I’m a firm believer that experience is not always a good thing. It’s especially true in our professional lives. I’m sure most of us can think of a time when an irrational fear blocked us from pursuing meaningful work. Of course, we all need to manage our concerns, but lack of knowing what’s beyond the horizon can be exhilarating.
Lack of experience is a blank canvas. It’s a new adventure. It’s leaping without the baggage that could be dragging you down.
All our decisions in life are a direct result of our experiences. Less experience can be a significant advantage. Less experience means that someone is more willing to jump in with both feet.
Had I known what it would be like running a company, I’m not sure that I would have leaped with as much enthusiasm. My slower movement has nothing to do with my love of my business and the joys of building a company; it’s just a natural reaction to a known reality. Calling it PTSD is a bit dramatic, but it’s not dissimilar. Fear of the unknown is a powerful asset for entrepreneurs.
It reminds me of time during my youth when I was trying out for organized football for the first time. Having no idea what was coming, I was able to be more aggressive because I had no idea what it felt like to have my “bell rung,” a term for that moment when you get hit, and you see a flash of light. After that first big hit, I modified my approach slightly, but my initial naiveite helped me make the team.
It’s the same in business. Being naïve has been an asset to me. There have been times where I wish I had more exposure to specific situations that would have been a bit easier to manage, but overall, it’s been a significant advantage. I may have been naïve, but I was not jaded and was free from any irrational fears that a past of failed experiences would have brought forth.
On the other hand, having failures in business is critical. It’s not possible to grow a business without having experienced failure. Not getting it right with a new hire, inability to convince an investor, or close a sales deal all are applicable.
There’s a cliché’ phrase out there – “Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens.” I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, our fears sometimes prevent us from realizing this for ourselves.
You can’t grow a business without specific knowledge gained from giving things a shot, failing, then trying something else. Failure is not something to be afraid of – it is the essence of success. Lack of experience in business helps to remove any unnecessary fears from starting.
Running a business is hard. It’s painful. It’s lonely. But arguably the most gratifying work of a person’s life. So get to it.