Fear is a justifiable emotion. It is a survival mechanism that warns us to steer clear of danger. This emotional response has served man for thousands of years, especially during the stone age, when men were hunters and gatherers, battling with harsh environments and predators of all kinds.
Today, as an entrepreneur or business person, fear of failure is a state in which you may constantly find yourself. This has a strong influence on your confidence and drive.
You might get discouraged by your fears, especially if you currently enjoy a stable, well-paying job and you are thinking about delving into your business fulltime.
Therefore, in this guide, we will look at how to overcome your fear of failure and channel your energy positively.
The Sources of Fear for Entrepreneurs and Business People
Your emotions begin to run riot when you consider the following factors:
- Opportunity costs: When you think about the alternatives you are about to forgo by going for a particular venture, you might doubt whether you are making the right decision.
- Financial Security: Will the venture be able to yield enough profit to fund itself eventually and also provide enough money for your personal upkeep?
- Cash Availability: Are your finances enough to fund the venture?
- Threats to your reputation: If you fail, your social esteem will wane and people might not take you seriously anymore.
- Self Esteem: You doubt whether you have the capacity to accomplish your vision.
- Dependants: If you fail, people under you, including your family, employees, clients, etc. would suffer.
These fears have varying impacts on your motivation and ability to make good decisions. Therefore, in order to tackle your fears, you have to find out the cause.
The Positive Effects of Fear of Failure
If your fear comes from considering your opportunity costs, dependants, financial security, and lack of funds, it can positively affect your persistence towards achieving your goals.
For example, considering the opportunities you have forgone in order to pursue your set goals, you will be more aggressive in pursuits and do every possible thing to ensure that you do not fail.
The Negative Effects of Fear of Failure
On the other hand, if your fears stem from doubting your ability to undertake the said venture, you lack faith in the venture itself, or you wonder what failing might do to your reputation, you will be less motivated to accomplish your aims. You may also lower the bar for yourself and take an easier alternative
Fear of failure can stress you out and cause you to fall ill. You go from having life-changing plans to ill health and might finally give up on what you set out to accomplish in the first place.
How to Harness the Power of Fear
Your fears can fuel your success. Here’s how to respond to fear of failure:
What are You Dealing With – Fear or F.E.A.R?
Sometimes, it might not be fear that you are experiencing, but another emotion that is entirely different and illogical – Anxiety.
Anxiety can be referred to as F.E.A.R, that is, False Evidence Appearing Real. You are not responding to obtainable facts. Instead, you are allowing your imagination to run wild.
According to Seth Godin, anxiety (i.e. F.E.A.R) is when we repeatedly re-experience failure before it actually happens. And in many cases, in the end, your endeavour might not fail after all.
In other words, there might be no possibility of loss, be it financial, your reputation, and so on. And neither is there any possibility that your dependants will suffer if you carry out your plans, or fail.
As a business person, fear is valid because the path you are treading or want to tread might cause you to lose your investment, livelihood, etc., or cause people who are dependent on you to suffer. But F.E.A.R is only an illusion we’ve conjured in our minds, holding us back from achieving our dreams. It is a product of our imagination that is not based on any tangible fact.
Sometimes, after thorough reflection, you may find out that you are intentionally holding yourself back because you are afraid of success.
Subconsciously, you are unable to condone the idea that if you take action, you will succeed, and succeed big. So you avoid change and the hard work that comes with it by convincing yourself not to act.
Practice Some Self-Awareness
In a previous article, we talked about how to improve your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence has to do with being aware of your feelings and controlling how they affect your thoughts and behaviour.
You must not allow transient emotions to influence your business decisions. To overcome your fears, try analyzing your decisions logically. If they make sense and are doable, why not go ahead with them rather than dwell on your fears.
Through conscious effort, you will be able to perceive when your feelings and moods overshadow logical thought. You can then make better decisions and take action.
To be continued…