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12 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Deal with Fear

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What’s your worst fear in business? Is it failing, self-doubt or loss of investment? The truth is, business and entrepreneurship present a wide share of fears due it’s unpredictable nature. The worst that can happen is to let this fear grip you and stop you from moving. You’ll be faced with rough patches on the path to entrepreneurship that brings fear of the unknown but you have to deal with it. How do you deal with and overcome it?

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners how they deal with fear and we had some valuable answers.

#1- A number of ways

Photo Credit: Gordon Power

Fear is result of the unknown and being out of control. In my business life I try to eliminate the unkown through research, discussion, review and actioning effective control. In my private life I enjoy driving fast cars but as I feel in control I don’t have fear and in other aspects, I avoid fear such as I don’t do scary movies or roller coasters.

Thanks to Gordon Power, Earth Capital Partners!

#2- Having a positive mindset

Photo Credit: Rob Webber

As a small business owner I deal with fear a lot. I deal with, as I’m sure other business owners do, the fear of my company not taking off. This fear sticks with me even though I’ve started many other businesses that continue to grow and profit to this day. I’ve found the best way to deal with this fear is to have a positive mindset and to break down my business into two categories: the parts that are succeeding and the parts that aren’t succeeding. Once everything is compartmentalized on paper it is easy to face and attack what’s not working head on.

Thanks to Rob Webber, MoneySavingPro.com!

#3- Embracing the risks

Photo Credit: Steve Kurniawan

I think the biggest and the most important fear of many entrepreneurs,or those who are just willing to start a business is about failure. It’s a common perception that starting a business is associated with more risks than having a “real” career. Remembering that there are also risks associated with a real career can help: you can definitely lose a high-paying job for one reason or another, you can probably struggled with a gambling or drug issue when you are on the top of your career and lose all your retirement savings, and so on, and so on. In short, there’s no real security in life, and all we can do is to embrace risks.  Failure, by itself, is actually not that bad. As Abraham Lincoln once said, the most of us can handle adversity. However, more often than not, we don’t actually fear failure itself, but rather what those around us will say about it. This is the second advice: “What would people say?” is one of the biggest obstacles of your progress. Instead, adopt a “what does it matter?” mentality, if you don’t care too much about other people’s thoughts about you, you’ll start to realize that you can embrace failure.

Thanks to Steve Kurniawan, Nine Peaks Media!

#4- Going an extra mile

Photo Credit: Shane Hampson

Fear of failure is something every single CEO faces because at the end of the day it all falls on you. For me personally it’s very easy to face my fears by reminding myself of where I came from. Whether you are working for yourself or for someone else you are going to have to work long hours and make sacrifices but working the long hours knowing you’re going to get rewarded for what you put in makes everything all worth it. If you were willing to step out on your own and risk everything – you can overcome whatever challenge you are currently facing. The hardest step has already been hurdled!

Thanks to Shane Hampson, Blue Fusion Digital!

#5-  Take Action

Photo Credit: Tom Gabison

The fastest way to overcome any fear is by taking action. When something has to be done whether you fear the outcome or not, get it done! Keep your schedule full with small daily tasks that move towards the goal of conquering your fears. This is the 1st and most important step to take. We believe having a system in place to combat fears is the most important small business owner skill.

Thanks to Tom Gabison, Gabico Capital!

#6- Turning the fear into motivation

Photo Credit: Nate Masterson

We try to set realistic, attainable goals and if we must take a risk (because, let’s face it, risks are often necessary for success) we aim to have a contingency plan in place in case it fails. We also face fear by turning the fear into motivation. Instead of focusing on the risk that a venture will fail, we’ll focus on how we can make the venture have the most chances of success and how we can give to our customers. Our fear doesn’t hold us back when we know that we are doing our best to provide quality products and good service to our customers.

Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!

#7- Taking it as a normal experience

Photo Credit: Heather Thomas

Fear is an inevitable experience as an entrepreneur. I find myself confronted with fear whenever I’m about to take a huge leap in my business, and accomplish something I’ve never done before. When I fear begins taking over, I normalize the experience by reminding myself that this is how it feels to be stepping into new territory. My connection to my personal mission is always stronger than the fear, and shifting my focus to being of service and the impact that I will create always transforms my feelings of fear into fuel that will drive me forward.

Thanks to Ashley Bradley, Purpose & Prosper!

