The entrepreneurial journey to success involves overcoming fear of failure. Entrepreneurs, conquer your fear of failure and eliminate this roadblock in your path to success. Find your courage and thrive.
Fear of failure needs to be managed. Too often this common entrepreneurial fear results in both emotional and behavioral symptoms, and can even do irreversible damage to your business.
Here at Envisionary Me, we manage fear of failure by understanding and accepting the fact that fear is simply information. We love information. More information makes us strong.
We want to use fear – in other words – information – to make us strong!
Let’s dig in.
The definition of fear:
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Fear is a distressing emotion. It is the fright or worry brought about by a real or imagined sense of impending danger, evil, or type of pain. It is the same intense emotion that brings about alarm and the related physiological changes whether the event is happening or perceived as imminent and likely to happen.
The fear of failure and its impact:
The fear of failure is formally called atychiphobia, the irrational and persistent fear of failing.
When launching a new business, the fear of failure is the fear of the possibility of the business not working out.
In addition to milder reactions where you feel insecure or like a failure before you start and similar demotivating feelings, you may feel heavy anxiety or depression. Entrepreneurs dealing with more extreme reactions may experience rapid heart rate, chest tightness, trembling, dizziness, lightheadedness, sweating, and digestive problems.
It can be paralyzing, and the delays can be costly. The worst case scenarios for you as a person are permanent and debilitating physical or emotional damage.
The worst case scenario for your business would be missing your window of opportunity or never trying because you believe it will fail anyway, therefore allowing the doomsday scenario – a self-fulfilling prophecy.
How do we overcome the fear of failure?
Fear of failure often trips us up. We know we should take risks and know starting a new business requires taking action.
Still… fear of failure is one where business school may not have given us enough to overcome what we’re hard-wired to resist!
The answer isn’t to simply say, “get over it,” or “think positive.”
Most new businesses do fail so the fear is legit.
We’ll talk through it. We’ll help you overcome, know it’s not a reflection of your abilities and keep moving forward.
Reframe the fear of failing.
1.) Put this entrepreneurial fear in its place.
Figure out the root of fear.
“When we let go of our notion of fear as the welling up of evil forces within us—the Freudian motif—and begin to see fear and its companion emotions as information, we can think about them consciously. And the more clearly and calmly we can articulate the origins of the fear, the less our fears will frighten us and control us.”
Albrecht, Karl. “Practical Intelligence: the Art and Science of Common Sense.” New York: Wiley, 2007.
Figure out the root of your fear.
Ask yourself. Take a metacognitive approach. Consider your own thought processes around this topic.
- Is it because you have experienced failure before?
- Are you investing all you have?
- Do you feel like this is your one time shot?
- Are you a perfectionist?
- Are your expectations unreasonable? And can they be better managed?
2.) Turn the tables. Use the fear to your advantage.
Fear, like all other emotions, is basically information. It offers us knowledge and understanding. Use it!
When kept in check, a healthy fear of failure can be a positive. It helps us prepare…like through our business plan.
Shift your thinking. See failure as:
- Opportunity – to do things differently and better.
- Feedback – offering a chance to learn and grow.
- A lesson – to remain ready by knowing our business, and to actively learn and embrace change.
- Temporary – an impermanent situation, not a permanent end to your dream.
Failure provides an opportunity to move forward. See it as such.
3.) Use your startup business plan.
Your business plan is your roadmap. It is a living document.
Apply strategies that help.
- If your goals create self-doubt, break them down into smaller goals.
- Adjust your view of failure and celebrate the wins
– even if the win is allowing the adjustment
4.) Business success works hand in hand with fiscal responsibility.
The actions of fiscally responsible, successful people speak for themselves.
Working with a well-thought-out budget personally and for your business gives you a huge advantage over those who do not.
You are here to profit, so knowing where you money is and why puts you lightyears ahead of someone throwing caution to the wind.
Your expenditures hit your bottom line so be true to you and be a thoughtful decisionmaker.
5.) Risk management directly helps alleviate a fear of uncertainty.
Utilize thoughtful risk to your full advantage.
Plan to fail. Plan a worst-case scenario.
- Create Plan B and maybe Plan C. Call it your disaster plan if you want.
- Creating contingency plans for times when things don’t go as planned will make you less nervous. You’ll be confident and more self-assured knowing you have backed yourself up – and knowing you can – and will – do it again.
Knowing your business overcomes your fear of failure.
- Yes, know your customer and know your competitive landscape.
- Know them well. Mitigate fear through with a business assessment you’ve based on facts and data.
Know your business and mitigate fear by doing your homework. How will you know?
You’ll know you took a big step forward…
- when your guess is an educated guess
- when you know your business plan is solid
- when you passed your own reality check
- when you back your decisions with calculated, thoughtful risk
- when a contingency plan grew out of a “plan to fail” exercise
- when you know in your heart that all of these considerations of failure happened because you are planning to succeed
6.) Entrepreneurs actively embrace change & are always learning.
Applaud your growth mindset and how you view change as a step forward!
- Recognize your growth.
- Plan continued growth by including it in your weekly plan.
- Give Yourself Permission to Fail
‘And on your road to success – enjoy your new perspective about the idea of failure.
7.) Exude personal positivity that outweighs fear of failing.
See your glass half-full but more so – know it’s refillable.
Fill your social feeds with good and positivity. Know how the negativity impacts you and change that algorithm to positivity.
Eliminate the fear of fear itself.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his 1933 inaugural address:
so first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
Call your fear of failure out for what it is. Information.
It is information that YOU can put to good use. It is information that in and of itself helps aspiring entrepreneurs combat the fear of fear itself.
Use affirmations. Manifest. Say your morning mantra of positivity with joy and self-belief while looking in the mirror.
Get to know Emilie Leyes. She’s amazingly positive.
I don’t know Emilie, but I do follow her. She can help you:
✨ Access calm strength in the face of challenges
✨ Build unshakable self-worth
✨ Boldly pursue your goals with trust and certainty
Because of her, I routinely notice AND STATE OUT LOUD what is going my way – throughout Every Single Day.
For example: Stuck in traffic? Bummer, right?
- But maybe you also got to see a very cool cloud formation.
- Maybe you were inside your car until the rain passed. Maybe you got to see more smiling people in their cars than grouches.
- Maybe you got to see a lot of grouches, and it made you so happy to know your life was better than that… traffic or no traffic.
- Maybe you noticed how cool tires actually are. Why didn’t you ever notice this before?!
Why do you notice these things? Because no matter what, you find the positive, verbalize it and add, “everything’s going my way!”
Is that out of your comfort zone? Don’t like this idea? Create your own. There are no rules!
Whatever actions relax you and create that sense of calm is what you should do – for you.
Meditate. Read. Exercise, Breathe. Use techniques like guided imagery. Whatever feels right for you.
Just don’t let anxiety act as setback, feeding off of your fears and the stress and worries fear causes.
Follow your own lead and go eat that frog. Start a business. Bring your dream alive. Don’t just be a follower and let life play out that way.
It’s a total don’t. Risk is frightening for me too, so I get it but life’s too special to give in that way.
Entrepreneurship is about dealing with it head on.
Mitigate fear by using it as information. Let the information guide you, protecting your self-esteem, your confidence – and your business.
You got this.