If you asked 100 successful entrepreneurs about their journey, you would probably get 99 admitting that it was exhilarating, filled with hope, desire, promise, and personal growth.
However, you would also discover that this experience carries its fair share of challenges, mainly their “fear of failure. This fear can be paralyzing at times, hindering progress and preventing them from moving ahead and seizing life-changing opportunities.
In the following article, I will closely examine this #1 entrepreneurial killer, “the fear of failure”, what exactly it is and what steps you can take to overcome it.
The fear of failure is a common and deeply rooted emotion that affects people in various aspects of their lives.
It can manifest differently, from avoiding risks to feeling anxious about making mistakes. At its core, the fear of failure stems from the desire to succeed and be seen as competent by others. However, this fear often holds individuals back from reaching their full potential.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Atychiphobia is an extreme fear of failure. Someone with this condition may procrastinate or avoid any situations where they don’t feel they’ll be completely successful. They may set unrealistic goals for themselves, which only increases the possibility of failure.”
Fear can significantly hinder entrepreneurial growth and progress. For instance, anxiety can lead to missed opportunities due to risk aversion or cause decision paralysis.
Overcoming fear can unlock remarkable benefits—enhanced creativity, more significant risk tolerance, and increased resilience. These qualities are invaluable in navigating the often volatile landscape of entrepreneurship.
I recently read this in “Forbes magazine”, and I want to share it with you as it tells it as it is about fear and the fear of failure.
“Fear and the fear of failure have stopped many people from achieving the results they wanted, but it’s something you can control.
Many successful entrepreneurs have had moments in their lives where things didn’t go right for them, but the difference between those people and people who did not succeed is that they picked themselves back up, got back out there, carried on and were driven to get the results they wanted.
Successful people have the same problems and challenges as less successful people. The difference between the two is how you deal with the issues that you’re confronted with.”
Overcoming fear requires a shift in mindset—viewing failure as a learning opportunity rather than a negative outcome. It involves reframing our perspective to see each failure as a stepping stone towards success.
To conquer any fear, it is vital to admit that it actually exists. This is often difficult for those considered strong and brave for heading out on their own in pursuit of business success.
Entrepreneurs need to recognize their fear of failure as a natural emotion.
This acknowledgment helps break down the psychological barriers surrounding the fear and makes it easier to confront.
Creating a growth mindset is not always easy. However, in this case, it is a powerful tool in the quest to overcome your fear of failure.
Instead of looking at failures as permanent setbacks, having a growth mindset allows you to see them as opportunities.
Armed with this newfound knowledge or mindset, you can bounce back quicker and easier with the strength required to improve your ventures.
Take time to learn about other successful entrepreneurs who have faced failure head-on and won the battle.
Knowing that even the most accomplished individuals have encountered setbacks can give aspiring entrepreneurs the courage to persevere through their challenges.
The fear of failure can be overwhelming when entrepreneurs focus solely on the end result.
Break down big goals into smaller, more achievable steps to alleviate this pressure.
By accomplishing these smaller steps and celebrating them, you can build confidence and motivation, which reduces the fear factor.
On a personal note, I love golf, and many years ago, I bought a product called ‘The Mental Keys – Lower Your Golf Score Fast’.
The presenter, Michael Anthony, explains that public enemy number 1 of golfers is… surprise, surprise… fear. He discusses the importance of focussing on the process to achieve the end goal.
This also applies to entrepreneurs. Focus on the process to achieve the end goal.
One of the most critical steps to take when facing failure fears is to surround yourself with others who are like-minded.
Mentors and advisors who relate to your business journey can provide invaluable support, encouragement, and guidance during tough times.
(This is a key benefit for Self Employed Business Academy members.)
Aristotle once penned that “Knowledge is Power.” When facing the fear of failure, conducting thorough market research and due diligence on your target market will give you a more informed foundation for decision-making.
While entrepreneurship involves risk, it need not be reckless. Business owners can minimize the fear of failure by taking calculated risks backed by data and informed decision-making.
The fact is that nothing is guaranteed. However, analyzing the risks, having a contingency plan B and covering all your bases, so to speak, before you jump helps lessen the chance of failure.
“Visualization” is an effective technique to neutralize the fear of failure.
By envisioning a positive outcome and focusing on the journey rather than the destination, entrepreneurs can build self-confidence and motivation to carry on.
Embracing the notion that failure is an inevitable part of success can be liberating. Entrepreneurs must understand that even the most prosperous business owners face failures along the way.
Fear loses its grip by embracing failure as education rather than an obstacle.
In conclusion, overcoming the fear of failure is crucial in becoming a successful entrepreneur. It requires self-awareness, resilience, and a growth mindset. By reframing failure as an opportunity for growth and learning, entrepreneurs can develop the courage to take risks and embrace challenges.
Developing a supportive network and seeking mentors can also provide invaluable guidance and encouragement along the way.
Ultimately, embracing failure as a natural part of the entrepreneurial process will lead to personal growth and pave the way for innovation and success. So go ahead, take that leap of faith, and conquer your fear of failure on your path to entrepreneurial greatness!
Other articles in this series on entrepreneurs include:
12 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
7 Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs to Unlock Their Potential
Small Business Owner vs. Entrepreneur: Understanding the Difference
“I started my own business in 1995. The Self Employed Business Academy gets it. Clear, concise, and actionable information. You may be in business for yourself, but with the self Employed Business Academy at your fingertips, you won't be by yourself"
Ed Carey, AMG, LLC