One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do. - Henry Ford
Take a look at most leaders and you will think that they have it all together. When they are facing outward, many portray a sense of vision, assurance, and even perhaps confidence that leads others to fall in behind them and pull together to create an organization that fulfills its mission and creates values for its stakeholders. The stakeholders are usually the clients or customers, bankers, partners, investors, and employees to name just a few. Yet like you and I, most leaders are sometimes living on the edge of failure. This is often stressful and the internalized fears can have a significant effect on the health of leaders and entrepreneurs.
Fear of Failure
Failing in our business after putting in so much time, energy, and money can make us lose face. We have probably been putting on a brave face all the while knowing that things are not always going well. We are afraid of failing our family who have believed in us and not being able to “bring home the bread.” We might be afraid to fail because we will disappoint our employees and even our customers. I even worked with a business owner who was afraid to fail because she would let down the previous owner that sold her the business, for too high of a price I might add!
Fear of Losing Control
Business owners don’t want to lose control and as a result end up micromanaging their
businesses. “No one can do it as good as I can” is often heard in the small business environment. However, it is exactly this fear of losing control that holds business owners back. Only once you overcome this fear and start delegating tasks can you move your business forward. Successful owners hire people that are better than them and let these people do the job they were hired for.
Fear of Not Knowing What to Do Next
We own a business or lead an organization; we think we should know everything; however, this is impossible. Often business owners are great at the technical aspects of the business and end up faking the other stuff. Don’t be afraid of getting help in areas where you don’t have the expertise. In order to know what to do next often we need to slow down, not rush our decisions but at the same time refuse to be conquered by inaction. Feeling fearful and overwhelmed is often the symptom of not having plans in place and following those plans.
Fear of Success
You might think that this is impossible, however some leaders I know, don’t believe that they
can be successful and have told me that they are afraid that if they are successful something
may be out of their control. In some cases this relates to upbringing and being discouraged or doubted by others including family members or staff. Often as leaders, we fail to recognize that we are successful. By celebrating successes and recognizing what you have done well along with having goals that are achievable you can overcome this fear.
Fear of Being Thought of as Crazy
You are stepping out on a limb by taking on a business venture or by initiating a different
strategy for your organization, and some people will think that the risk is incredible and that you are crazy for doing it. Pay no heed to the naysayers unless they have experience in what you are doing, but listen closely to good advice. Avoid those with little else left to do, then bring down those leaders like yourself who are able to see bigger things! It's the big dreamers like you who turn those dreams into action who make a change in the world!
Fear of Thinking Big!
This can be related to some of the other fears, which all can be related to our upbringing or our life's history, however thinking big can be scary but necessary for small business owners. Unless you can think out of the box and try new things, you will stuck forever with small profits and a struggling business. Think and dream big regularly and move yourself and your organization forward with incremental steps until it grows as big as your dreams! Don’t limit your business, make it so you and your business are opportunity seekers!
Lack of Business Knowledge
As a business coach, I work with leaders in business on a regular basis that have not reached
their full potential because of self-limiting factors. Sometimes it is simply the lack of knowledge on how to grow their businesses, how to increase sales, or more importantly how to make their business profitable. Often times the leaders don’t have systems, good marketing practices, or financial systems in place that enable them to be successful. It’s hard to measure what you don’t understand. If this is holding your business back, take some courses or get someone to help you with this area of your business so that you can become more successful. The fact that you are reading this right now proves that you are committed to increasing your knowledge of business which will lead to your success.
Don’t be afraid! In order to truly be successful leaders, you and I need to determine what is causing us fear and determine whether that fear is holding us back or pushing us forward. By understanding the drivers and the psychological barriers we might have to our success and working on those we can truly achieve things thought impossible by others. Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.
If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. - Dale Carnegie
Dave Fuller MBA is an Award Winning Certified Professional Business Coach and the Author of the book “Profit Yourself Healthy” don’t be afraid to email Dave your comments firstname.lastname@example.org