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Don't let fear be a reason for failure (

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According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 50% of small businesses are likely to survive their fifth year.

If you do a search, you'll find many valid reasons as to why companies fail, such as not enough funding, bad timing, bad partners, bad hires, etc. But for the most part, all of these reasons can be mitigated upfront. With so many schools teaching entrepreneurship and MBA programs, and with so many courses all talking about these issues, why are entrepreneurs and companies still failing?

My own experience working with entrepreneurs and company owners has unearthed reasons that are randomly listed, scattered in many articles but rarely listed together.

More importantly, sometimes even after entrepreneurs recognize these caveats, they are still hugely challenged in tackling them. Unless they have someone to coach, prod, guide and keep them focused on implementation, their focus will fall to the more urgent, in-their-face, day-to-day challenges of running an organization.

What I’d like to share with you is one of the critical challenges I see people struggle with.

The Four Fatal Fears

Many of us, if not all of us, have fears. Some are known and some are unknown. Some are from childhood and some from our culture. As coaches, we don't necessarily know where these challenges come from (we leave that to the therapists), we just look for awareness and solutions.

In their book, Play to Win! Choosing Growth Over Fear in Work and Life, Hersch and Larry Wilson outline psychologist Maxie Maultsby’s concept of the Four Fatal Fears.

• The fear of failure

• The fear of being wrong

• The fear of rejection

• The fear of facing uncomfortable emotions

Failure: This is the most common fear. People refer to it as their "inner critic." It's the voice in our head always talking to us. Sometimes it's the right message, but often times, it's just feeding us scary thoughts and paralyzing us from moving ahead.

Being Wrong: Most people hate being wrong. People make emotional decisions then back it up with (wrong) logic. They are not humble enough to accept that they just might be blindsided by either their ego or some flashy salesperson or some well-intended yet clueless family member, friend, religious figure, etc. (Beware of those who profess t