My answer: Yes, it’s called fear. I feel it every morning.
There’s something really powerful about the idea of fear within the entrepreneurial experience of running a business or being self employed.
Entrepreneurship, running a business or being self employed is, at its heart, an incredibly scary thing; individuals are laying everything on the line to pursue an idea, dream or passion. Often, new business founders are putting themselves at an incredible risk — not to mention their partners, families and friends.
I think no matter the form it takes, fear provides the push I need to succeed. I think I have turned fear into one of my greatest allies.
Fear, keeps people safe. It triggers their fight or flight response as a way of coping with dangerous situations.
While you’re probably not fighting for your life at work, the impulse of fear helps people avoid pitfalls.
One of the most important steps toward turning fear from an enemy into an ally is identifying the sources of the fear.
If a new idea is freaking you out, take time to analyse and figure out why. Is it too risky or are you simply feeling the pressure as you contemplate shaking things up?
Are you afraid because you haven’t yet looked at a problem from every angle or are you simply experiencing the fear that arises before taking the plunge with a new project?
Getting out of your comfort zone is healthy and encouraged, but throwing your business plan and projections off a cliff because you haven’t vetted every outcome is not.
I grew up as one of three. I am a true middle child, with a sister on either side of me in the birth order.
I have the stereotypical middle child insecurities, they are still alive and well in me.
Both of my siblings are well-educated and successful.
The fear of being overshadowed by siblings in the eyes of my mum drove me to be competitive and start my first business.
I decided early on that no matter what business I started and made a success of, that success was mine: It was something that no one else could claim or take from me. It was my answer to the fear of being overshadowed.
Ultimately, it was that insecurity and a lack of money, that lighted the fire that would become my entrepreneurial passion.
As humbled and thankful as I am for the success I’ve achieved, fear still lurks behind every action — the worries about not being good enough, of being beaten to the punch and the need to succeed more all still remain.
Fear is a healthy, essential way to avoid complacency and challenge yourself to excel and succeed — if you learn to embrace and harness those feelings.
What I’ve found over the years is that fear manifests itself in different ways. Call it whatever you like — a drive, ambition, passion, the fire. But what it boils down to is fear — of losing, letting yourself down, disappointing your loved ones, forfeiting what you’ve built.
Once you recognise that it’s all just a game of semantics and that fear and drive are two ways to say the same thing, you can embrace fear for what it truly is.
Recognising the potential power of fear as a motivator is the key to understanding it as an ally for your business and goals.
You can’t just ignore it or pretend you’re invincible and untouchable. Rather, let in the fear. Embrace it. Allow it to keep you honest and constantly driving forward.
As a famous author once said and you should read her book “Feel the fear and do it anyway”
Fear can be the spark that drives you to greatness if you let it.
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