Which Type of Fear Might Be Holding You Back from Success in Business?
By Vishal P. Rao
ideas are literally "a dime a dozen". Individuals conceptualize revolutionary
new products and new services with each passing minute of each day.
Although there is such a steady stream of ideas that can be marketed
successfully and developed into a lucrative business, there are actually
few new businesses that make it past the "initial stages" into actual
Why is this, and what factors contribute to the abandonment of great
ideas that could've possibly netted the creators a small fortune?
There seem to be two major psychological forces at work when a great
idea is abandoned before completion or a business fails for no apparent
reason. These two psychological syndromes are:
1. Fear of Success
2. Fear of Failure
It is a very frightening prospect to start and maintain a home-based
business. There's no doubt about that. And every business owner feels
the "fear" of being responsible for their own destinies, and for their
own futures. It's quite common, to be somewhat nervous and stressed
about our businesses, especially in the beginning.
Conquering this fear is a necessity, however, as no one can be effective
in a business if they allow the fear to overwhelm them.
Fear can be "healthy" in a way, as it can keep an individual alert and
aware of any failures of the business, which thwarts problems before
they start. Fear can also be "unhealthy" when an individual experiences
such fear that it leads to inaction and the business never really gets
off the ground as a result.
The two fears above seem to be the most prominent among new business
owners. In the first, Fear of Success, a new business owner may have
a great idea, and may develop every facet of the business thoroughly,
yet they never seem to "open" the doors of the business. They may find
excuse after excuse, why they can't really put the business into play,
although all facets of the business are established. They may find that
they run into repeated crises in their lives, sickness of themselves
or a loved one, disasters that are not "really" disasters crop up repeatedly.
This is simple Fear of Success, and part of a psychological pattern.
Although crises do occur to us all, we go on with life despite these,
and no one has crises that are continuous. A business owner with this
syndrome is merely afraid that success will "change" their lives and
they are afraid they won't be able to cope with the changes. Of course,
success will change someone's life. However, the Fear of Success can
be so overwhelming, that some new business owners simply let the business
fall by the wayside, thereby ensuring its failure. After all, if the
business fails to get started or to succeed, they never have to face
the reality of their "Fear of Success."
The second fear is just as detrimental as the Fear of Success. This
fear is the Fear of Failure. This fear seems slightly more common and
is characterized by the inability of future business owners to even
get "started" with any plans or any concrete method of establishing
a business. They constantly procrastinate in even the most simple of
business chores. They fail to ever establish the business in any way,
and for the most part are always promising to "start tomorrow", only
tomorrow may never come. They also may jump from "idea to idea" always
hatching a new plan for the next great business. Unfortunately, the
plans are the only thing that is ever hatched, as nothing concrete ever
materializes. They can be seen by their family and friends as mere "schemers"
Occasionally, business owners can "waver" between the two fears, actually
experiencing both Fear of Failure and Fear of Success simultaneously,
becoming almost paralyzed with the emotions of all this, and unable
to attend to the business with any degree of rationality. They can start
businesses over and over, or make plans for businesses over and over,
and yet never see any real degree of success. These fears, like all
other fears, can be overcome. There are many methods to use to overcome
1. A business owner needs to stop "projecting the worst case scenarios"
onto the business. This is by far the most effective method. Business
owners that worry too much about the worst happening, eventually make
this projection a reality.
2. Business owners need to be realistic about the timeframe involved
in success. A good business may take months or even years to stabilize.
3. Business owners need to be aware of their own feelings and motives.
When "stalled" within a business, they have to question their own inner
emotions and ask themselves if perhaps their emotions are overruling
their own common sense.
4. A business owner will need to have as much personal and business
support as possible behind them. This includes family, friends, and
of course, other business people. Knowing we are not "alone" can easily
alleviate misgivings and misconceptions.
5. A business owner should take time to relax and de-stress whenever
needed. Fears become more palpable and real during times of extended
6. Business owners should always have well thought out plans of action.
Good plans reduce stress and the symptoms of stress, which exacerbate
our fears overall.
It is best if any potential business owner addresses their fears and
their approach to life as well as their motives before starting a new
business. It is better to address any underlying issues prior to beginning
a business, as addressing them while "within" the throes of a hectic
business start up is difficult, if not impossible.
Remember all fears can be conquered, and it is better to have tried
and failed than never to have tried at all!