#8- Three ways

Photo Credit: Kristy Ellington

These fears can come from a variety of different places: fear of rejection, failure, fear of embarrassment, the shame associated with asking for money (sales), letting their family down, fear of putting themselves out there to be judged, and not being expert enough. Bottling up these fears will only lead to more anxiety and roadblock potential, so I teach my clients that the best way to manage (not stop) fears is to: 1. Acknowledge it and name it — What is it exactly that I’m afraid of? 2. Talk through the worst case scenario — What’s the worst that can happen if my biggest fear comes to pass?) 3. Ask yourself if that worst-case scenario could really happen — Will this ACTUALLY happen if I fail at this [webinar/meeting/sales pitch/marketing campaign]? Doing this allows my clients to get a clearer perspective by talking through the validity of their fears and worst-case scenarios, and nearly all of them realize that the fear lies only in their heads; It’s the unknown they’re fearful of. Their fears are just projections in their heads and NOT a reality.

Thanks to Kristy Ellington

#9- Focus and perspective

Photo Credit: Calvin Dark

Four and a half years into this journey of starting and building a communications firm, I’ve learned that focus and perspective equip me to overcome fear. There are SO many really scary challenges for entrepreneurs: “We didn’t get that project we bid for!”, “A current client no longer has the budget to keep us on!”, “[FILL IN THE BLANK] bill is due next week!” Then there’s the added stress of feeling like every challenge is an existential crisis. (When your business is your life’s passion, it’s more than just a job…your VISION is at stake!) This is where FOCUS comes in: remind yourself of the specific vision that put you on this entrepreneur’s journey then visualize getting there. Focus then provides PERSPECTIVE where you see those things you’re afraid of alongside the great things you’ve already achieved and the bold, exciting things you’ve got in the works. It won’t make the challenges go away, get less urgent, or become any less necessary to be resolved — but they will seem a lot smaller and more manageable. That perspective frees up the energy you were using to be afraid, better situating you to be more courageous and creative to find ways of resolving challenges that you hadn’t thought of before.

Thanks to Calvin Dark, CD Global Strategies Group!

#10- Believing in the outcome of what I’m doing

Photo Credit: Leila Quraishi

Fear is not something we can avoid because it is a natural belief as humans. We can only learn to navigate around it. As Tony Robbins says, “life is found in the dance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear.” I could not agree with his words more. The way we live our lives is very much based on the decisions that we make. We make these decisions based on how we feel and how we will feel after we make the decision. Our fears sometimes stand in the way of what we desire, which is why when we face an obstacle or fear, we must “dance” with it in order to get around it. I just launched my brand, Nudesox, as a Junior at The University of Southern California. I had many fears before starting my brand, but the way I faced those fears was knowing that the outcome of launching my brand would be greater than my fear. It was knowing that I would have a positive feeling that made me take the leap. So I encourage you to take a leap and dance with your fears as well, if you believe that the outcome can make you a better, happier, and more successful person.

Thanks to Leila Quraishi, Nudesox!

#11- Replacing the fears with strategies, people and ideas

The definition of an Entrepreneur is “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” With Financial risk comes fear and the uncertainty of your future success in business. A large part of breaking through the startup phase and becoming a profitable longterm business is managing your fear. At the end of the day if you are spending a sizable amount of your time focussing on the potential of your business failing, you most likely aren’t working hard enough. Instead of thinking to myself “what am I going to do if this business fails?” I replace those fears with strategies, people and ideas I can put in place to make sure that doesn’t happen. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics: about 20% fail in their first year, and about 50% of small businesses fail in their fifth year.”. Chances are, your business is going to fail. If you let fear control your decision-making process, you are not only more likely to make mistakes, but are less likely to have the courage necessary to start over and try another idea.

Thanks to Chris Brooke, Brooke Holdings!

#12- Two ways

Photo Credit: Paige Arnof-Fenn

Like most entrepreneurs I think I have learned to push through my fear and deal with it head on. There is so much uncertainty when you start a business and create a product or service you have to become comfortable with the unknown and know that if you make a bad decision or get more information and data later you can course correct as you go. I do the best I can with what I have and surround myself with great colleagues and advisors. I practice Tai Chi and Qigong to be more mindful and manage stress and just keep moving forward. If fear paralyzes you then entrepreneurship is not a good path to pursue. To stay relevant and grow your business requires taking leaps of faith over and over again so it is just part of the entrepreneurial experience. Embrace your fear and find a way to use it to your advantage. Fear can be motivating sometimes too so learn to manage it and enjoy the ride or find another career path.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

How Do You Deal With the Face of Fear? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community

About Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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