Thursday, July 17, 2008

Overcoming Fear of Failure

During the Vietnam era, my Uncle was encouraged to join the Marines. He was encouraged because he was seen too little in the classroom and too much at police headquarters. On his first day at Boot Camp, he ran 5 miles in combat boots, on the beach (what a welcome wagon).
This 5 mile run was quite an accomplishment for my Uncle. In high school, he could never make it one time around the track without falling over and gasping for air. In fact, he avoided any sports where he had to run a lot because he feared he would do poorly.
And there he was on the first day at Boot Camp, running 5 miles. It is amazing what people can accomplish when they turn off that little voice in their head. My Uncle had no choice but to mute that voice that first day in the Marines.
I think about my Uncle a lot these days with the recent sale of Anheuser Busch and the continuous news reports on job losses. People in St. Louis are getting nervous. Really nervous. When folks get nervous, fear creeps in. When fear creeps in we want to retrench into the past (the gold old days when the grass was greener).
The problem with this is that we miss future opportunities. These opportunities pass us like a ship passing through the night.
Just as my Uncle discovered, we are all capable of reaching heights we never imagined. The problem is we can't reach those heights if we retrench back to the old days and don't strap on our boats and get moving. Given the opportunity, my Uncle would have probably stayed back in the barracks and told himself he could never run 5 miles.
If they allow themselves, the employees of AB, Ford, GM and some of the other industries hit hard by the economy will find quality employment and the region will continue to grow and prosper. Soaring companies like Enterprise, Scottrade, Build-A-Bear Workshops, World Wide Technologies and Express Scripts are enjoying great success by looking to the future in industries that didn't even exist decades ago.
If we keep looking to the future, more success stories will follow.
-Ron Ameln, SBM