And yet, while I've never talked with any of the above mentioned people about it, I suspect there was more fear involved than it appears like from the outside. I suspect, and maybe more to the point I hope, that some of them were terrified at one point or another as they built their enterprises from nothing. I hope that despite all the things those individuals were capable of, and then subsequently accomplished, that there was at least one point in their careers where fear crept in and made them wonder if they would be successful. I hope this, because if they were afraid, if even successful people were scared at times, it’ll make me feel better about my fear.
Don’t get me wrong. The fact that I’m afraid at times is in no way a reflection of my belief about what I’m capable. Nor is it a plea to hear praise of how successful I’m going to be. It is, however, a desire not to fail. I am genuinely afraid of failure. I am sure part of it extends from an improper definition of failure that I cling to, despite knowing what true success is. Part of it is that even though I know what I’m capable of, I have still failed in the past and there are so many variables beyond my control that I will very likely fail in the future. And lastly, I know myself well enough to know that just because I am capable of doing something, doesn’t mean I will do it.
I came across two videos today on the topic of storytelling. Quite providentially, these came briefly after my crisis of belief regarding the viability of this new business. They both reminded me of two things. One, the story is important. If you have a good story to tell, people will listen. And the same is true of others. If other people have a good story, you should listen. To me, a critical part of this business is about sharing stories. Two, if you are passionate about what you are doing you will have a good story. It’s the passionate people who are successful and I believe that is partly because they are uncompromising in their drive to succeed and partly because passionate people make good storytellers.
This first video is of Gary Vaynerchuk, who is a little over the top, and a little in your face. He describes, with a bit of a colorful tongue, the importance of storytelling in marketing. I’m familiar with Gary from his days building the Wine Library (a wine store in NJ) and his crazy videos called "Wine Library TV." He has since moved on and now runs a company called VaynerMedia which focuses on bringing Fortune 500 companies into the digital age of social media.
The second video is a TEDx talk by Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery. Sam founded Dogfish Head back in 1995 making beer twelve gallons at a time. They now make their beer in a 100,000 square foot facility, brew over twenty different styles and are sold in twenty-six states. In this video, Sam describes how Dogfish Head grew to what it is today and how they use history to help shape the future.