You Can Defeat Your Fear.
“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
– Steven Pressfield
Starting a business is scary. You risk a lot. When you work for someone else, the success or failure of that business lies wholly in the lap of that other business owner. You are free of responsibility. They tell you when to show up. You wear what they say to wear. Your to-do list probably comes from a superior in the company. You sit where they tell you to and finish your assigned tasks, then go home.
Entrepreneurs choose to leave that behind. If you do not show up, you have no boss to call you out for it. If you do not complete your work, nobody is there to ask you why. The responsibility is entirely yours.
Also terrifying, the idea you came up with for the business also belongs only to you. If it fails or succeeds, it is your idea that failed or succeeded. You open yourself up on a personal level with any creative act, including entrepreneurship.
To succeed in business and life, we must face our fears. We move despite the fear. Courage, it turns out, doesn’t mean not feeling afraid. Courage is about what we choose to do when fear strikes. There are ways to overcome fear, and each successful entrepreneur discovers the techniques that work for her.
Begin by defining fear. What scares you? Perhaps you lack the information necessary to begin. A real problem stands in the way, and you have no idea how to solve it. Maybe you feel like you’ll seem foolish to others when they find out you have a business idea. Perhaps you feel as if starting a business is something that other people do, but not you. Maybe you fear change.
Having defined the fear, address it. You need more information. Either you know someone who can help, or you can find it online. You want to develop a new type of drone for use in delivering pizzas. Some of the technology lies outside your experience. Use your network to find the information you need to build your prototype.
Talking to someone about the idea scares you, however. What if the people you tell think you have lost your mind? What if they laugh at you? The fear of not fitting in comes with your DNA. Rejection hurts. However, when did the person you would ask for advice ever treat you like an idiot? Probably never, yes? They likely won’t now, either. If you use YouTube or another online source for information, you stay completely safe. YouTube may be tracking what you watch, but it most definitely will not judge you for it. Trust your relationships. Your friends will want to help if they know they have an opportunity to help.
Imposter syndrome exists. Much of the time, this fear sits in the center of our other worries. It holds back many people, from artists and writers to students, to potential parents and potential business leaders. It happens when we feel as though we do not deserve to do something. We feel guilty. Someone might catch us, and we’ll get in trouble. When we feel this, we have two options. Run from the new idea, or act despite the fear.
Change happens constantly. The year 2020 proved this beyond any doubt. We may fear change, but we must ready ourselves to roll with any changes. We will never have the option to avoid changes in life. However, we have the opportunity to influence how those changes manifest and how we use them. It might scare us more to have no control than to influence the changes around us.
Imagine the worst that could happen. What will you lose? Pretend your friend does laugh. What then? Has your friend had the opportunity to laugh at you before? Maybe you slipped on some ice or said something unintentionally funny. You might have laughed with them. Even if not, the day moved on, and you survived. Most of our worst-case scenarios consist of things we can survive.
Now, imagine the best that could happen. Your idea works. That business you started grows. It becomes your full-time job, feeding your family and making your dreams come true. Maybe it even becomes a multi-national enterprise worth billions, like Amazon or Microsoft! Let the goal grow to an unreasonable size.
The reality will live in the middle. You will succeed at a smaller scale, like any other new business. Then you will grow as you can. First, though, you must face that fear and begin.
Another fear-fighting strategy involves identifying the risk of not acting. What happens if you do not begin? When older folks talk about regret, what they didn’t do comes up far more than anything they did. If you do not try, you have to live with that choice. Can you? If you stay in your current life, will you achieve your dreams? If you do not start that business, what else will not happen as a result?
As you decide to face your fear, you can make it easier on yourself. Pick something small to do first. Having accomplished that little task, tell yourself that it wasn’t such a big deal. Pick another small thing. Do it. Later, you’ll surprise yourself by having built something beautiful.
Entrepreneurs succeed when they become comfortable in being uncomfortable. They know the risks. Feeling fear is natural, and they recognize this. The prize waiting on the other side of fear holds too much value to ignore. A life spent having more control over your life while helping others get what they need is exciting. Face that fear. The world needs your beautiful ideas.
Pick that first small thing right now. Take a deep breath. Now, get it done!