How to Overcome Fear of Failure with Your Startup
If you fear that you might fail with your startup venture, hold on to that fear. That fear is real because the chances of failing with your startup is high. Many people wishfully think that they can succeed with their startup. The excitement of starting a new business is usually high in the beginning and then the reality sets in.
If you want to grow a startup into a successful company, fear is not your enemy, but your ally. Do not try to eliminate the fear. Use the fear to think about possible outcomes and make a plan to overcome the fear. Necessity is the mother of invention. When you look at your finances and fear that your company might fail, feel that fear fully because it is real.
Many startups fail because they refuse to look at the status of the company in an objective way. Wishful thinking has destroyed more dreams than anything else. If you are strong enough to look at things in an objective way, you will be able to make tough decisions that might save your company in the future.
We recently had to fire two people in our company and it was one of the most difficult things I did in 2018. The extra burden in salaries was weakening our firm when it was in a critical state.
A part of me wished that the company would magically do better in the coming months and I could keep the team as it is, but I couldn’t take that chance. I had to do it because I had to ensure the survival of the company.
I had a strong fear about the failure of the company, and I had to muster up the courage to let people go. Fear can be painful and entrepreneurs need a lot of pain tolerance.
Even as you grow the company, the fear will always be there. Never try to eliminate fear. Fear goes away when you lie to yourself about certain realities, but it is not healthy to lie to yourself. Feel fear to its depths and let it drive your decision making. Prioritize your fears. What do you fear the most?
When you prioritize your fears, you will make the right decisions in life. I thought about both my fears deeply when I had to let people go and made a decision on which one is a bigger fear.
Do I fear the unpleasantness that comes from firing people? Or do I fear that the company will shut shop in the future because we didn’t take the right decisions at the right time? What do I fear the most?
When you let fear in, you will be able to think on it. Thinking on fear let’s you prioritize your fears, which leads to making the right decisions.
When you think through things, prioritize fear and take the right decisions, you will overcome fear. There are only two ways to avoid fear. Make it invisible by lying to yourself, or face the fear.
If you face the fear, you will be able to grow out of your fears. If you lie to yourself, you will be always running away from fear, and that would take away most of your available time and energy.
I fear every day. I fear that the landing pages would go down. I fear the funnels would break. I fear that the ad costs will hyper-inflate. I fear important team members leaving from me. I fear change in government regulations. I fear a pissed off customer that might ruin our brand image. I fear my hard disk would crash. I fear my website would get de-indexed from search engines. And I feel all this fear to its fullest intensity, and then do the necessary things to overcome it.
I take backups, I plan for the future, I talk to my team members about what they feel, I develop business models that are recession proof, I make sure that customer complaints are attended to. I check off the fears one by one and then face bigger fears.
So that’s how you deal with fear. You don’t run away from it. And make overcoming fears a habit. Look forward to things that frighten you. You will grow stronger over time and that strength is required of you as you grow your company.