Fear of Success or Fear of Failure

Fear keeps us from reaching our goals, succeeding in our companies, and reaching for the stars. Fear of failure or Fear of success.

As an entrepreneur, your tolerance for failure is critically important. If you fail, it means you tried. And you can’t win without trying. 

Similarly, the only way you can learn to make a great decision is to make a bad one. Failing provides valuable feedback that can be applied when you try again—and win. Success, therefore, is a byproduct of failure. As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Failing is a skill to be trained and refined. And as with any skill, practice makes perfect. This gets to the core of what makes running a business both frustrating and exhilarating. To get better at it, you need to stretch yourself. To grow, you need to change. And to change, you need to grow.

Growth involves a great deal of discomfort at times. For example, at some point in your entrepreneurial journey—and this point often comes quickly—you’ll be in a position where you have to make a judgment call with no one else to fall back on. Or you’ll be forced to butt heads with employees or customers. Sooner rather than later, you’ll have to go out and pitch for new business. In myriad ways, you’ll have to get comfortable with being front and center, and for most of us, that’s a place that feels pretty uncomfortable.

Those who follow the path toward change and progress are not fearless in all aspects of life. In fact, they often feel fear more acutely than those who choose to walk a more well-trod path. But they don’t run from the fear, they embrace it. Fear is not a barrier; it’s what drives them.

Fear stops entrepreneurs from doing many things, such as stepping into conflict, putting themselves and their insights into the marketplace of ideas, and making progress on ambitious goals. Too many entrepreneurs tell themselves they will take action “when the time is right.” But then years pass, and they still face the same circumstances in their careers, despite an intense desire for change and growth.

The truth is that the only time that is ever right is right now. The steps you must take to become a successful entrepreneur are sometimes scary. Waiting for the fear to go away is a hopeless strategy. It never will. Eventually, you must be more afraid of settling for mediocrity than chasing your dreams and failing.

It takes courage to face the fear and move toward it. But the more you face it, the more it becomes a habit. You learn that taking the plunge is not as scary as you thought, so you leap again. And again. Pretty soon, you can’t help but stretch yourself in new and exciting ways.

Soon you’ll realize that fear is not something to avoid; it’s a feeling to embrace. In most cases, growth and satisfaction lie on the other side of fear.

Categories: Scaling