As an entrepreneur we’ve all faced the fear of failure, at some point or another. After all it’s only natural to be fearful of something new. This fear of failure can literally stop your dreams before it even starts. As an entrepreneur it is necessary to overcome this fear.
Before we try to overcome this fear, let’s get a better understanding of this fear of failure. Once we do this, we realise it’s not a big deal as we originally thought. A logistical failure “is, trying something that doesn’t end up working out - is just a step in the process of creating success” - Psychology Today.
If that’s the case, then failure shouldn’t be seen as a major concern, instead a process from which we learn and grow from. Whenever you try something new you always take a risk, but it should be a calculated risk. If it doesn’t work, learn from it and move on. The last thing to do is mourn over it.
“Do what you fear, and fear disappears”[BLOCKQUOTE]
So, what is that’s still holding you back and got you reading this article to find out more about conquering your fears? You must travel deep within to find out the reason for you fear. When you delve into this fear, you may realise it’s not the time, money or even public image that’s holding you back but the feeling of being incompetent (don’t worry I’ve been there too). The feeling of being incompetent can be best described when I was at school - the fear of not wanting to answer a question in front of the classroom in case I was wrong, then being mocked at by the rest of the class for it. Funnily enough most of my answers would have been correct if I had answered them! This still haunts me as I often still fear of speaking aloud in front of a group or a large audience.
A relevant story I think is useful is about a homeless man who just about has enough money to buy some books, he buys books on self-improvement. The main point he took from the books was to be grateful for what you have, he thought to himself but I don’t have anything. Later he began writing his suicide note on a piece of paper with a pencil he found, he realised if he could write this then he could also write a love letter. He also had an eraser at the end of the pencil which he could use to erase any mistakes. He then successfully went onto writing novels.
Now this is just a story, a very short one and one which I’ve paraphrased at that. The moral is, if you can do one thing then you can also do another. Making mistakes is fine, they can be erased and you carry on moving forward learning from the mistakes.
Now you understand a basic concept of the fear of failure. Here’s some tips to overcome this failure and move forward with your business:
- Breakdown your fear - write down your fears:
- I’m afraid my parents won’t accept my idea
- I’m afraid we won’t be able to to get enough funding
Accept your fears, and the less it will control your behaviour. Now, write down the actions you will take to overcome each of your fears. You can do this on your own, set objectives and action points that will move you forward to conquering this fear. Alternatively, seek help from someone you trust, for example your other half, siblings, parents or a mentor. Someone, who will listen, respect and support you.
- Assure yourself - at times of fear you need assurance and support. You can do it yourself by supporting your inner self, or find someone who will do it for you. This person can be anybody you trust that will be there to support you when you do fail from time to time and give you that confidence boost when you need it.
Often the fear of failure can be the cause of someone who you look up to or admire. In this scenario it is best to speak to that person, let them know this journey as an entrepreneur is not an easy road and even though you’re determined to make a success you will experience failure from to time to time. At those moments, you need this person to give you support and not be demoralising. If this person is still negative towards you or any other, no matter how hard it is you need to remove yourself away from this person.
- Take baby steps - Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, so take small steps at a time. Create an overall plan of your goal, now break it down into objectives which are then broken down into manageable daily tasks. Each time you achieve a milestone, remember celebrate the moment big or small.
To conclude, your fear of failure can be overcome. Understand the fear, breakdown the fear and work towards overcoming it. It sounds simple, but sometimes the simplest way is the most effective. Just remember all entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders have faced fear in the past. They’ve also dealt with their fears, by going forward and tackling it head on.
“Do what you fear, and fear disappears” - David Joseph Schwartz.
Ultimately, fear stops us from doing it and to overcome this we need to do it!
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