3 Critical fears every entrepreneur must overcome
STRIKING OUT ON YOUR OWN IS A HUGE RISK. IN ORDER TO SUCCEED YOU HAVE TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THESE THREE TYPES OF FEAR.
Starting a business requires a mastery of skills: In addition to technical knowledge and familiarity with your industry, there is also a strong mental component. We’ll never know how many businesses never get started because the would-be founder lost his or her nerve at the last minute. Perhaps even more tragically, certain seriously flawed businesses exist because the founder was unable to get beyond a certain fear or block.
The following are three of the biggest fears that you must face and overcome if you ever want to be a successful entrepreneur.
FEAR OF FAILURE
This is certainly a common fear, and one that prevents many people from ever taking action. You might think that entrepreneurs, by definition, are people who either don’t have this fear or who are able to overcome it, but I would argue that most of us have it to one degree or another. It’s that little voice in your head that whispers all of the things that could go wrong. Whenever I notice the fear of failure creeping into my consciousness, I consider the consequences of taking no action at all. In most cases, this ends up being a scarier prospect than the possibility of failing; I can at least learn from any mistakes.
One of the greatest challenges is learning how to distinguish the irrational fear of failure from the helpful, intuitive insight that something is not right and needs attention. I have found that the best way to tell the difference is by identifying whether or not the fear is general or specific. If it’s something specific, you can rationally analyze it. If it’s vague and general, its more likely to be a mental block that you need to smash through.
FEAR OF BEING WRONG
This fear is a little more subtle and, therefore potentially even more deadly than the fear of failure. While one can keep you from even starting a business, the other can cause you to pursue a wrongheaded strategy even when there’s clear evidence that you need to change your approach.
This is an ego-based fear that makes you stay the course because you’re emotionally invested in a certain way of doing things. In one of my earliest business ventures, I soon realized that I was making the mistake of not listening to my customers—or even asking for feedback. Fortunately, I was able to recognize this problem soon enough to turn things around. As it happened, my business ended up moving in a direction I hadn’t anticipated. In order to make these changes, however, I first had to overcome my fear of being wrong.