7 Steps to Overcome the Fear That Is Holding You Back

Learning how to overcome fear in life translates into a powerful entrepreneurial trait. Fear makes you hesitant to take that vital first – or next – step. It causes you to miss out on what could be massive opportunities. If you’ve ever said to yourself, “If only I had…” then you’ve suffered because of fear. Usually, a fear of failure.

How fear fails you in business

As Tony Robbins says, most people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. In business, fear is usually (but by no means always) associated with loss of money. This may cause you to:

  • Avoid taking risks

  • Stop growing your business

  • Limit your potential

Your life will become one big “what if?”.

Is now the right time to start a business?

You may be thinking about starting a business in 2021. To be your own boss, and not at the mercy of others is certainly appealing. Your potential earnings suddenly transform from the raise your company decides to give you, to reward for the effort you put in and the entrepreneurial spirit you bring to the table.

So, what’s stopping you? The answer is fear. 

Oh, you might blame a lack of startup money or that you’re waiting for the right opportunity to come along, but these are only excuses:

  • Funding is always achievable (read my article ‘Where do I get financing for my new business?’)

  • You create your own opportunities, no one is going to gift you the perfect business

To eliminate your fear, it’s important to understand the nature of fear. It might be real (have you ever been chased by a hungry lion?). Most commonly, though, fear is imagined (fear of the dark, for example, and the visions of being attacked).

It’s this imagined fear that stops you from achieving your true potential as an entrepreneur. You get so scared of the potential downside that you fail to act to achieve the potential upside.

Okay, now you understand the psychology and personal nature of fear, and a little of how it can fail you in business, let’s look at how you can eliminate the fear that is killing your entrepreneurial potential.

How to overcome fear in life as an entrepreneur

Here are seven steps you can take to being a less fearful entrepreneur.

Step #1: Identify what it is that makes you fearful

First, what is it that you’re so scared of?

  • You may fear failing, or of suffering a financial loss

  • Perhaps you’ve never managed people before, and you’re fearful of being taken for a ride

  • Then again, you might think that you just don’t have the skills to succeed

  • Money, of course, is another common cause of anxiety in business – you may be concerned at how to manage cashflow and expenses

  • Perhaps you are fearful of disappointing others, like your family who rely on you

So many things sent to cause you fear!

Step #2: Accept your fears

Be at ease with your personal fears. Seriously, they’re neither new nor unique to you.

To accept your fears more easily, think about them consciously. Identify what it is that causes each fear you have, and why you are finding it so hard to overcome each fear. Taking time to understand and accept your fears is time well spent.

Step #3: Create your big rocks

Stephen Covey calls them your big rocks. What he is talking about are your major goals. Take time to consider what you want to achieve. The lifestyle you seek, the difference you want to make, and when you want these achievements.

The level of fear you retain will determine if you hit your targets ‘someday, maybe, or never’.

So, write down your goals. Make them compelling and motivational. Consider how your life will be if you act to achieve these goals, and how it will be if you don’t.

Step #4: Stop making excuses

Here’s where you’ve got to get tough with yourself. You must recognize the excuses you make and stop making them.

“I don’t know how to do that,” should not be in your vocabulary. Instead, start thinking, “How can I learn how to do that?”

“I don’t have the money to start,” is another excuse I hear from people who could be great in business. Why aren’t they asking, “Where can I get the funds to start this business?” The reason, of course, is fear.

The next time you hear yourself making an excuse (including that voice inside your head), twist it around. Start looking for solutions instead of making excuses.

Step #5: Build a network for success

Fear dents your motivation to succeed in life. You’ve heard the saying, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Apply this principle to your entrepreneurial life.

Surround yourself with people who have faced the same fears you have and have overcome them. Take steps to create a network that will help you stay positive and motivated to succeed.

If your network is negative, you’ll be negative. You will never believe in yourself, and you will never overcome your fears. A positive, successful network will help to drive you to the success you deserve.

Step #6: Learn from failure and build better

Failure is a part of life and business. Have you ever allowed failure to dictate your personal life? If you failed a test, did you just give in? You want some inspiration? How about these examples:

  • J. K. Rowling was turned down by a dozen publishers before her Harry Potter stories were published.

  • Abraham Lincoln failed in a business venture in 1831. He failed to get elected as president in 1836. The rest is history.

  • Michael Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots in his career.

There are thousands more that I could quote to you. The moral of each is, as Albert Einstein (himself, a poor performer at school) once said:

“Failure is success in progress.”

Learn from your failures. Build better next time. Never give up.

Step #7: Make fear your business advantage

Don’t dismiss your fears entirely. Learn to listen to them, analyze them, and control them. While fear is an emotional reaction, employ it as a piece of information to help you make better decisions. When you overcome your personal fears, your business decisions will be better, and you are more likely to achieve your full potential.

Here’s what I know

As an entrepreneur, a little fear is good. But you cannot allow your fear to rule your decisions. When my first business imploded, it would have been easy for me to become afraid to go into business again. Million-dollar losses can have that effect. 

But I got back up, dusted myself off, learned from the experience, and created something extremely special with MZM Construction. I could never have attained the success I have had without overcoming my fears.

Tell me about your fears for life as an entrepreneur. Do you fear failure, financial loss, or letting down your loved ones? Do you think you don’t have the skills to succeed?

Whatever your fears and anxieties for life as an entrepreneur and business owner, let me know in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you, and I’ll try to answer any questions you may have, either directly or in future articles.

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