As an inventor, what do you fear? Do you fear that someone is going to steal your idea? Are you afraid of making that first phone call to a potential licensee? Do you have a fear of not knowing what to say to cut a great deal? And finally, do you fear that you might not do everything right?
These are common fears. These are fears I have had and still have. I’d love to be able to say that I’ve banished these fears, that I’ve conquered my insecurities, and am fearless, damnit. But that’s simply not true. I can’t tell you to “get over” your fears or pretend they don’t exist. We all live and manage our fears every day. As inventors, we just have more than our fare share of them. We’re faced with thrilling possibilities and downright frightening ones. We experience the highest highs and lowest lows. It’s not surprising we’re fearful. But if you want to succeed as an inventor, you have to manage your fears.
What do I mean by “manage” your fears? First, accept them. Don’t deny that you’re fearful and don’t make other excuses for your inaction. And second, face them. Why is it, exactly, that you can’t make a phone call to a company you want to license your product to? Are you unfamiliar with the process? Learn and practice. Are you afraid you’re going to fail? Recognize that this is one company of many – and just one success, or one failure, of many. And finally, act anyway. The bravest people don’t act without fear it; they just do whatever it is that scares them anyway.
What you should truly be afraid of are the consequences of succumbing to your fear. Most inventors I know rip themselves off much more than any company could; they never even give themselves the chance to succeed, because they’re so paralyzed by “what ifs”.
I can use all the logic in the world to convince you that your greatest fears probably aren’t justified. But that still might not get you to act. So I guess I just have to ask, what are you waiting for? What do you expect to change? The only thing you do have control over is your behavior.
So, as Nike would have you, just do it.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio
show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media
outlets find you for news stories.