Courage over confidence

This week twenty-three women entrepreneurs in my Multiply course launched their new products. Reports have been trickling in about how their launches are doing.

There are three different women who have made $9,500, $10,000 and $45,000, respectively, from their week-long launches. There’s a woman who built up her mailing list to 400 of her ideal clients in less than a month. There’s a woman who got her first hate mail (a sign of success) and there are several women who have had 1-2 sales from very small customer lists, which is enough to validate their product ideas. And there are several others whose launches are still underway.

Not a single one of these women felt confident about their launch before they launched.

And yet, they did it. They faced their fears, took the steps necessary to launch and then hit that publish button on their sales pages and that send button on their offer emails. Their collective boss moves this week had absolutely nothing to do with confidence and everything to do with courage.

There is no confidence without courage.

The ability to do something that frightens you is far more useful to you than confidence on this entrepreneurial journey. I love feeling confident but confidence isn’t something I can manufacture whenever I want. Confidence comes from experience. That whole ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ thing is really about courage not confidence.

Your first public speaking gig may terrify you but the second, third and tenth ones will feel a lot less scary. That is if you had enough courage to get up on that stage the first time. This is why courage is far more valuable than confidence, ‘cause it has to come first.

Fear is a powerful force. Fear prevents dreams from happening and causes bombs to be dropped. In some cases, fear is a valid excuse for murder. In other cases, fear is a valid excuse to live your life unlived. If you want to fight fear (the kind that keeps us from having what we want, not the kind that prevents bodily harm) than you need to build your courage muscle.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ― Winston S. Churchill

How do you do that? Well, like with all muscles, the more you exercise courage the more courage you’ll have. That means practice doing things that scare you. For example, a couple weeks ago I signed up for a kayaking class. I have been wanting to kayak for at least a year so I finally signed up for a class to learn how. From the moment I signed up for the class to the moment that I got in my little boat, I was terrified. It took courage to sign up for the class. It took courage to actually show up to the class and it took courage to get in the damn kayak. Courage muscle strengthened.

Frequently putting yourself in situations that require courage is a great way to live. It means you will often be doing something exciting, new and adventurous. Something that scares you a little bit (or a lotta bit). The more experience you can get facing your fears the better you’ll be at this whole entrepreneur gig. Cause if you haven’t noticed by now, entrepreneurship is basically a study in facing your fears.

Those who have courage make it and those who don’t, won’t.


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