The Power and Role of Fear in Building a Successful Business

Craig MacMullin: President & CEO, CEED & SEED, Consultant, CPA, CGA, CBCA, CIPP/C. “There are no problems, only solutions.”
Fear might be the one feeling that most entrepreneurs have experienced at some point in their lives. It can be a looming presence, an invisible force that holds one back from taking risks and pursuing their dreams. It can be the reason why some never take the leap to start their own business altogether. However, as counterintuitive as it may seem, fear can also be the driving force that propels entrepreneurs to greatness.

Fear is a natural human response to the unknown, the uncertain, and the potentially dangerous. In the world of business, that fear can manifest in various ways – fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, and even fear of success. Fear can be crippling, but it can also be a motivator. Fear can keep you on your toes, making you work harder to achieve your goals. A healthy fear of failure can push entrepreneurs to stay vigilant, work smarter, and constantly strive to improve their craft. In some cases, entrepreneurs harness that fear to propel themselves to success and greatness.

For many new entrepreneurs, fear of failure tops the list of fears. Failure in business can be costly – financially, emotionally, and psychologically. Unfortunately, the fear of failure can also prevent entrepreneurs from taking the necessary risks to make their businesses succeed. Entrepreneurs who are afraid of failure are less likely to take chances, try new things, and experiment with new ideas. The fear of making mistakes can cause entrepreneurs to play it safe, which can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities.

“Fail fast” is a common piece of advice given to new entrepreneurs. The idea behind this philosophy is to embrace failure as an essential part of the learning process. The goal is to fail quickly and iterate fast to avoid costly mistakes down the road. Supporters of “fail fast” claim that it is better to experiment with different strategies and ideas and learn from mistakes than to stick to a single, untested approach. However, “fail fast” should not be mistaken for reckless abandon or impulsive decision-making. Instead, the idea behind “fail fast” is to take calculated risks and learn from outcomes quickly.

Most successful entrepreneurs experience failure before achieving success. Walt Disney was fired from his first job for “lacking creativity” and went bankrupt several times before launching Disneyland. Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple before returning to build a company worth billions. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a television reporter and faced numerous setbacks before launching her own show. These entrepreneurs didn’t let failure define them but used it as a stepping stone to success. Learn from their stories and be inspired to persevere through difficult times.

A positive mindset can be a powerful tool in overcoming fear of failure. A successful entrepreneur understands that failure is a part of the process, but it does not define them. Instead of fearing failure, entrepreneurs with a growth mindset see it as an opportunity to learn and improve. They view challenges as exciting opportunities to push themselves and their businesses to the next level. By reframing their perspective on failure, entrepreneurs can shift their focus onto the positive aspects of their journey, the successes, and the lessons learned along the way.

As an entrepreneur, fear can either be a roadblock or a catalyst. It is essential to understand the role of fear in building a successful business and learn how to manage it effectively. By embracing failure as a natural part of the process, taking calculated risks when necessary, and cultivating a growth mindset, entrepreneurs can overcome their fears and achieve the success they desire. Fear should never hold entrepreneurs back from pursuing their dreams, but instead, serve as a reminder to stay vigilant, motivated, and focused on their goals.

See the post on LinkedIn.