In recent posts, I’ve talked about the elevated levels of stress and anxiety that I’ve felt lately. Many people have told me they can relate, particularly with the heightened fear around the pandemic. Coincidentally, new research indicates that both fear and anxiety share the same neurological basis and a common network of core brain regions. This means that ‘fear and anxiety’ are no longer distinctly different from each other – they actually form in the same parts of the brain. It’s no wonder we are feeling what we are feeling right now.
So, what does this have to do with entrepreneurship? Well, for me… everything. I’ve suffered from anxiety for at least 15 years. And, I am certainly no stranger to fear. In fact, it’s probably been the biggest hurdle to my success over the past decade.
I feared failure, loss, and what others thought of me. I feared disappointing a client or team member. I feared not delivering what I promised or when I promised it. My biggest fear was always financial. I never want to take a step back, even though some years I did. In 2014, I earned half the income of the previous year. There were times when I had to let go of unreasonable or unwilling clients. But, I never let them go until I was absolutely sure I could take the financial hit, no matter how toxic they might be.
I decided to take a weekend and really think about this fear. I needed to find the root cause of it because I knew that I couldn’t move forward and grow the business if I continued to let fear hold me back. I dug deep that weekend. I ran through worst-case scenarios and if this-than-that plans. I talked to my team to get their input and advice. I ran back through my worst case again. Then, I came to a conclusion… and, I slept on it.
Yes, financial fears are the worst. But, the fear was deeper than that. When it came down it, I realized that my true fear was the fact that I would have to admit that I had failed – not to my team or to my clients or any other stakeholders…but, to myself. I had to admit that I failed and look at myself in the mirror.
Then, I thought… what is failure, really? After much consideration, I concluded that failure is in the eye of the beholder, just like success. So, if I can look at the reflection in the mirror and believe that failure is in the eye of the beholder, then why not change my perception of it?
I am tired of being afraid. And if all I have to do is change my outlook, then why not? So I did. I told myself from that moment on, I will no longer let fear dictate my decisions.
A Final Word
A client recently told me that he enjoys working with us because our heart is in it. We are proud of that statement because we pour ourselves into our role and we love it! At the end of the day, if it doesn’t feel good - then it’s just a job. Fortunately, I’ve found that fear rarely enters the picture when you’re doing something you love and that you feel good about.
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Click here to take a look back at my entrepreneurial journey. Happy Entrepreneurship Month to my fellow and budding entrepreneurs!