Saddle Up

Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011



I went on a brewery tour last week and I learned that even (or especially) the most successful people are terrified of failure.

First, a story: I love beer.

My love affair with beer began on a business trip to Germany, I found every pub had their own beer and it was downright amazing. They even drink beer with their breakfast—how cool is that? Also, I had some wonderful friends and co-workers that introduced me to micro-brews that reinforced the idea that there was such a thing as great beer.

Since then, those that know me—know I love beer—and only good beer! So my buddy got me a tickets to the New Glarus Brewery tour and we headed up there last Friday.

It’s an inspiring story. Founded in 1993 by a Master Brewer and his Entrepreneur wife (Daniel and Deborah Carey) with only $40,000 in capital. They have grown rapidly—including 64% in the last three years—all while only selling beer in Wisconsin. As a part of the tour, we got a chance to talk to Dan Carey. He shared some of his vision for the company. He also demonstrated how passionate he was about the brewery and the people working alongside him.

We got a chance to ask him some questions so I asked him a question that I’m pretty sure he hasn’t heard that often from a weekly tour:

“What keeps you up at night?”

He took a deep breath. Then another.

When he finally spoke, out came pouring all the things he is worried about. He talked at length about the burden of leadership—how he felt responsible for not only his own family but also for all the employees and their families. He was truly carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Finally he ended his answer to me with one phrase, “fear of failure.”

The words hung out there as he landed on the biggest thing that keeps him up at night. I couldn’t help but be moved with compassion towards him but also struck by the irony of his statement. Here before me was one of (if not THE) top brewery executives in the world with 18 years of unbridled business and personal successes and yet he is haunted by the fear of failure.

Aren't we all.

I’m terrified that I won’t be the dad my kids need me to be. I’m afraid that this business I’m building will need to close shop because I screw up my taxes. I’m scared that my clients won’t find the life change or business improvement that I know coaching provides.

So what do I do with all that fear? What does Dan Carey do with it? Well, as John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

Be courageous today! Do it anyway! Screw up, succeed, it doesn’t matter. Just get moving and headed towards what you want.

You won’t get to Tulsa sitting on your butt.


Check out our last 6 eNewsletters:

November 4, 2016--Crossing the Continental Divide (Both Literally and Metaphorically)


May 13, 2016-Are You Embracing Your Goo?

April 6, 2016--Micromanagement is Good Management


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