Ryan Berman may be the perfect definition of an entrepreneur.
After all, only a non-entrepreneur would think it makes sense to sit back and enjoy the monetary success and rewards that come after 5 years of sacrificing time, energy, and money with your co-founders to build one of the most respected branding agencies in the country servicing marquee brands from Hilton, Caesars, and Qualcomm, to the U.S. Ski Team.
Not Ryan. There is no courage in that.
Serial entrepreneurs are like any extreme mountain climber that has just reached the summit on Mt. Everest and returned safely back to base camp. There is no time to stay comfortable. It's time to plan how they will do it again (this time without oxygen), or maybe barefoot-yeah nobody has done that yet.
The I.D.E.A. Brand is a certified B-corp that has grown to $12 million in revenue, has 60+ employees, and boasts a client list that is the envy of any agency in just over 5 years. Ryan served as Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder up until a few weeks ago when he walked away from his very stable corporate salary that he created for himself to launch another social-good startup called Sock Problems which is tackling some of society's largest problems with nothing but several pairs of colorful socks. It's an even bolder new social good e-commerce business model that pays between 25-50 percent of gross profits to non-profit partners, and it's a much larger slice of the profit pie than even Tom's Shoes' buy-one-give-one social good model. They even have a Sock-it-Meter that explains their giving model and displays how the successful growth of a particular SKU means more social good to its related cause.
When his story appeared in my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, I fell in love with his blog post on what it takes to manufacture courage daily and build a courageous culture and have paraphrased his framework into three steps below to help you get a return on courage in your life and business.
Step 1: Gather Knowledge
One of the fundamental truths of life is the old saying that "There is no new opportunity inside of our current comfort zone". Our comfort zone is universally constituted by what we know (and believe) and what we know we don't know. Outside of our comfort zone are all of the things (bits of knowledge) that we simply don't know we don't know. Your journey towards living more courageously begins with a habitual pursuit of the unknown. Lifelong learners exude far more courage than the rest of us simply because their habit of continual knowledge seeking is a force mechanism that opens up their self-awareness and outward awareness of the unknown and known.
As you and I build our knowledge base we stretch the outer boundaries of our current levels of awareness and reveal new challenges and their associated opportunities into our stream of conscious activity. Entrepreneurs like Ryan who do this will find it very hard to ignore these bright new shiny objects that appear first as "market inefficiencies, social injustices, technological problems/vulnerabilities, etc.".
Step 2: Build Faith
If courage is the outward manifestation of our primary attitude, then it is important that we define what attitude is. Attitude is simply the sum total of our dominant thoughts, feelings, and actions. In a metaphysical sense, this would be described as our primary state of vibration.
Faith is not exclusively a religious activity but a mental (mindset) manifestation available to all humanity.
When new opportunities enter our awareness they first appear as either "demands" or "risks" and whenever we are presented with a demand or risk, our mind offers us two options. The first is what can simply be thought of as an escape hatch. The escape hatch builds its case off of your negative feelings (emotions) and lack of faith in your newly acquired knowledge (which is why gathering new knowledge consistently is a great antidote). The escape hatch is sensible because it is wrapped neatly in all of the data from your prior expectations and results and offers you a safe retreat back into the safety of your comfort zone.
But new results don't live there. To get new results you must start with new expectations.
To build faith you must first set new expectations. As you begin to build strength and internal support in those new expectations you will begin to believe in them, which turns your expectations into actual beliefs. Over time as you give more mental energy and conviction to these new beliefs you will build the requisite faith (and trust) that those beliefs will hold true.
This is why entrepreneurs who first expected of themselves that they could make something valuable out of nothing, and have allowed themselves to believe that they have that power over time, then build an unwavering faith in their ability to do that on-demand when something stimulates them to tackle a new challenge.
Step 3: Take Action
The battle between your comfort zone and the new opportunity will be fought and won the same way every time. First, your escape hatch will create the emotion of worry. If you give in to worry, then it will develop into anxiety, and if you give energy to the anxiety you will manifest a paralyzing fear and hit a proverbial terror barrier.
However, the courageous brand leaders realize this upfront and follow steps one and two above to gather knowledge and build faith in the new expectations to such a furious boil that when the worry sticks up its head, you realize this pattern playing out again and is nothing more than the current comfort zone trying to hold you back.
Bust through this arbitrary terror barrier with massive action in the direction of your dreams and experience the freedom that comes only from being courageous and pursuing life without fear.
Now you have a roadmap to predictably manifest more courage in your life and business.