How to conquer fear when you launch a business?
Startup Founders, Entrepreneurs, CEOs:
What is your best advice to a newbie who is launching his/her first business and risking it all to succeed, yet has to deal with fear of failure? If you have any great resources, links, quotes to share or tools, please post them!
Fear Cannot Exist in the Present
(This is an excerpt from the book "Mental Training For Success In Sales"
Fear is the easiest negative emotion to overcome if you are objective and understand its source. Fear can manifest itself as a strong emotion, causing you to hyperventilate and your knees to shake. Fear can be a weaker emotion, as well, and can cause you to doubt yourself and your next course of action. Whenever you attach the emotion of fear to a fact while selling, whether your fear is strong or weak, your judgment and performance immediately suffer.
Reducing fear, and eventually eliminating it, is easier if you know why it exists and how to handle it. The first step is to clearly understand that the emotion of fear adversely affects the chemistry of your brain and your performance. Next, realize your thoughts have two components: facts and emotions. Every situation you face while selling is nothing more than a fact. Facts are merely facts! It is the fear you have attached to certain facts that allows fear to exist, not the facts.
All fears have one thing in common. They are all based on thinking about a potential future outcome that has not occurred. Once you clearly understand that you are afraid of something that has not happened, you are on your way to reducing or eliminating your fears.
Upon reflection, you’ll realize fear is always associated with concern over a future outcome before it even occurs. Fear cannot exist in the present. Stop and let this sink in! It is only when you are concerned about a future outcome that fear can exist. If you have fear that a previous outcome may reoccur, realize that even this fear is about an outcome that may or may not reoccur in the future.
Since you can only physically exist in the present, you only have control of the present. How well you control the present determines the future outcome, good or bad. Once you clearly understand that your fear about a future outcome contributes to your downfall by lowering your chemistry and ability to function at your best in the present, it becomes easier to face and handle your fear. The only way to successfully overcome fear is to stay in the present. Focus on doing the process and allow the outcome to take care of itself, win or lose.
The next time you experience fear, step aside and acknowledge you have fear because you are thinking about a possible future outcome. Then, take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Tell yourself to relax and be willing to live with your present probability of success, depending on the task at hand.
By focusing solely on the process required to accomplish the desired outcome and being willing to learn from the feedback, you cause your fears to decrease. The more you use the above routine and work on mastering your sales processes, the less fear you will experience and the more successful you will become.
In theory, this is simple to do because you can choose how you want to think and act. However, it is not easy to accomplish if you have fear because your brain’s programming wants to repeat what is on your tape. But, with mental training it becomes easier and easier to release your fear each time you practice the above routine.
Most salespeople have spent their entire lives chasing the outcome of making the sale. Now you are being told to forget the outcome and stay in the present by focusing on mastering the process. This is a major cultural change for anyone brought up in the Western civilization’s belief system of materialism and winning. Ignoring the outcome is a huge undertaking, but it can be accomplished.
In contrast, the Eastern philosophy of Zen focuses on being in the present. Centuries ago, in the Japanese culture, Samurai warriors were highly skilled in the martial arts. To be at their best, they studied Zen to fight in the present without fear of death on the battlefield.
Business is not a life or death situation, so have fun and relax. Learn to enjoy yourself while selling and keep improving the process. If you train your tape to stay in the present, your fears will diminish, your chemistry will improve, and more success will follow in sales and business.
learn to live with fear or don't do it
fear is normal to entrepreneurial ventures
Hi Marzena ~
One of my all-time favorite quotes, not just for launching a business but for living an impassioned life, is by poet David Whyte: "The rest of creation is waiting, breathless, for you to take your place."
When the desire to do something is so strong you can't NOT do it, it's the right decision. Fear and excitement are the same energy; it's just a question of how we label it. I was tremendously excited when I launched my first business. And, on a practical level: I also had some savings in the bank :-)
What's the worst that can happen? If it all goes belly-up, you've lost a little money, but gained immeasurable experience — and you'll use that to improve on the next venture. As one savvy entrepreneur told me when I wrote about entrepreneurship in the year prior to starting my own business, "No one brands you with a scarlet 'F' for failing!"
My honest advice? See a good therapist. We all deal with failure as entrepreneurs, and yet failure is what helps us become great entrepreneurs. If your fear is getting in your way that is a psychological issue, not a business issue, and all aspects of your life will improve if you are dealing with that problem appropriately - not just your business.
Put this into perspective: what does "risking it all" really mean? If your business does not succeed, what is the worst that can happen? What is your Plan B? What ideas and skills do you have that can be put towards your success? Are you really "risking it all" or is that your fear speaking? What is failure? Is it a shortcoming in you or just an indication that you need to apply your resources more effectively? Is failing at one task a failure in you or an opportunity to learn and apply that knowledge? These are important things to consider as an entrepreneur.
Rule #1 of business: Know thyself. To quote Dune, "Fear is the mind-killer." Fear can prevent you from knowing your true self. Do not let it get in your way or deter you.
I wish you luck!
Be honest, ask for help and go networking.
Networking is so important to building your credibility, relationships and the people you meet will want to help you.
Fear of failure is normal, I promise you - you just need to understand that your belief of success is different to others, so what is success to you? What do you want to have / be / do for you to feel you have succeeded?
The only thing to fear is failure, you can only fail if you stop trying, perseverance can outlast any fear, If you have started a business you have already overcome fear now its time to take action, make progress everyday.
