Did you know that successful entrepreneurs are no less afraid than anyone else?
Just like you or anybody with a dream, entrepreneurs feel the same intensity of stress, anxiety, and fear.
The difference is that we overcome those fears while others stay stuck in them.
If you thought that to be an effective entrepreneur you had to sense no fear you are requiring something that is impossible. As a human being, you will sense fear. The key is not to be without fear. It is to act in spite of the fear you feel.
So what are the fears that entrepreneurs face? And more importantly, how do they overcome them?
Let’s explore the 4 most common ones and see what successful entrepreneurs do to act in spite of each of them.
1. Fear of Criticism
Stepping out and trying something new – something that goes against the grain – is difficult.
The actual task itself isn’t easy, but when you add to it the fact that friends and family will have their opinion it makes it all the more arduous.
When you leave your 9-5 and hear your coworkers laugh you out the door because your decision to quit and start your own business is “unwise,” you will have to bear the pressure.
Sure, it’s easy to read this blog and say, “I don’t care what people think. I’m an entrepreneur, and I will build my dream.” What’s not easy is to smile and maintain that position internally when the people you’ve been friends with for years are standing next to you and are actually saying it. That’s when it’s tough.
So, what do successful entrepreneurs do?
We bear it. We smile and remain polite. We treat them with courtesy and respect. But we do not allow their words to deter us. In spite of what they say, we pursue our plans and build our ideas into successful enterprises anyways.
2. Fear of Failure
One of the most paralyzing questions every entrepreneur hears constantly is, “what if this doesn’t work?” Not that we hear it from others. In fact, most of the time, the people around us encourage us to pursue our dreams (for the most part.)
It’s not what we hear other say. It’s what we hear ourselves say to ourselves.
What if this doesn’t work? What if I fail? What if I mess up?
It has been said that we should not answer a question with a question. But that does not apply here. The way successful entrepreneurs deal with this particular fear is by asking a different question.
When the question arises, “What if this fails?” successful entrepreneurs ask instead, “What if this works?”
“What if this works?” is the best response to “What if this fails?”
By asking this question instead, we refocus our thoughts and channel them in the exact opposite direction. Instead of focusing on all the bad that can result if we fail, we focus on all the good that will happen when we do.
And that makes all the difference.
3. Fear of Success
This point may strike you as odd at first, but it’s actually a deep-rooted fear that most entrepreneurs are unaware of but almost all of us have to face.
The fear of success is closely linked to a fear of what people think about us. Before you write this one off, consider if you’ve ever thought any of the following ideas.
What will my neighbors think if I get rich?
My uncle will assume I think I’m better than him if I become successful in business.
My friends may want a handout when my idea goes big.
How will people perceive me when I drive up in a new car?
The fear of success is a very real fear that actually keeps entrepreneurs stuck. It makes some of them sabotage their own success through procrastination, intentional errors, rude communications, etc.
All in an attempt to prevent one from actually achieving the success that will ultimately alter the way everyone in the entrepreneur’s life will perceive him moving forward.
4. Fear of Work Schedules
Many people have two extreme misconceptions about entrepreneurs. Some people think we wake up at 10:30 am and drink coffee in our pajamas while we work for an hour then clock out for the rest of the day by noon. Others assume we work from 6 am to midnight 7 days a week.
The truth is that both extremes occur at times but, for the most part, we live somewhere in the middle. We have a balanced work life as does the majority of the working class.
The problem is that some entrepreneurs fear that they have to fit one of those two extremes. Either they assume that working more than an hour a day is not what “modern-entrepreneurs” do. So, they work very little and ultimately achieve very small results. This, in turn, frustrates them.
The other group of entrepreneurs fall prey to the idea that working hard, all the time, is the way to succeed. They try to live up to this ideal and quickly burn out. The result of this extreme is the same as the first one – they end up with very small results.
Not understanding the balance of work schedules in the lives of real entrepreneurs, many new entrepreneurs deal with the fear of what their work schedule will look like.
To combat this, successful entrepreneurs learn what works for them and find a flow that fits.
There is no one-size fits all approach.
Consider, for example, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. These two men usually hold the first and second spots for the richest men in the world although that does fluctuate a little. Ultimately though, both men are entrepreneurs and both are extremely successful.
Bill Gates schedules his days by the minute. Everything is preassigned and put on his calendar. Warren Buffet, on the other hand, holds few to no meetings and just goes with the flow allowing his days to unfold as they do.
Neither is right or wrong. But each one found what fits them.
When it comes to finding the best schedule, every entrepreneur overcomes this fear by finding what works for their own style, gifting, and personality.
Usually, however, it is neither a one hour a day or 75 hours a week approach that produces success.
It is normally something in the middle – a balanced overall approach with an occasional tip to one side or the other based on the season of life the entrepreneur is in at any given point in time.
All in all, entrepreneurs face fears the same way everyone else does. We fear criticism, failure, success, and scheduling as does any other human being with thoughts and feelings.
The difference is that we face those fears head-on, and we find ways to work around them successfully.