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Startup entrepreneurs need to have the guts and confidence to take on “the world” with their new idea. But as with any new idea, most are bound to get butterflies in their stomach. But here’s how to look at them

  • Butterflies in your stomach – this is a normal reaction toward fear of the unknown, some of you have small butterflies, others have BIG butterflies in their stomach. Some have so many BIG ones that they become paralyzed by their fears to the point of inaction.
  • No butterflies in your stomach – You never want to NOT to have butterflies in your stomach. If you get to know any US fighter pilots, Marines or Army, you’ll understand their fearlessness about their job. But they still get butterflies. It’s when you do NOT have them that is of cause of concern.
  • Getting your butterflies to fly in formation – here’s the answer to most people’s view of a certain situation: never have no fear, but control your fear to get you through what you need to do.

If you want to know more about the lessons learned about butterflies, just read about the account of Captain Sully, the airline pilot that landed his plane into the Hudson. What are the lessons:

  1. Push yourself to your limitswhen you learn to fly each aircraft has a unique “flight envelop” which it stays within and pilots learn what these boundaries are. You need to learn your personal envelope to see what you are capable of including whether or not you can sing on American Idol. This means putting oneself into various situations and learning to get out of them over and over so that it becomes second nature to you, not a “it could never happen to me” reaction.
  2. Build confidence by training, humbled to know more –  is built by doing #1 above and learning and doing the skills correctly, over time, many time, and not overnight. But you have to define, learn, and faithfully apply the best lessons learned over time. There is a certain protocol of a good life, learn it and live it.
  3. Discipline and take care of yourself first – (butterflies flying in formation) is the correct mental attitude. Have you ever flown in an airline and the cabin depressurizes? What do they say do? Put the O2 mask on yourself FIRST, THEN on those around you. Pilots call it having a “deliberate calm,” because staying calm under fraught circumstances requires both conscious effort and regular practice.
  4. Be a leader – being a leader is not about being dictatorial, “It’s about me,” or creating a “dictatorial fear” about doing something, but one of taking responsibility for you and those around you. Invert the organizational pyramid, and serving leaders is what it’s about.
  5. Share both the good and the bad – when it comes to things that turn out. If it’s good, then congratulate the effort, if  it turns out bad, figure out how to prevent and prepare for it in the future. Tell the truth.
  6. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst – circumstances are never planned for, they just happen, it’s about “what if” this could happen and then planning some actions based on the inputs.
  7. Job is not done until you’re home – Sully’s job did not end once he hit the water, it ended when he got home after all of the things were completed. He checked his plane twice to ensure everyone was out. He

Bottom line – Sully’s USAF military training of his mission, discipline, and responsibility never left him, even in the business world.


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