By Bob McElwain
Fear is funny stuff. On the one hand, it keeps us from
climbing too high in the tree. And from walking too close to
the edge of the cliff. When fear cautions of such things, it
pays to listen attentively.
But on the other hand, fear can smother curiosity,
creativity, and many other positive attributes essential to us
all. While it is not commonly noted, fear is one reason many
balk at the mere thought of learning most anything. For some,
this fear is so strong they refuse to accept any new idea or to
even consider a better way of doing anything.
Fear Is Rational
Suppose you discover something new today you know is
absolutely true. You are certain beyond a doubt that it is
so. It may mean you need to reevaluate *all* your cherished
attitudes, values and convictions.
In short, a new idea can compel one to make changes. While
they are unlikely to amount to a new lifestyle, some old habits
may need to be replaced with new ones. Some attitudes may need
to be updated. And some values may need to be adjusted a bit.
For many, such needs are too frightening to even consider.
Thus they shun such risk. They avoid learning and any
activity which might present new ideas. They tend to remain set
in their ways, and don't want to change much of anything.
Yet Success Requires Learning
Any business, offline or online, either continues to grow,
else it stagnates, and ultimately withers and dies. To continue
to succeed, there is no option but to grow. Yet growth and
learning are intertwined. There will be no growth without new
ideas to be explored and implemented.
This is not an acceptable proposition to many new to
business. Particularly on the Web, there seems to be a tendency
to create a business, then focus on keeping it running as well
as possible. While this may generate some income, it does not
lead to more, for it does not lead to growth.
Fear As A Brick Wall
Suppose you discover through testing on your website that a
navigation bar across the top of your page draws better than one
in the left column. Suppose page views double, indicating many
more people are exploring much more of your site. And that
Possibly for years, you have "known" a navigation bar to
the left is the only way to go. How do you deal with this new
information? Ignore it? You can, of course. And oddly enough,
some will. Why?
1) Because they don't want to tackle modifying all pages on
their site. And they are unwilling to deal with the uncertainty
of the impact on the overall site.
2) They simply refuse to change their convictions. Such
a move is painful to many, and thus to be avoided at all costs.
3) If something as fundamental as this to a website has been
demonstrated as "wrong," there's lots to be reconsidered. This
leads to: "What else do I think I know that's wrong?"
The moment one comes to this last question, there is fear,
and lots of uncertainty. Some will go to any lengths to avoid
this state. They are simply unwilling to reexamine all other
elements of their site and business and thus threaten their
view of "rightness."
The wise move in this hypothetical case is to come off
your long held view of a navigation bar to the left, and put
it across the top. Just swallow hard, take a deep breath, and
do it. At most you are risking time and a few sales. If you
keep your previous pages, they can easily be restored if a
major negative unexpectedly crops up.
To do otherwise, is to cling to what you have. Which is
stagnation. And ultimately decline.
It's Easier Said Than Done
It may be that business people fear change more than others
do. Face it. They have their necks out and their capital is
on the line. Their net is generally their entire income. Make
a blunder, and their family, home, and lifestyle may be
suddenly at risk.
"If it ain't busted, don't fix it," is a commonly heard
refrain. While likely so about many things, it's certainly not
true of all. There is risk in change. Unavoidable risk. But
without it, there will be no growth.
Put Fear To Work For You
Let fear urge caution as it must. And listen attentively.
But let curiosity and creativity dominate. Let these powerful
tools feed you new ideas. Explore all encountered. Then lock
in those that work for you. Growth is impossible without this
or an equivalent mindset.
Brave Thoughts for a Weak Economy
Two PR professionals, who have recently left the corporate nest to
strike out on their own, advise readers on the roller-coaster ride
Dynamics Of A PROACTIVE Business
Do you find yourself being Reactive to whatever comes along, whenever it comes?
Or are you Proactive and have tried to anticipated what's needed BEFORE it's needed?
Proactive vs. Reactive makes all the difference when it comes to your business and as an added benefit, it greatly reduces frustrations!