Political platforms aside, the most important thing I'm taking away from this strange election season is a priceless reminder to not let fear cloud my judgment.
Let's face it! The politicians pitched a lot of concerns our way and--to some extent--threatened us with maybe having to experience the worst of it ... That is, unless we voted for them!
It's a time-honored sales technique, actually--inspire fear in the customer and they'll buy anything you're selling if they think it might keep them safe and secure. But an intelligent consumer knows better than to fall victim to that old pitch.
Likewise, a shrewd entrepreneur is not going to let fear make decisions for them.
I think Gordon Gekko put it most eloquently, in the movie, Wall Street, when he told newbie trader Bud Fox, "Don't get emotional about stock."
The same holds true for anything, especially where sound business dealings are concerned. And there's no greater destroyer of our emotional balance than infectious fear.
Fear will always be the fastest poison to infect those emotions and take them for a ride. Don't let it make your decisions--whether it's electing a candidate or choosing an investment.
Know the Facts
People fear what they don't understand. Same with investors.
A little research goes a long way. Shine some light on a deal, an offer or an opportunity.
Equip yourself with knowledge. It takes away the mystery. And you'll find the fear will start to fade.
Fear Clouds Clarity
As an investor, it's paramount I command a clear head when it comes to my decision-making. When I let fear enter the picture it's as if I'm passing the reins of my business over to an incompetent fool.
Why would anyone do that?
Instead, keep your head clear and maintain your power.
Dismiss your fear. Ignore it and then move on.
Fear is Impulsive
Sure, there are times when a split-second decision can prove a stroke of genius, but those tend to be the exception rather than the rule.
More often, it's to your benefit to be as sure as you can before proceeding. It's never going to be perfect, of course, and calculated risks are part of the game. But why increase risks unnecessarily with fear-driven impulse?
Pausing to consider some facts about an impending deal is a lot wiser than rushing to the bank because you want to get to the dotted line before someone else does.
Look Ahead with Hope
Fear sees the worst on the horizon--clouds of doom covering the future. Fear fails to understand and embrace trends and therefore fails to see opportunities.
One prime example is the service and product growth stemming from environmental sustainability.
Yes, environmental concerns have given rise to some dramatic issues that need addressing in this world. But within that dark arena of problems lay myriad positive opportunities for new business ventures and developments--electric vehicles, sustainable farming enhancements, solar energy and more.
Rather than just remaining frustrated with the way things are going--like so many politicians chose to do this election season--focus on the opportunities.
I'd be lying if I claimed fear was never a factor. It comes, sometimes out of nowhere. Every so often it blows into town, like bad weather, and we're hit with it.
But our choice is always whether we want to entertain it.
I say No. The more we entertain it, the longer it lingers. And while it might provide us with occasional motivation to act or react, by and large it's a destructive force that clouds our judgment, curbs our enthusiasm, and quells our dreams.
Writer Suzy Kassem said, "Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will." I think this is a great quote, because a true entrepreneur must be a dreamer with the capability of looking beyond the obvious and seeing what could be, not just what already is.
Problems will always be evident, but a smart and savvy entrepreneur is going to see solutions.
When fear rears its head to stop you, step back, take a breath and recognize it for what it is: False Evidence Appearing Real.