FEAR is Only as Strong as We Allow It to Be
Fear is real.
I’m not going to tell you that fear does not exist, that would not be true. But I can promise you this – you can own your fear and beat it! A great example of this was the first few weeks of March when COVID was breaking out and the stock market was down nearly 20%. At the company I serve as CEO, Merchants Fleet, we were at the tail end of a capital raise. Every day I was being asked; “Are we not going to be able to complete the Capital Raise? Is the Capital Raise off until after COVID19?”
My answer was the same every day to anyone and everyone that would listen; “Our company is as great today as it was yesterday, and if we embrace this pandemic and learn from it, we will be stronger tomorrow and an even better company to invest in.”
I wasn’t just saying that, I meant every word with every ounce of my being. Essentially, I was not letting fear set in, I was not giving fear an inch, I was not allowing fear to build its strength. But notice how the questions were posed to me – in the negative – meaning fear was taking root with others. As a leader, part of our job is to remove fear from those around us.
On Friday, March 13, 2020 at 11:02 am, we closed our Capital Raise of $50M with Bain Capital Credit. The first thing said to me was; “can you believe it, we actually got it done, boy are we lucky.”
Maybe, it was March and it was a few days before St. Patrick’s Day, but to me I always believed it, I knew it would get done and I don’t think luck played any part in it at all. In fact, we had planned a really great event on St. Patrick’s Day to announce the Capital Raise across our company.
However, instead of a celebration of our Capital Raise on St. Patrick’s Day, we broke out a Tough Times Playbook, and announced to our employees that we were sending them all home to work remote. So why not host a celebration and replace it with something scary we had not done before.
Simple – fear was headed our way and was now targeting our employees and there was no way we were going to let it gain strength. We followed Play 1 of our Tough Times Playbook – Focus on Employees First – Don’t Hide & Be Transparent. Our job was to work with each of our employees in a way that allowed for them to be comfortable and perform their job at the same level as they did in the office, and to instill a sense of normalcy. In other words, not let fear set in!
Over the next days, weeks and even months, there have been many, many opportunities for the company and for each of our team members to personally have let fear build its strength, and my message to them was equally simple – beat fear, inch-by-inch, day-by-day, instance-by-instance, don’t give in, you got this.
So, coming back to the opening line, Fear is Only As Strong As We Allow It To Be – it is up to you to fight fear, stare it down, embrace it, lean in, build your strength from others and never let fear gain any momentum. You got this, inch-by-inch.