Call me crazy, but I have a love of fear. I embrace it with open arms. I experience it every day and I am grateful that I do. I choose my fear to keep me uncomfortable, allowing me to stretch higher, wider, and deeper toward my planned accomplishments. But when I surveyed business women across the country about their number one struggle, the answer was the same, fear: Fear of failing, fear of getting hurt, fear of financial devastation, and fear of the unknown. There is so much to be afraid of when you go into business, but my question to you is this – so what?
The honest truth is that when you go into business for yourself, you WILL fail. Your failures may be big – your business doesn’t succeed – or they may be small – your best attempts to stay organized fail – but you WILL fail. You will stumble, you will fall, and you will get hurt. What matters is what you do after those things happen, and you cannot let fear get in the way of trying.
My new book, The Results Map for Women in Biz, is full of stories of incredible, brave women who experienced a variety of failures, heartbreaks and difficulties that led them to where they are today. Chapter two is all about how to take action while leaving emotion out of the process, and overcoming it to achieve great things. Krissy Ferro, Founder of Ferro Cosmetics is an example of what can happen when you make the tough choices, push forward in the midst of them, and overcome incredible fears and pains. You can read Krissy’s incredible story in chapter 2 of The Results Map for Women in Biz.
The following are some of the most common fears faced by business owners, and a little insight on how to overcome fear.
1. Fear of Making the Wrong Decision
Never forget that you have the power to make decisions about your business and your life. There is great comfort and also great fear in recognizing this power. “But what if I make the wrong decision?” Let me pierce this thought process right now – you WILL make wrong decisions. You cannot possibly make the right decision every time. History is filled with people that made the wrong decisions, and the rest of the stories are filled with how those decisions often led to some of the greatest ideas and opportunities. Making decisions is far easier when you are clear on what you want, and understand the steps you need to take to get there. As for making the wrong decision? The only truly wrong decision is refusing to make one at all.
2. Fear of Being Seen as a Failure
It can be tempting to dodge blame or act like a victim if you happen to make a decision that ends with unintended results. But remember, we are all human, and part of being human is making mistakes. The best thing to do is to own your decision. Don’t focus on the failure, instead, focus on how to get back on course the next day. Don’t sabotage yourself with negative self-thought. Whenever you tell yourself, “I can’t,” “I failed,” I will never,” etc., your brain will remember and believe it. Be kind to yourself and instead of all that negative talk, say, “I can, I will and I won.”
3. Fear of Getting Hurt
The toughest choices to make are the emotional ones, the ones that affect family, friends, finance, and future. A great deal of fear is tied toward getting hurt in any of these areas. Too often, people allow what others think to keep them from doing what they know they should do. They fear disappointing someone, fear losing a key relationship, or fear watching everything they built go down in flames. By having a clear perspective and strategy for your future and your life, even these tougher, emotion-driven choices, come easier. This doesn’t mean that you do not consider other people’s feelings or potential outcomes. What it does do is help you approach these tougher areas with the ability to make wiser, more confident decisions and to take action from them.
Remember, today’s progress is determined by yesterday’s choices. Fear is natural, but it can, and should be overcome. Ask any of the ladies featured in The Results Map for Women in Biz whether or not they experienced fear on their business journeys. Many of them will freely admit that fear held them back for a time, but that once they embraced their past and looked toward their futures, they were able to overcome their fears and find incredible success.