P.O.O.R. in Your Business? Using a Mastermind to Overcome Fear

(Image: Thinkstock)

This weekend I attended a day-long business mastermind event. Along with 15 other businesspeople, I dug deep into my enterprise and came away with new relationships and strategies to implement my goals, and a belly full of fire. Each of us attended with the intention of obtaining the tools we’d need to achieve specific goals in our business. Although the participants’ businesses range from nascent ideas to well-established businesses with multi-year track records, we each gained the valuable and more importantly, applicable, tools we sought.


What It Means to Be P.O.O.R

The first time we take any chance our new course of action in our business it can be daunting. Whether it’s quitting our job to pursue our passion full-time, signing the first office space lease or making a first hire, even after crunching the numbers and making the decision to act, these can be scary steps to take and challenge our resolve in ways we couldn’t previously imagine.

Two of the entrepreneurs in the mastermind were attending with the intention of taking away a strategy for scaling their businesses and positioning for growth. What they were surprised to find was that, like Dorothy in the Wiz, what they needed was inside of them all along. After presenting and then answering questions from the facilitators and their peers it was revealed that in each case the business owners had turned away business because they felt that they lacked the resources to meet demand-whether that was an additional person to perform certain tasks or days off from a ‘day job’ to take advantage of an opportunity to travel across country to provide services to a high profile, high net worth client.

The other participants were flabbergasted as we listened. Here the business owners were looking for opportunities to grow and they’d been turning away the opportunities when they appeared! It is often easier to see the splinter in your neighbor’s eye than in your own, which is one of the many benefits of masterminding with others for your business. One of the participants finally said that these entrepreneurs were ‘Passing Over Opportunities Repeatedly’—P.O.O.R. Ouch, yet good. Wow. What a way to think about missed opportunities.

What’s Really Holding You Back?

I’ve heard it said that people don’t always recognize opportunities because they come disguised as hard work. Well, there are many entrepreneurs who have put in the hard work, but they’re afraid to let go, to move to the next level even though it’s what they say they want. I heard a millionaire say that making the first $1,000,000 is the hardest. And that even if he lost it all today, he would not fear making his millions back, because he’d already accomplished the hardest part. He’d never have to make his ‘first’ million dollars ever again.

Fear is the operative word. Fearing that we will fail or make a wrong decision or a right decision at the wrong time has held back many an entrepreneur, often stagnating the business and leading to unwelcome outcomes. Starting a business and making it successful is scary enough, and just when you reach a point where you want to move to the next level you realize that it will require taking risks again like you did to reach your current level. Calculated risks, but risks nonetheless.

You can’t swing from one vine to the next without letting go of the vine behind. If you try to hold on to both, well you get the idea. Not only do you lose your forward-moving momentum and hang in place, but if you don’t have a net under you, it may be a long painful drop should you be forced to let go of both vines. My takeaway from this mastermind experience was: (1) getting outside objective feedback from a different perspective in a safe environment is a requirement for any business to succeed and definitely for growth; and (2) which was said by one of the facilitators, “When your problem is just growth you’re ripe for investment.”

Now that’s something you can take to the bank and be P.O.O.R. no more!

Your turn. Is there a next-level opportunity that you’ve turned away because it would take you outside of your comfort zone? Share your thoughts and strategies for next level thinking in your business below, I’d love to hear from you.

Michelle Y. Talbert, Esq. is a DC-based, NY-bred relationship strategist and social media content producer. She produces and co-hosts the popular weekly podcast “They Met Online…,” in addition to writing about successful relationship strategies in business and in love. She’s a passionate non-techie startup founder and was a member of the 2014 Lean Startup DC contest winning team. Connect with her on Twitter @MichelleTalbert and LinkedIn.