Nancy R. Burger is a published author, speaker, and strategist who guides individuals, teams, and leaders on a path toward courageous living by helping them change their relationship with fear by reframing fear-based thought patterns. Drawing on personal life experience and research in the areas of cognitive behavior, behavioral finance, and neuroscience, Nancy offers provocative and engaging talks, workshops, and private sessions that elevate the conversation around how fear affects our personal and professional lives and how we can change our relationship with this complex emotion.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Nancy Burger: I began my career in finance and then moved into freelance writing, which I have done for over twenty-five years. But during the past ten years, I became extremely curious about fear and how it was holding me back in so many areas of my life. I researched how our brains and bodies process fears and started working on ways to better understand myself so that, instead of battling fear-based thoughts, I could change them. With the help of a support system of doctors, coaches and therapists, I cultivated strategies to do this, and those strategies changed my life in a very positive way. That’s when I became committed to teaching them to other people to reduce some of the sufferings I witnessed around me.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your view point, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Nancy Burger: I believe entrepreneurs could be both born and/or made. It all hinges on mindset, and you can change your mindset if you work at it. In order to be a successful entrepreneur, I believe you must adopt a growth mindset in which setbacks, challenges and fears are embraced as opportunities for learning and for moving forward, for discovering the next thing that will work better. Once you missteps as determinants of outcome, you become hamstrung by your own thoughts. It’ll trip you up every time.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Nancy Burger: I’m introducing a contrarian view of fear to the world–as an ally and informant to be embraced– to effect positive change for people.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Nancy Burger: My company helps individuals, teams, and leaders identify and understand fear-based thought patterns so that they can reframe them. When I first launched my consultancy in 2019, I was focused on offering coaching services primarily for women who were going through a life transition. But it soon became apparent that there was a growing need to address fear within organizations, corporate teams, and leadership groups as well, and I believe the pandemic underscored the need. Currently, I work with clients ranging from global retail management teams to financial industry salespeople to individuals in various stages of life
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Nancy Burger: That things will probably go differently than they plan or envision, and that adapting and adjusting as they go forward is the best–maybe the only–way to navigate.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Nancy Burger: I was fortunate in that I surrounded myself with a trusted tribe of mentors and guides early on to avoid major and costly pitfalls.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain
Nancy Burger: I would tell myself, “stay open, stay curious, and trust your gut.” When I first launched, I remember seeing puzzled faces on some folks when I explained what I was trying to do. Some even asked me, “how are you going to make money doing this?” But over the past few years I have learned that once you identify making money as the only gauge of success, you’re in trouble. Profits are necessary for a going concern, of course, but once you lose sight of your bigger purpose you’re down a rabbit hole.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Nancy Burger: I was fortunate to receive valuable advice throughout most of my journey in building my business, but learned lessons about what not to do by paying close attention to what some others in my space were doing. If I could pass one bit of advice to other budding entrepreneurs, it would be to spend the time identifying the problem you want to solve and who you want to solve it for before you do anything else. Make sure you understand what you’re dedicated to, and can explain it to someone else in one sentence.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Nancy Burger: I don’t think COVID-19 has necessarily changed the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship and the challenges inherent in that journey. What I think has changed is the way many are approaching their work and to what degree they are willing to be unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Which could translate into a surge in entrepreneurial projects.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Nancy Burger: A common myth is that, as an entrepreneur, you’re entirely your boss and don’t have to answer to anyone. Not true. You’re accountable to all the folks who support and invest in your idea along the way, whether it’s family and friends or other investors.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Nancy Burger: A growth mindset, curiosity, integrity and humility
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Nancy Burger: I would encourage everyone to read “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. as well as Adam Grant’s book “Think Again.” I also love the book “Fear,” by Thich Nhat Hanh and “The World According to Mister Rogers.”
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Nancy Burger: The other job I already have, which is being a mother.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Nancy Burger: Fred Rogers. Because he dedicated his life to modeling and teaching kindness, honesty and tolerance, and to make tough concepts easier for children to understand. We need more of that.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Nancy Burger for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Nancy Burger or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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