For most new and established business owners their biggest obstacle is Fear. It is perhaps the biggest enemy many people fight in obtaining business success!
FEAR: According to Webster’s Dictionary the number one definition of fear is to be afraid or feel anxious or apprehensive about a possible or probable situation or event, “I fear she might get aggressive.”
Fear. It can be a good thing. It can be a bad thing. It can also live and grow and appear at opportune times in the life of a business owner and, when it goes un-noticed and when it is not recognized and purposely silenced, it can be the worst of all companions.
In our daily dealings with business owners (both new and established businesses) there are many manifestations of fear that we are able to witness. The fear of making the wrong decision. The fear of losing money. The fear of getting the wrong small business loan. The fear of this and the fear of that…the list goes on. But if you boil it all down to its core there’s one main fear that all of us have felt, experienced, and deal with almost daily and that is the fear of failure. That’s it. The fear of what happens if “my” business fails? None of us like to fail. What will our friends say or think? What does this mean for my family? How will it affect my future? Will others think less of me?
The Fear of Failure. Fear can become your CEO if you’re not careful. In fact, fear will become your CEO if you don’t face up to your fears. You can have all the unsecured business loans you want or all the business credit imaginable but fear will surely stand in the way of your success if you allow it to.
Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Michael Jordan. Muhammad Ali. Henry Ford. Jack Welch. Read what some of them have said about fear. Do some Google searches. You’re not alone. They all have or had the same fears that you face.
What does fear do? It does many things. In fact, in extreme cases, it can lead to things such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Spend 5 minutes reading about Howard Hughes in his later years if you want to see an “extreme” illustration of anxiety and fear. However, that’s not most of us. There’s an extreme that knows no fear and there’s the Howard Hughes extreme that becomes reclusive and lives out his days in isolation and in hotel suites afraid to touch anything. Most of us live somewhere between these two extremes.
To feel fear, anxiousness, and apprehension is 100% normal. What you do about those feelings is what separates us…that’s what separates the men from the boys so to speak! Fear’s biggest manifestation is paralysis. Because I’m afraid of failure I do nothing. It’s “safe” to do nothing. I can’t fail if I don’t do anything. I honestly think that, often times, it’s the “doing nothing” that allows people to sleep at night. Why? Because we end up doing the same thing today that we did yesterday and our world doesn’t change. It’s predictable. We can “plan” and “control” our days and our lives so much easier this way. There’s no “X” factor because tomorrow will be the same as today and yesterday and there’s comfort in that.
We’ve seen this many times over the years. People contact us because they want to start a business. They have an idea, a dream, or a goal. They know they can provide a product or service that has value. They tell us that they want a small business loan or an unsecured business line of credit so they walk through the process and they are approved. Pretty cool huh? But then fear kicks in. They “want to think about it” or they “want to explore their options” and we do our normal follow ups only to find out that they never got any funding and haven’t done much with the business. What happened? I realize that it’s not always fear and only fear that causes this but I’m also not dumb. They did nothing and fear got the best of them.
Stay tuned for part 2 on Sunday, September 16th.