A common difficulty when starting a business is fear. Fear of failure, fear of comparison, fear of the unknown, I could go on and on! But then, there are other areas of life that we can be afraid of starting- parenthood, college, even something as simple as a new recipe. What’s the worst that can happen, really? Even if something doesn’t turn out the way you planned it, it’s still rewarding! Are we ever guaranteed success? Why are we so scared of failure?
A statement you hear in the motivational world is, “If you don't take risks, you will always work for someone who does.”
How do we get to the point where the reward overrules the risk, where the fear gets set aside?
Obviously, your mindset has something to do with it- but it may be even more than that. It can be broken down into how the risk can be tackled by who you are and why you are taking the chance.
After pondering over the different moments of fear that a new beginning brings, I did some research and read what other entrepreneurs or writers had to say. I noticed that there is a constant juxtaposition from fear (or risk) to courage. A line that I read and loved was from an article by Forbes. It said, “Entrepreneurs are natural risk-takers. That’s what makes you dip your toe into entrepreneurship in the first place.” That really was intriguing! In my perspective, it implies that our sole beings can be a reason that some people have a yearning to be a CEO or start their own business and make a name for themselves. It’s IN them- as ingrained in their bones and being just like their eye color or the nuances of a fingerprint. This could be a great reason why the risk is worth taking for certain individuals, or the ones that “made it” in our eyes. Perhaps, they couldn’t help but take the chance on failure because they had no other choice but to go for it! Who they are takes over.
With that being said, fear still exists.
While this can apply to someone wanting to start their own business, these risks can also apply to a position of leadership. Even if we have the natural determination to be part of something bigger and greater, there’s that initial period where we freeze. According to the Harvard Business Review, there are three main reasons why we hesitate: interpersonal risk, image risk, and the risk of being blamed.
With interpersonal, this applies to someone that is worried of the risk of hurting their peers or teammates’ feelings. Image risk is all about being worried about what others will think of you taking that risk (this is my general go-to). The risk of being blamed is pretty straight-forward. If failure happens, then it’s my fault. All of these are very valid issues and reasons to not jump into something new. How can we move past these risks that are so intimidating?
Another article I read by Northwestern University said, “Courage is not just taking risk. It is confronting fear in a task that is linked to a higher-order goal or that has meaning to the individual.” We can see that the role of an entrepreneur is deep inside a person, but then comes the business venture itself. A good business is founded on a reason- it has meaning to the individual investing in it (At Kaizen-Life, we like to call it your WHY, after Simon Sinek).
This is what makes the risks disappear. We know that we have it in us to lead or jump, but we need to know our purpose to really conquer those fears. I’ll share one more quote that I love, because it fits so well. Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why, said, “All know WHAT they do; some know HOW they do it; few know WHY they do what they do.”
So how do we overcome those fears? Whether it’s fear of starting your own business or fear of taking that next step anywhere in life, knowing the purpose behind it and having the confidence that you are BUILT to do it will take all those fears away.
I challenge you, the next time that you feel that part of your mind is starting to list the risks involved, push back with your WHY and move forward! You will never know the reward without the risk.
You were made for this!
- Abigail Alano