By Stephen Dalby, Founder of Gabb Wireless Inc.
Every company and entrepreneur faces obstacles on their way to success. No matter how much effort is put into risk assessment and management, the reality is that the unexpected occurs -- whether it's a disaster or some other problem that takes time to overcome. As an entrepreneur, I've seen these situations happen.
What happens as a result can be summed up in a four-letter word that then becomes the largest obstacle of all to overcome. That four-letter word is "fear," and it's something all entrepreneurs need to work through. Otherwise, they risk sabotaging themselves, their businesses and their success.
Fear appears in the minds of entrepreneurs for many reasons. It could be fear of failure, fear of losing capital, fear of putting themselves out there, fear of losing their hard-earned reputation, or fear of leaving behind a stable paycheck and going into the unknown.
You may be wondering why you would do something associated with any of those fears. However, if you want to continue as an entrepreneur, it's critical that you find a way to work through these worries.
Here are three things you can do to start the process of working through fear so you can release your full potential.
Rather than focusing on the things you fear, concentrate on the little successes you've been able to achieve to date.
One of my favorite examples of what I mean by this is James Watson and his discovery of the structure of DNA alongside his research partner, Francis Crick. Although it sounds large -- and it is -- the key here is that they could have stopped every time they had a setback on the way to this discovery.
But, they didn't because it was the small steps toward progress that kept them going. As they built the model with each step, they could see it take shape. Each of those steps led them to the final model. If you want to understand that more, I highly recommend you read Watson's memoir, The Double Helix.
Apply that same idea of small steps to whatever you are building as an entrepreneur. For me, I built a car wash. If you can believe it, that little success served as the catalyst for my current endeavor.
Lean on the expertise of others.
Our fears originate in our minds and alter our perspectives about what's really going on. It helps to surround yourself with people who are successful entrepreneurs who can lead you past those thoughts.
This is based on the ideas of motivational speaker Jim Rohn, who famously said that we are the average of the five people we choose to spend the most time with. This belief is based on what's known as the law of averages, where any type of result from a situation comes from averaging all of the potential outcomes.
While everyone might not agree with this theory, I've personally experienced it. Once I changed the people around me to those who provided positive energy, I saw a change in my own perception.
Your network should be there to support and help your efforts as an entrepreneur. They need to be part mentor, part cheerleader. In return, you have a role to play, which is to be open and teachable so you benefit from that positive energy.
Be a little crazy.
Think of some of the people who seemed a little crazy because they thought they could change the world, and then they actually did. For me, those who fit that description are people like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk.
Others may see them as crazy because they don't have the same vision or confidence to understand how to change the world. However, those who are visionary enough don't see themselves or their beliefs as crazy.
Neither of these two people let fear hold them back. Instead, they let their lack of contentment with the status quo drive them. Others scoffed at the prospect of a mobile phone that doubled as a computer or doubted that electric vehicles could be cool or a ventilator could be made from car parts. No one understood their ideas at the time. Now, they are things society can't seem to live without.
These entrepreneurs weren't afraid to prove the world wrong. In fact, they viewed the doubt as an incentive to push society forward, disrupt industries and create products that get people excited.
Take the leap.
By embracing the small wins, surrounding yourself with positive people and experienced colleagues, and letting yourself step outside the norm, you can create change that inspires. Leap past the obstacle of fear, and reach the finish line with your startup. I did it, and I believe you can, too.