This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE.
Serial entrepreneur Seth Epstein recently gave a keynote address as part of the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Distinguished Lecture Series. During his inspirational talk, Seth shared six hands-on exercises that entrepreneurs can use to harness their fears.
Seth began his entrepreneurial career when he dropped out of the University of California, Santa Barbara at 19 years old to start a clothing company, which he eventually built into a national line of denim products featured at Nordstrom, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus.
Seth was also the Founder and CEO of FUEL, a broadcast design firm that Razorfish acquired for more than $30 million, and is an Emmy Award winner for his work rebranding ESPN’s X-Games.
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Seth’s comments are acutely applicable in today’s dismal economy. Stubbornly high unemployment, sluggish growth and ongoing regulatory uncertainties have contributed to make many entrepreneurs even more fearful that usual.
You can watch Seth’s 2-minute discussion of these six exercises below.
Fear is an unwelcome hindrance at all startups, where uncertainty and ambiguity are the norm. Entrepreneurs are constantly required to perform new tasks and overcome unexpected challenges. Thus, startup warriors must condition themselves to channel the adrenaline that naturally arises from fear of the unknown into motivational energy. Properly harnessed, fear can be inspiring.
Six Exercises To Harness Your Fears
Seth encourages entrepreneurs to pick one exercise per week from the list below that they find intimidating and execute it. If a particular task is unchallenging, skip it. As Seth notes in his talk, “These tools will expand your capacity to be successful. Do what you are afraid of, because in business, you will have to do…thing(s) that you are afraid (of) to be successful. You need to expand your capacity to deal with challenge. If you shy away from being unreasonable, when you are in business, you will shrink.”
1. Dating Up – ask someone on a date who others would think is “out of your league.” Note: only engage in this exercise if you are single, entrepreneurs do not need the added stress of a fractured relationship
2. Strange Talk – engage in a meaningful conversation with three strangers and identify at least three things you have in common with each person
3. Extreme Challenge – engage in a physical activity that you find intimidating, such as: bungee jumping, parachuting, white-water rafting, surfing, long-distance running, ocean swimming, etc.
4. Hero Courtship – contact someone you admire, the higher-profile and more seemingly unattainable the person, the better
5. Adventure – plan a challenging trip to a remote destination that will force you to call upon your resourcefulness
6. Be A Yes – for one week, say “Yes” to every (physically safe) opportunity you encounter
According to Seth, “You need to become a ‘Yes.’ Be a ‘Yes’ for one week to everything. Try it. It will feel awesome. You will meet people that you never would have met. You will learn things you would never learn. You will go places you would never go.”
If you enjoyed Seth’s advice, you might want to check out his 7 Tools of Entrepreneurial Awesomeness video.
Follow my startup-oriented Twitter feed here: @johngreathouse. I promise I will never Tweet about the weather, my awesome children or that killer burrito I just ate.