F E A R. It’s everywhere, yet we can’t see it. We feel it and we know it’s there but we just sometimes can’t put our finger on it.
Business owners take on all sorts of fears that 9-to-5ers don’t encounter. You’re faced with unpredictable situations every day, and the uncertainty of where your own decisions will take you. These entrepreneurial fears can be a lot of pressure, sometimes crippling.
We live in a fear of the unknown that can either become a powerful motivator or a debilitating factor working against our growth and development.
Whether it’s fear of failure, of overwhelm, or of letting other people down, it is crucial to overcome this feeling if you want to come a successful entrepreneur.
Let’s unpack a few common fears and what can be done to turn them into positives.
Focusing on the Wrong Endeavour
You’re going to change as you learn and grow. Your skills and interests will evolve. The audience you want to serve might even change. How do you stay confident that you’re putting your energy towards the right projects or pieces of the business?
The key is to put in lots of ‘stop and think’ time. Get out of your day-to-day environment and think strategically about the business. This will help you create the space to notice and/or do something about it if/when you realise your business potential has shifted.
Earlier this week I read a powerful piece by Jonathan Fields, founder of the Good Life Project, about how we often focus on things because we feel we should. We’re NEEDED. We’re uniquely capable of doing what we do. No one else can fill our void. But maybe, just maybe, that’s because we haven’t actually created the void yet. How can anyone come along with XYZ skills, if we haven’t created space for them to fit it?
If you regularly think strategically about what you want to do and where you can make the most impact, you’ll be able to create space for someone to do the rest of the business. That’ll make for two happy people.
Overwhelm or Drowning in Opportunity
Do you often find yourself in a situation of overwhelm because you want to do it all and do it now?
The right amount of overwhelm is a driving factor. A lot of it causes fear and cripples productivity.
Ask yourself, “What are the 2-3 things I can do right now to improve my business?” Allow yourself the chance to make gradual yet consistent progress by focusing on what will deliver the biggest results.
A strategy that I adopted from Steph @ Fizzle, during her Courage + Clarity Challenge, was to get one of those good old steno notebooks, and make a list of absolutely everything I need to do down one side. It’s such a release to get everything down! Then, you think about each day of the week, and map only 2-3 things that you NEED to do each day, to that day. It’s a great way to clear the overwhelm!
Entrepreneurship tends to come with a hefty side-portion of self-doubt. There’s always someone doing better to compare ourselves with. Over time, questions like “Am I good enough?” turn into “Will I be found out and exposed?”
The only way the fear gets addressed is to first recognise it and then talk about it. Find a coach or a group of entrepreneurs to talk to.
There’s no hiding the fact that this is the fear that I suffer from the most. But I’ve been very fortunate to have great cheerleaders around me. My team at SensoBaby and Family Gems both know about my weakness, and regularly stroke my ego haha!
No really. My teams remind me that I have know something that others starting in business don’t. I’ve got 20+ years of marketing experience. And I live to share ideas, knowledge and experiences with others in a way that lifts them up and leaves them changed. That’s when I come alive.
Not Having Enough Work to Support a Team
When you are employing someone, suddenly it’s not just about the sustainability of your company. It’s personal. You’re the one responsible for putting food on your employee’s table, after all.
Having to lay off employees is an absolutely massive fear. And one that entrepreneurs rarely open up about. Many employees are just as invested in the success of the company as the leaders are. If you’ve created a positive and supportive working culture, your team will appreciate your transparency. Open up to them about your fear, and get them enrolled in making sure that everyone gets paid. When in doubt, sell. Put your heads to the grindstone and get the money flowing in.
As we talked in our latest 3Keys Masterclass about fears, we came to realise that we all suffer from the same ones. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of letting people down, fear of being found out.
The practice we must think about is how to not let fear block us because really, when you go for it and give it your all, what is the worst that can happen? Even if it doesn’t work out, you can bask in the feeling of having tried.
Also, think about ways that you live fearlessly. It’s empowering. For example, I know I’m fearless when it comes to travel; I’m happy to go pretty much anywhere, and often by myself. I’ll try any new cuisine, I’m happy to speak in front of large audiences, and I am 100% confident at giving my pitch to someone that I’m meeting for the first time.
So, how can we help? What are you afraid of at the moment that’s holding you back? Let’s talk about how to get past it. We’re all hear to help,