Entrepreneur Beginners Guide
“Push beyond Your Fear”
As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it. —Chanakya, Indian philosopher
When I pulled through the grand entrance and saw the massive race track, I was overcome by a gripping fear. I could only see a few turns of the track, but the part I saw was enough to give me a shot of adrenaline, the kind that makes your stomach ache and gives you a metallic taste in your mouth. I had raced tracks, giving me an inflated sense of confidence, but this was the real deal, a challenging track used for professional and amateur sports car and motorcycle races.
That sunny Saturday morning, I arrived at Road Atlanta, a 2.54-mile track located about an hour north of Atlanta, Georgia. The track hosts the famous Petit Le Mans race, an annual sports car en-durance race that draws over one hundred thousand fans. It was declared one of the best road courses in Car and Driver magazine in 2010. My client, Cadillac, invited me that day to their touring Cadillac V-Lab event, which allows VIP attendees to experience the 556 horsepower of the world’s fastest luxury sedan, the Cadillac CTS-V.
After drag racing, short-course laps, and sessions on driving technique, the day culminated with racing on the track at full speed. My fear had subsided over the course of the day, but when our instructors summoned us to the pits, it returned with almost crippling intensity. The roaring engines and cars whipping past at speeds well over one hundred miles per hour fueled my anxiety. Nevertheless, I put on My face guard, grabbed my helmet, anti found my game face.
What intimidates me most about the track, or at least the part I
could see, were the elevation changes, They were visually terrifying. I would later find out that the elevation changes were the least in of my worries. During my test run on the track, I encountered the track’s famous or infamous “esses.” I wasn’t even going full speed, but I quickly lost my bearings and ended up running off the track. My instructor had to grab the wheel of the car to, get me back on course. I was so embarrassed. From that point on, I was especially anxious, but eager to prove myself.
Nevertheless, I eventually recovered after a few more test runs and made a comeback. My fear gradually turned into excitement. On the straightaway part of the track, I reached 124 mph, a speed that I had never reached in a car on a race track. Despite running off the track earlier and allowing the esses to get to my psyche, I left my fear in the dust. I was able to complete a full-throttle run in a respectable time..
As I reflect on that exhilarating day, I realize that starting a business is similar in many ways. What it takes to be a successful race car driver is the perfect metaphor for what it takes to be a great entrepreneur. While you are excited for the journey ahead, you often must overcome your fears of failure and the unknown. The entrepreneurial path, just like a race track, has chicanes, undulating esses, tight hairpins, variations in elevation, and several twists and turns. All of these obstacles can cause fear.
But even if you are frightened and run off the road like I did, you push forward. You grab the wheel and step on the gas pedal, pushing through your inhibitions. Your commitment to the goal overcomes your trepidation, and that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about.