Do you have a fear of winning?
One of the best enlightened serial entrepreneurs (and USAF Veteran to boot) that are around today that has changed my views of being an entrepreneur is Steve Blank. He has a great blog post below that I’m going to translate into the Christian view from the Bible.
Run your race!
What attracts me to his comments and others is that I’m always on the lookout for wisdom in the real world. When I find something, I go back to my Bible and see how the wisdom relates to what the Bible has to say about the subject. The more good wisdom I correlate in the Bible, the more it solidifies what I need to learn and engrain in what I do daily.
His comments were about the differences how the “fear of failure” is viewed between both startups and corporations. While the words may be the same, how it is defined in the context of a startup or corporation changes the behaviors of those doing the work. It is the behaviors that make the difference.
Blank’s “Fear of failure and lack of speed” blog post concerns two different businesses: for startups it is the “failing to win,” while for corporations it is the “failing by making a mistake.” The differences between startups versus corporations:
- In a startup “fear of failure” drives speed and urgency.
- In a large company “fear of failure” inhibits speed and risk.
Now to see how this translates for a Christian startup entrepreneur.
Fear of Sinning – Stop Light
Having a “fear of sinning” means you don’t go where you’re not suppose to go. But per Blank’s assertion in the corporate world, the “fear of failure” can also hinder your efforts in business to not make any mistake, thus hindering innovation and trying new ideas.
As it has been said, the Ten Commandments are not a fence to keep us in, but guardrails to keep us from danger. A guardrail allows one to travel anywhere one wants, a long as you stay on the road (discussing off 4×4 off road trail blazing travel is for another discussion). This boundary keeps us so that we continue to do good versus crossing the line and getting into bad situations.
However, too often the “fear of sinning” actually causes the guardrail to be changed to a fence, from where God had originally placed it. Jesus actually spoke of the idea here.
Mark 2:27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
By changing God’s guardrail to a fence man has changed what God has intended. It keeps us from attempting and actually doing good.
The Jewish leaders spent far more time finding ways that displease God, finding more ways that we sin against Him than serve for Him in our day-to-day lives.
Fear of Winning – Caution Light
The caution yellow light can be translated into a “fear of winning.” You’ve moved past the “no go” zone of the red light and are moving into an area of caution. These are gray areas of life that may not be readily determined what is good and bad. A caution light means that a change is occurring, so be discerning of what will be going on as you move forward.
But with a “fear of winning” it means you’re cautious and we limit or have been told to limit ourselves from doing certain things, like limiting our performance. When you look at the parable of the talents, all three slaves were given different amounts to invest: one got five, another got two, and the third slave go one talent. The first two maximized their efforts 100% while the third slave buried his talent. So winning from God’s perspective is maximizing ALL of your talents in performing or doing good deeds for Him, not burying your talents.
The caution is about getting off road with your own thing, but ensuring you follow His road with your maximum level of performance. If He has given you a highway to travel on, why are you stuck doing 30 MPH? God has given you permission to perform, don’t follow limiting performance behaviors that God has never designed you to do. Doing wrong, the red light, is the jumping over the guardrail, not doing right what God has called you to do is just as bad.
Fear of Losing – Go Light
In the startup world there is the “fear of failure,” but that fear is rooted in not becoming successful.
When it comes to God, here is the perfect Bible verse in James 1 regarding this idea.
Jas 1:2-6 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
The word “ask” is the Greek translates into “you are commanded to continually keep on asking God” for wisdom. The word “generously” is the only time in Greek this word is used and while you can use words like “simply, openly, frankly, and sincerely,” it is best to translate it as “led solely by his desire to bless.” God is led solely by His desire to bless you. So it begs the question: Is there a limit to His blessings? No. So why do we limit God.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Ask according to His will, and watch Him perform, so that we can perform, and we’ll reap the rewards in heaven.
2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
Do NOT miss out of your full reward, so find the right road God wants you on and go full throttle to receive your full reward. If you notice runners as they near the finish line, they let up. John say here, “Don’t let up so you will receive your FULL reward!”
I leave you with this final verse that says it all.
Pro 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it.
Run your race to the fullest so you’ll receive your full reward.