When I first moved to New York City from the Midwest, I had $200 in my pocket and a degree in chemistry and English. My dream was to change the face of Wall Street, and it's not an exaggeration to say that I was full of fear. Wait, no. Scratch that. It was terror. Unmitigated, sweaty-palms, shaking-in-my-shoes TERROR.
In the end, it turned out that my fear, as overwhelming as it was, showed me the right path to follow, not what to avoid. All the symptoms of fear were pointing to success -- I just needed to put in the work.
Here's why you should do the same.
Innovators embrace the unknown
Before the Wright Brothers, flying was for Icarus and birds, and Icarus died trying to do it.
On a good day, the Wright Brothers were heartlessly mocked, and the rest of the time they were simply ignored. Even the press in their tiny Ohio town didn't bother writing about their invention. Nevertheless, they stuck to their guns, and they changed the world.
When I started LexION Capital, the idea of a woman starting a fiduciary wealth management firm was not exactly encouraged. Many people thought I was crazy when I said I'd accept clients who had less than a million dollars. I know they thought I was crazy, because they said so to my face.
Nevertheless, I embraced my concept, and I was able to make waves--huge waves -- in the financial world. And I keep doing it every day.
When you try to do something that nobody else has tried to do, you have the potential to create revolutionary change. You have the power to create something radically your own.
Success can be redefined
When you set high goals, you're going to miss them sometimes. But progress is nonlinear, and it's always in motion.
Every year, thousands of people run in the New York City Marathon. A lot of them never finish, but that doesn't mean that they failed. It means they ran 20 miles.
Every failure is about perspective. So even if your radical idea doesn't succeed, you still made an immense positive impact. Instead of focusing on the finish line, put your goals into perspective and realize that any step forward is a success in its own right.
No plan is set in stone
In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver wanted nothing more than to create a super-strong glue. It wasn't for lack of trying, but no matter what he did, his invention barely held anything together. By any rational standard, this was a disaster.
Well, this disaster ended up becoming the Post-It Note. Today, it's one of the most successful products in 3M history, and every office has that employee who can only remember his login and password because it's on a Post-It Note that's stuck to his monitor.
First business models rarely pan out, but successful owners don't throw up their hands and accept defeat when that happens. They adjust. They adjust thousands of times if they have to, until it works.
Even if your plan fails, it can still have an impact. By modifying it, you can make it successful, even if it isn't what you originally intended.