Even after 8 years in business, I still have moments of deep fear. When I moved into my first office, I was terrified. How would I pay for the overhead? How would I fill the space with people and clients?
But, guess what? I did it anyways. Now, I'm about to sign a lease for a space three times the size, and I feel the exact same way. Fear isn't something that goes away after you hit certain success points, it just morphs into a different form.
Here are the types of fear you might have in business and why most fear is actually incredibly healthy. After all, fear is what stops you from touching the metaphorical and literal stove and getting burned.
1. Fear of Failure
Everyone has a component of this fear within them. I'm not an expert at everything in the world and neither are you. So when you attempt something new, whether it's a new recipe for dinner, a new client relationship, or a new diet, fear of failure is always underlying.
But if you never had fear of failure, you wouldn't understand the feeling of success and accomplishment. It's a little woo woo guru, but without the dark the light wouldn't exist. This is just as true in the world of business and should be looked at as a healthy and motivating emotional driver.
2. Fear of Success
The most interesting, and potentially the most unhealthy of all of the fears, this one definitely needs to be conquered. If you are scared to succeed you will rarely try
new things, go outside of your comfort zone, or create opportunities for big wins.
This is equally as true in business as it is in your personal life. If you were terrified of being in a healthy and successful relationship, you might self-sabotage or stop trying all together. Similarly, if you were scared to be successful in business, you might not go after that client that's bigger than any other client you've had in the past.
There's no silver bullet to fixing this fear. Business coaches, personal coaches and therapists are useful resources to help with overcoming this issue, and I personally don't believe you can be successful if this fear is prominent in your life. Recognizing if this is you and doing the work to overcome this fear is the first step.
Do you feel like you need to be at every event, every party, every meeting? Do you scroll through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat and feel like everyone else is having a more exciting time or life than you? Then you might be a victim of FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out.
I had this a LOT more when I was younger. Now my FOMO is really about businesses that I aspire to be more like. My FOMO is about business awards, speaking gigs and wining RFP bids. My how things change as you become a more seasoned business owner.
But FOMO is a healthy fear because it should motivate you to do and be better in business. As long as your FOMO doesn't get out of hand (you will never be a Kardashian) you should be just fine.
4. Fear vs. Growth
There's a fine line between fear and growth. I always tell my clients if they are a little bit scared of the next step they are probably on the right path. If you stay in your comfort zone, you will never grow as exponentially as you would if you felt that tinge of fear, but took a leap of faith and did it anyways. And that's truly what business is about, taking leaps of faith in the face of fear.
There is no human on the planet that doesn't have some measure of fear in their life. Even the Dalai Lama has moments of fear (probably fewer and farther between than yours, but still). The value in fear is being able to take on the perspective of the observer, recognize the fear and whether it's a natural and beneficial fear or not.
Often times, in simply observing the experience of feeling fear you can recognize the underlying issues or true emotions and face them in a healthy way.
In the great words of FDR, "There's nothing to fear but fear itself."