Finding the courage to embrace change and take chances is the only way to succeed. We’ve asked some of our favorite industry power players and business innovators to share stories of how #MakingChange worked for them, as it relates to the ’10 Rules to Future-Proof yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty,’ rolling out one new rule each week.
Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local
Question: How did you get where you are today?
Dave Kerpen: The story of my first company is pretty unique. We got married and started a company at the same time; we ended up getting our wedding sponsored and paid for—to the tune of $100,000 in sponsorships and $20,000 for charity. It was a great day because I married to the love of my life, but also turned out to be an incredibly successful marketing event for our business. At first, we were worried about getting married in such a public and unorthodox fashion, but we were able to move beyond that fear. I’m very happy we did.
Q: On the topic of fear, do you think there’s always a certain amount of discomfort when you attempt something big?
DK: Courage is perseverance in the face of fear. Recently, I was teaching a lesson on courage for my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and I told this story of a girl who witnessed another girl getting picked on, and how she stood up to the bully. I asked everyone to tell me what courage meant to them, and one girl said, “It’s doing the right thing.” Then, my daughter said that the other part is “being afraid in the first place.” I was so proud of her for saying that, because if you’re not afraid, it’s not courage.
I think our society tends to discount fear, especially with boys and young men, who are taught from an early age never be afraid. I take the opposite approach—there’s always something to be afraid of. In fact, I’m afraid of lots of things every single day. But to me, courage is both accepting and persevering in the face of fear, and going forward anyway.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in business?
DK: I don’t think fear ever really goes away, but you must continue to be courageous in the face of challenges. I’m afraid of failure, I’m afraid of being laughed at, I’m afraid of being rejected, I’m afraid of making big mistakes–those are some of the biggest ones. To face your fears, you can’t look at them rationally, because if you do you’re going to stop yourself. You have to say, “I accept this, but I won’t let it get in the way of my goals.” Most days it will work out well, but if its doesn’t, tomorrow is always a new day.
Q: What is one of the biggest risks you have ever taken?
DK: Starting a business. Despite the success of the wedding, my wife and I both had full-time jobs and we had a child from Carrie’s first marriage to support. It was a huge risk to go off on our own, but I found myself wanting more. So two years ago, I ended up launching a social media software company for small businesses. It was tremendously risky but I knew I had to do it.
Actually, my wife will get a kick out of this, but in my JDate profile back in my single days, I had a quote: “You can’t experience the wonderful without risking the terrible.” I would say that’s still true. It’s certainly true in business. The bigger game you want to have, the more risk it’s going to take.
Share your stories of how Turning Anxiety into Awareness and #MakingChange has helped you succeed. Post to your socials with the hashtag #MakingChange and find your stories on makechangeworkforyou.com/blog.