the courage to believe in themselves
and so derail their potential for success.
Ultimately, only you can decide to take a
chance in business or life. But remember, as
Thomas Gilovich and Victoria Medvec noted in
the Psychological Review article “The Experience
of Regret: What, When and Why”: “In the long
run, people … seem to regret not having done
things much more than they regret things
they did.” C
Fear of failure
BY JESSICA NATALE WOOLLARD
THE CONVENIENCE of email and texting
hasn’t dulled the delight of finding personalized, handwritten mail among the day’s
flyers and bills. Savvy businesses know
that customers crave human-to-human
contact, and sending snail mail is a brand-new old way to make an impression and
turn customers into brand champions.
When to send
“Thank you,” “Thinking of you,” “Great
working with you”—all of these messages
will benefit from the personal touch of a
note written in your own hand. When your
objective is to reinforce a relationship, the
act of putting pen to paper will stand out.
People will “remember you took the
time to pay them that courtesy,” says
Jennifer Ferron, owner of the Guelph,
Ontario–based JF HR Solutions. Ferron
writes notes to clients who refer new business her way.
Because snail mail involves more
thought, it holds more weight than email.
Choose a card that’s refrigerator-wor-thy. If it remains on display, the recipient
has more time to develop an emotional
connection with you, and research shows
that emotionally connected customers will
be more profitable to your business.
If you prefer a corporate look, your
logo is a solid choice. For added impact, try
dressing it up with a specialty printing
process like metallic inks or embossing.
Allyson Foulis, a mortgage broker at
The Mortgage Advantage in Victoria,
British Columbia, sends out around ;;;
note cards a year. Her current card has her
picture on the back, a way to reinforce her
professionalism and trustworthiness.
Timing is everything
Mail your note as soon as possible after
the action that warrants the card is done.
If you are pressed for time, recruit
volunteers to write the notes, or type up a
letter and add a handwritten note, says
Ryan Garnett, head of integrated marketing at Harvey McKinnon Associates, a
fundraising agency in Vancouver. “These
little touches make a difference and make
people feel special.” C
Costco member Jessica Natale Woollard is a
writer and communications strategist.
Going analog in a digital world
Barbara Mowat is president
and founder of Gro YourBiz.
com and EXCELerate conferences (excelerate;;;;.com).
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search “Barbara Mowat.”
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