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Facing Your Fears as an Entrepreneur: 1-2-3 JUMP!!!

June 1, 2016

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. I guess climbing 33 feet up a tree on a ladder strapped to it and then jumping out for a trapeze bar, is probably not for the faint of heart either.

Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go to an adult sleep-away camp called Camp No Counselors in Paradox, NY. Lots of sports activities, parties, talent show, color war games., as well as a rock, paper, scissors challenge (I came in 3rd in that with my mad skills).  I enjoyed every minute of the getaway.


My friend and I signed up for a high ropes course. With a harness on your back, you had to climb 33 feet and then walk out about 3 feet to the edge of a platform.   I am somewhat afraid of heights. I just kept thinking, don’t look down and block out the what ifs and take it one step at a time.

At the top, when I got off the ladder and stepped onto the platform, I had to turn around.  The harness was in my way and I kept clutching to the tree like a koala bear. My friend Margi was videotaping and iphone snapping the whole thing. I am thankful she caught the moment on video. It has become important to me.

The guide said I had to walk out far enough so she could see my toes. I was terrified. I felt woozy, as though I was going to fall off to the right or left of the platform. I then had to jump out to catch a trapeze bar. She said, “Aim for over the bar.” My heart was racing   1-2-3 JUMP.

I caught the bar but couldn’t hold onto it. Down I went.

I thought about how this jump was symbolic of how I live my life generally, of entrepreneurism, of what we as business attorneys aim to do for other people.

It has been a challenging year for me as an entrepreneur. We opened two new offices, rebranded, and hired several new people. With this growth, comes stress, worry, anxiety, fear. I realize that relatively speaking, my appetite for anxiety, uncertainty is probably pretty large.   But I have harnesses/safety nets. What are they? My parents, brother and sister who are my biggest cheerleaders, my good friends who know me well, my mentors who encourage me, and frankly cash reserves (could always be bigger). Who are your harnesses? Who catches you when you fall?  Do you have plan B resources?

Running your own business does take guts.  For sure.  You have to have an appetite for risk.  With great risk though, comes great reward.

As business attorneys and consultants, we are harnesses for our clients. They may be acquiring a business, purchasing significant assets, hiring a new employee, facing a financial restructuring.   They are afraid and fear failure. We are there to tell them: “Take one step at a time.”  “Don’t look down”.    “Aim for over the bar.”  We are there to catch them when they fall.  We teach them how to self-correct for the next time.

Did I climb up the tree and try again?  No, I didn’t, but there is always next summer!

When have you faced one of your fears? What did you tell yourself? Who are your safety nets?   Do you have Plan B resources?


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