When Success is as Scary as Failure

Dec 10, 2015, Written by Sue Miley

Success is Failure

When I was in the corporate world, I usually focused my attention on the next position, the next rung on the corporate ladder. I was young and I thought that was the only plan…to move up. So, I was always looking at the next role I wanted to fill and how I could learn enough and help enough to get there.

The funny thing is…how I felt when I got there. I was usually scared to death. I specifically remember my key jumps:

  • From Doer (Independent Producer) to Supervisor – I was now responsible for other people and my performance depended on them.
  • From Finance to Marketing – My education and experience to date were in finance and after years of begging (I worked for it and asked for it), I was in a marketing role…now what?
  • From Marketing Manager to Controller – I wanted to be the Controller before I even wanted marketing, but I didn’t have an accounting degree or a CPA. Now that they had given it to me, I worried…could I really do the technical work?
  • From Controller to Division President – I worked extra hours trying to help all of the start-up divisions because I really wanted to run my own piece. The division I got was not only new to me, but it was new to the whole company.

And then I shifted my whole world to starting my own business.

Success Is Scary

You own your own business, too. It isn’t for the faint of heart, is it?

We worry that the concept won’t work and…then what will we do?

We start to grow but we don’t even have a supply cabinet…how can we be a real business?

We have employees and offices and other fixed expenses. What will we do if it stops working? How will we sustain the success?

After awhile, you start to wonder if there is any step that isn’t scary. Is there ever a time that you can just enjoy your business (hopefully your calling)?

I am sure my revelations came on many a late night, can’t sleep, be careful what you wish for, journaling sessions, but I believe that enjoying our lives in this world requires stepping stones…a path that God lays before us.

God is a creative God, there is no doubt, however, He is also a God of order. So, regardless of your personality type, we all need order in our business development to build our foundation strong enough to weather the storms.

Ultimately, our success is a lot less scary if we:

  1. …have a vision for our business. Rather than heading out in a direction, trying to gain customers/revenues by doing a little of this and that, having a strong picture of what your business purpose is and what it will look like in 5-10 years from now if you are successful, helps you to not only create the success, but to recognize it as success.
  2. …are building the right team. We are limited in what we can do on our own. I believe one of the key factors to long-term, continued success is having the right people in the right positions on your team. If every team member embraces the vision, and has the skills and talents to perform the job you need, success comes easier and you feel like you have help to sustain it. All of the weight of your success isn’t on your shoulders.
  3. …create a foundation of processes and systems to support a growing business. This is a step that we often skip because when our business is small, we don’t want to add cumbersome processes, or busy-work, to your day. You’d rather spend the time getting business and fulfilling the customer’s order. However, without this foundation, growth creates chaos. This is a key reason that many times our success scares us. We may not realize it, however, deep down we know we don’t have the infrastructure to support the ongoing growth.
  4. …develop a point of difference and niche to serve. Once we have added people and systems we have the additional burden of fixed costs. We can’t sustain this organization without consistent business and a full pipeline. When we don’t have any real competitive advantage and have tried to be everything to everyone, we do not have a consistent message to keep people coming into our sales funnel. We have to stop working and go out and hustle up more business. With a key differentiator for our business and focusing on a specific target audience, we can efficiently and cost-effectively market to this customer while we continue to do the work for current customers.
  5. …step out in faith and trust that God has the rest. If we do our part, and we follow our faith and our Christian values as we build our business, at some point we have to trust that God’s plan, at this point, will sustain us. As a Christian, we know God gives us everything, even the vision to begin with. We know that He wants the best for us as He states in Jeremiah 29:11. We also know that He wants us to put our Christian values in all aspects of our lives, even our business. This means things like being a good steward of the resources He provides and loving others (treating others well). When we have these bases covered, fear is translated to not having faith.

Fear is not having faith.

That is the reality check for me. If I followed the path of my Christian values and the business acumen God gave me, then why I am scared? If it is working and I am growing, why don’t I trust that God has me?

There is no logical reason. There is no God reason.
We are left with one thing…
Have faith.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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