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What If?

I can’t deny the dragon I’ve been hunting all these years when I finally feel its breath.
Michael Johnson

I have been thriving on the idea of our coffee cart for month now. It has been energizing me. Now that we have had to start putting our talk into action, I have found myself paralyzed. No fresh ideas, constant doubts, completely shooting myself in the foot. This became evident when we recently met with the roaster we wanted to partner with. I realized I was stuck in the negative lane of “what if’s.”

The moment we decided we were going to approach this roaster for our concept I filled myself with worry and doubt. I began asking myself, “What if….”

What if she hates it?

What if she doesn’t want to work with us?

What if she takes our idea and gives us the finger?

What if she loves it and wants to jump right into it?

All of those questions were negative. I usually try to maintain a realistic approach to everything, dealing with what is at hand. All of a sudden I became a worrier. My business partner kept telling me to stop and that he was confident in our concept and the partnership with the roaster. So why was I obsessively worrying? My thought is that there are two reasons:

I was worrying because this is something that I love dearly and want to succeed with everything I have. If this roaster was to refuse us, it would have meant the end of my dream. Is this correct? No, it’s irrational. We could have sought out another roaster and continued to pursue the dream. I was worried because of the fear of failure; the fear of being judged and found wanting.

I was also worried because the roaster may love the idea and want to get it going. That seems strange, I know, but it’s not. I felt unprepared for the meeting. I felt like I needed to have my cart built and proof that I am an amazing barista before I could actually start anything. This is funny because I tell my business partner that we can’t wait until we have everything figured out before we move, otherwise we will never move. (Hypocrite!) The truth was that we were very ready and we were very ready for the meeting. So, why the irrational fear? It is the same fear as before, but with a different face. It was the fear of failure. If the roaster was to take us up on the concept, then I would be out in the public. What if I fail? Everyone will kno! What if…What if…What if?

“What if” is a two way street though. What does it sound like if we turn this around? What if this works? What if it is awesome? What if it makes my dreams come true? What if I win? That sounds a lot better to me.

Starting a business is hard and scary, but we can’t be our own worst enemies. There will be plenty of other enemies. We need to be our own greatest fans. In the end the only thing that will matter is if you believe in yourself.

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