There are many reasons why one doesn’t pursue the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Some are legitimate reasons, including the fact that personal desires and dreams don’t include being in business for yourself. Not everyone wants to be in charge and this is perfectly legitimate.

However, it is interesting to note that studies show that 70% of the people in US have a desire to own a business, and yet so many never pull that trigger. Sometimes financial constraints, or personal and family reasons, are the inhibitors that simply won’t allow for the beginning of a new venture.

While there are certainly legitimate reasons why a person may not become an entrepreneur, let’s focus on a few of the main reasons cited by people that would like to start a business but haven’t made that leap. I will also offer some thoughts on how to defeat the fear, and progress towards the dream.

Fear of Failure

This particular one is probably the most paralyzing of all. Yet, if we examine all of the successful people we know, both past and present, we will come to understand that they have not been frozen by the fear of failure. That poses the question: should we not try to emulate the practices of those that are successful? If so, then the primary challenge is to shed the fear of failure. They did – all of them. It doesn’t mean they didn’t experience it, but it does mean they climbed past it.

In their book entitled Power Networking, Sandy Vilas and Donna Fisher proclaim that ‘life is either a daring adventure or nothing’. Their message is that if you don’t dare to pursue opportunities, then you will be stuck where you are forever. I am a true believer in a similar concept that if there is no risk, you’re playing it way too safe.

To explain by way of a metaphor, if a basketball player finishes a game with no fouls, they were probably playing too safe, they probably didn’t take risks that should have been taken, and they did not achieve their optimum result. And yet, each foul is a failure – but a failure that is a part of the overall success.

As humans, we have a biological make up that provides for the natural instincts to fight or run. When we feel the fear of failure, we feel anxious and nervous, which causes us to tighten up and quell actions. We then tend to convert to natural defense mechanisms and escape to daily routines and activities. Instead of taking action, we bury ourselves in work, television, newspapers, and computer minutia, or whatever the particular medicine of the day dictates. That’s the run-and-hide reflex.

The result is that vagueness sets in and we lose sight of the important issues that can change our lives for the better. Our natural reaction is out of sight, out of mind – no worries. Of course that means finding solutions or finding change for the better is an impossible feat.

The contrary and effective line of thought is to bring out the fear and deal with it. Picture the worst scenario, and then use your imagination to identify ways of addressing it. Realizing that the worst scenario can have solutions and alternatives is powerful medicine, which will relieve the pressure and make action possible.

If I were to summarize thoughts to deal with the fear of failure, they would be:

  1. Change things, change results. Keep things the same, don’t expect different results
  2. Act boldly. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and magic in it. Begin it now.” Goethe
  3. Persist and never, ever give up
  4. Everyone faces challenges and issues – it’s not personal
  5. Ease up on yourself – tomorrow’s coming anyway
  6. Look for possibilities – there are always solutions and alternatives

Fear incapacitates unsuccessful people. The most powerful, the most successful people have faced the fear, and realized that they can survive it. That realization is a tremendous springboard to prosperity. As Susan Jeffers said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.


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