I find fear has more to do with not knowing what the next step should be. At such times I close my eyes and just meditate, listen to my inner voice which tells me where the lack of clarity is coming from, guiding me on what should be my next step. However much advice may be out there, the fact is that you are here ...ready to launch ...even this stage you may not have envisaged a year ago ...so that speaks a lot for your courage and confidence, a huge step forward from millions of others. Have faith in your inner voice ...it will take you in the right direction.
To clarify guys, I am the author of this question, this is a general question, not specific to me but my audience and clients so I've decided to include Mosaichub on this discussion to expand on the subject of fear!
First of all, congratulations on starting a business in spite of your fear! Action, in my experience, is the best step for beating fear and anxiety.
Second - success or failure is no reflection of you. In fact, one of my mentors used to say that mistakes teach you more than successes. Break your venture down into tasks - evaluate each task on whether it's a success or a learning experience.
Third - my favorite quote to deal with fear is from Frank Herbert's "Dune:"
"I will not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
I hope that helps!
Fear is not a part of building a successful business.
To build a successful business you need to make sure you are good at what you intend to do, be diligent in doing, plan well and get God on your side.
Be strong, courageous, disciplined, consistent and determined.
Feeling fear is entirely natural and I would expect that most people feel this at some stage in their entrepreneurial journey. The best advice I was given was that you can only progress forward once you've moved out of your comfort zone. This is so true. I would say that even now I still have to move out of my comfort zone - but my comfort zone now is so much bigger than it was when I started.
Starting a new business? Find something you are passionate about. Have fun:)
I found this great quote today
"Perseverance is about failing nineteen times and succeeding on the 20th" Julie Andrews
Fear is not going away, there is no courage without fear. The best way to conquer fear is to rationalize the elements of it, fear might stem from perceptions or realities, in this case it is likely the former option.
You have a good business plan, a good product, some contingencies built into your business plan, you are in for success.
In survival one of the secret of combating the fear of the unknown is preparation.
In entrepreneurship preparation is to have a back up plan, a "what if analysis" if this or that doesn't work out, together with a " sensitivity analysis" of variables in your economic model (what if my costs go up by 10%, etc.).
The more you are prepared with a back up plan in case things do not go as planned, and they will, the more you will dissipate the fear of the unknown typical of the entrepreneurial jump.
Since failure is NOT an option, I suggest staying focused by creating a plan of the activities that are most likely to bring success, then single-mindedly complete each task and activity and make sure that you accomplish the results you need. If you have not done so, it might be helpful to write a business plan. Identify who your customers/ clients are, why they should use you (what is unique about what you do?), how are you going to deliver what you say you will? Will you need staffing? What is your plan for growth? etc etc.
As a new business owner myself, I can tell you that fear remains a big part of my daily life and I am sure it will until I have established myself.
But what honestly gets me to reduce fear is my trust in God. And I hang onto that with all my might!
It is very important to take a day off so that you can avoid stress and work, and exercise has also been good for me.
Hang around positive people and join groups where other newbies are frequenting.
Good luck to you Marzena! Starting a business is not for the feint hearted. It takes immense courage and persistence.
Man, I just (and currently) am going thru this. The obvious answers will be to get all your ducks in a row, get funding, develop a plan etc...but those are things we are going to do anyways as business owners and entrepreneurs. So I started to look at other things to alleviate the stress which is where fear lives and started to dedicate myself to meditating and doing my little morning exercise routine (only takes 30 min total) as well as accomplishing something creative the first 30 min I get into work (even if it's just reading some marketing info). And when I meditate, I don't concentrate on being successful, I concentrate on clearing my mind and repeating courage over and over. I have seen a world of difference in the fear going away, and confidence and excitement taking over. Give it a shot!
I think one should never leave any fault in your system that can be responsible for business failure. One should wireframe or make a blue print of any business before actually going to start.
SWOT analysis is what which a startup can do when going to start any business.
If it's helping you - like excitement - use it. If it's holding you back - like anxiety - face it.
You can't trust fear to decide for itself if it's valid or not. More often than not it's alerting you to change, not danger.
Roller coasters and scary movies can be fun because they induce fear. That's why people like them. Business can be the same way.
Either way, if it's keeping you from taking effective action or causing you to hold back in any way, find a good coach.
Otherwise, enjoy the ride :)
Hi Marzena, what a great question. In addition to all the suggestions you'll receive, I'd just like to share some of my own learning.
I see, fear in itself as a "state of mind" sometimes, temporarily. The experience develops from an underlying symptom, usually through an event or occurrence.
This is no different from "failure". I'm sure at some point, we were all told, it's wrong to fail and you're doomed when you fail - not surprisingly we then go on to develop a fear of failure. Yet, in the world of business and thought leaderships, we learn about how the same "fear" and "failure" can teach, direct or motivate us to "think differently" - thereby developing a better understanding of what and how things go wrong so we can learn from them, thereby solving problems.
So to offer my best advice, i'd suggest first that you dig deep to find the source of that fear. In "thinking differently", try and understand the effects of those fear "episodes" and the instigating factors. How much are you exposed to these factors and how much control do you have over them? Minimise the exposure by creating various scenarios "states of mind" that can result from the connection - other than a total loss "failure". This puts you in a better position and in control of that "fear" with a full understanding of how to manage every instigating factor - "The True Cause".
In short - "To overcome "fear", you must take take control of the instigating factors which creates those "failure" moments".
I also found "The Doorway To Distinction E-Book" by Onyi Anyado - http://www.onyianyadomediahouse.com - as a good source for quotes and inspiration.
Hope this helps and feel free to connect if I can be of further help.
Read the book scarcity. It'll help you get in touch with the source of your fear. And when you feel fear play a little game called what's the worst that could happen. By acknowledging the worst possibilities, you can allow yourself to then move past that fear.