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How budding entrepreneurs can overcome fear

I am privileged to write a monthly article on entrepreneurship in the independent stable of community newspapers. The article coming out this week is on the 5 common fears entrepreneurs face. It is a little lengthy, so I won’t repeat it in full here.   Here is an extract as well as 12 truths about fear.

Starting your own business holds the promise of time and material freedom. It is possible to start a business where the business concept is bankable, with an existing market and opportunity to scale it sustainably.

Yet every new level has a built in new “devil”. These are limitations, challenges and constraints that need to be managed and properly addressed.

Often times the budding entrepreneur is high on dreams but low on resources; high on passion but low on planning; high on the end vision, but low on how to start. Starting a business requires a mastery of skills: In addition to technical knowledge and familiarity with your industry, there is also a strong mental component. We’ll never know how many businesses never get started because the would-be founder lost his or her nerve at the last minute.

Couple this with five common entrepreneurial fears, and the budding entrepreneur may feel seriously overwhelmed.

In the past 14 years or so, I have had the privilege of walking with a host of different kinds of businesses; business people and entrepreneurs. Not one of these was immune to the common challenges or inoculated against the variety of fears they were facing.

Each one was faced with the challenge of how they would navigate the stormy waters to get to the destination they desired.

There is no silver bullet, no “one answer”. Yet there are some principles that may help you be more prepared, robust and clear in your approach.

Here are 12 truths about fear, from award winning authors, Drs. Kevin and Jackie Freiberg. (www.freibergs.com)

12 Truths about Fear

  1. Fear is part of our neural circuitry. It warns us of an immediate threat, floods our bodies with adrenaline and enables us to react in split seconds. Fear is essential to our survival. It also kills us.
  2. Fear manifests itself in many ways, but all fall into one of three categories—fight, freeze, flight.
  3. Fear is one of the great enemies of living a big, rich, full, joyful life.
  4. Fear steals our dreams, weakens our resolve, lowers our esteem, paralyzes us and hinders us from being all that we were created to be.
  5. Research now shows that it is psychologically impossible for our minds to process fear and appreciation at the same time. When something scary happens ask yourself: What can I learn from this? Where is the silver lining in this situation? What is there to appreciate about this scenario? Fear will begin to dissipate.
  6. Run from your fears and they will grow stronger.
  7. Disown your fears and they will own you.
  8. Most fears are irrational. Fear is an automatic response that is faster than the process of rational thought. It’s on us before we know it!
  9. You will never discover your true capabilities unless you find the courage to step through fear.
  10. Like turning on the light in a dark, scary room, when you put the spotlight on fear the unknowns become known and usually a lot less scary.
  11. The key to stepping through fear is to recognize it immediately, understand its nature, stop it in its tracks and destroy it in its infancy.
  12. The best way to destroy fear is to do the very thing that frightens you.

Here’s to breaking through the fear you are facing on your entrepreneurial journey.

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