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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin

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Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Confidence is not the absence of fear but the ability to find your way forward despite that anxiety.

When generating revenues, managing cash flow, or hiring the right people, most founders have some fear of uncertainty. You always face an uncertain economy, shifting market, and changing stakeholders. You choose how to handle the uncertainty.

I encourage founders to optimize options and improve outcomes by embracing doubt, planning scenarios, and adapting based on metrics.

Accept Ambiguity

Thereโ€™s a perception in business that founders love risk. Most founders I know accept a level of risk but want to avoid it whenever possible.

When faced with the unknown, see it as an opportunity, not a crisis.

Hard times can drive new opportunities. For instance, major companies such as Airbnb, Slack, and Mailchimp started around the 2008 recession.

Remember this Chinese proverb:

โ€œWhen the winds of change rage,

some build shelters,

while others build windmills."

Knowing a crisis can lead to opportunity will open your mind.

Opt for Options

While you cannot predict the future, you can prepare for certain possibilities.

Create scenarios for expected, much better, and much worse outcomes. Then, build budgets, processes, and staffing plans for each.

To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower, although the plans may not apply when we face a major crisis, planning crucially forces us to prepare useful options.*

Assess business strengths holistically across growth, product, customer success, RevOps, people, and leadership.** Address the top needs.

Adapt Accordingly

Anticipating uncertainty, you can train your mind to be flexible and open to more possibilities. Consider these approaches to best prepare:

Be creative. Consume fiction, art, and videos outside your normal space as ways to strengthen your imagination.

Be curious. Experiment with new ideas, technologies, and systems to learn what works while mitigating the risk involved.***

Be diverse. Engage with advisors, teams, and customers with diverse experiences and perspectives to gain valuable insights and feedback.

Be exploratory. Visit new places, attend other industries' events, and try different hobbies to learn how other groups get things done.

Be learned. Consume books, stories, articles, and podcasts across fields.

Be open. Seek candid feedback from a small network of challengers who always will push you to improve.****

Darwin observed that โ€œthe most adaptable to change" are more likely to survive evolution.

While the future is uncertain, successful leaders evolve by facing their fears confidently, planning accordingly, and moving forward quickly.


* โ€œIn preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.โ€ โ€“ Dwight D. Eisenhower

** Build Scale Grow offers a 5-minute assessment that looks across all these areas. Reach out to for more information.

*** Read โ€œThrive with a Growth Mindsetโ€ to learn more

**** More about Challenge Networks

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