Trying something new can be intimidating for anyone, whether it’s starting a blog, launching a new product, beginning a coaching business or taking a dance class for the first time.
It brings up all sorts of insecurities, feelings of vulnerability or overwhelm.
I felt this when, while visiting New York City, a friend invited me as a guest to take his flamenco dance class. Now, mind you, I have a dance background, but I’d never taken a flamenco class. I was afraid of looking stupid, worried that I would be a total klutz, felt like I wouldn't be a “real” dancer if I failed, and that I wouldn't be the best in the class.
And then some…
After a few, initial missteps, a funny thing happened. I let all of that go and just got into the thrill of it all. By the end of class, I surprised myself. I was flying across the room, feeling the emotion and drama of flamenco, being on my own, little stage.
And I learned something more important: nobody cares. Nobody cares if you make a mistake; they’re too busy trying to do their best, and aren't worried about your missteps.
My story of my first flamenco lesson has some good lessons for anyone trying to grow as an entrepreneur as well. Here are some tips to remember if you're trying to get over a fear of leaping into uncharted territory:
1. Push through your mistakes.
People will remember how you made them feel, not the little imperfections that only you notice. In my years as a performer, I made plenty of mistakes on stage — but I just kept going. The only one who knew was me.
2. Reach out.
Accept help from others. My flamenco teacher was with me every step of the way, guiding and encouraging me. Surround yourself with helpers, people who believe in you, not the naysayers.
3. Make the adage, “Start before you’re ready” your mantra.
Remember that everything you need is already inside of you. Trust that. Perfectionism is a defeater. I realized that my tap dance lessons in grade school were coming back to me to help me with the flamenco rhythms.
4. Think about the big picture, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Just think about how awesome it will feel when you’ve launched that first product, finished that first coaching call with your very first client or had your first showing at an art gallery — you'll be flying high with the sense of accomplishment.
5. Never, never feel like you’re too old to try something new.
Diana Nyad was the first to swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida without a shark cage — at age 64. The artist Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was well into her seventies! Just remember those ladies when you’re worried about making everything perfect.
So, start before you’re ready and remember these words from Yogi Berra: “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.”