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Running a business can be scary. You put your heart and soul into your company and can’t imagine doing anything else. And then you realize that no matter how successful it is, you might be just a few bad decisions away from losing your dream, disappointing your team, and boarding that bus to Loserville.
It doesn’t have to be this way. As Dave teaches in EntreLeadership Master Series, being scared paralyzed his decision-making ability until he came up with a system to fight it. In fact, one of the core values of Dave’s team today is that decisions are never made based on fear.
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So how can you conquer your fear of failing? Here are a few tips that can help you overcome those nightmarish feelings.
1. Face Your Fear
What’s the easiest way to get over your fear of failure? Own up to it. Realize that along with great success come many stumbles. You are going to mess up at some point, and that’s okay. Henry Ford, Bill Gates and even Thomas Edison all screwed up numerous times before they hit it big. It’s the best way to learn. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
2. Consider the Awful Truth
When trying to decide on a new project or option for your company, think worst case. If everything falls apart, will you be able to survive? When the answer is yes, the decision is no longer so frightening. You know that even if you bomb spectacularly, you’ll still be around. ”Once I know I’m not going to die from making this call—even if I’m wrong—it releases me to make the call,” Dave says.
3. Talk It Up
Remember when you were a kid and facing something scary? It was always better to have a friend by your side to talk about it. Well, the same holds true for adults. You don’t have to go it alone. Find a business mentor who’s been through tough times and discuss your biggest business fears with them. Once those concerns are out in the open, you’ll find them much more manageable.
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4. Make a Contingency Plan
One of the easiest ways to get rid of fear is to have lots of options. If something goes wrong, you already have a back-up plan in place. Use a number of vendors, for example, so you are not relying on one. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. As Dave says, options give you power, therefore removing fear.
Fear will always play a part in owning your own business, whether it’s being scared of losing customers or revenue, or even being sued. And they’re all legitimate concerns. But it’s how you handle them that makes the difference between success and failure. “It is wise to recognize that those fears may be well-founded, and we should not ignore the potential consequences of our decisions,” Dave says. “But we will not allow the spirit of fear to drive us.”
To learn more about business, team building and leadership, download our EntreLeadership Podcasts, which include lessons from Dave, plus interviews with key business leaders from across the nation.