Confronting Fear in Your Business

I’m always blown away in my day job by how brave small business owners and operators are. Running a business is certainly not for the faint of heart. Everyday you’re faced with extreme challenges and complex decisions that have massive ramifications not only for the survival of your business, but also for your own livelihood and those of your employees. And of course, the challenges and risk have never been more heightened in the business landscape than they are today. Fear has a huge role to play here. Fear of failure. Fear of being judged. Fear of making the wrong decision. Fear of losing everything. Yet every day, thousands of SME owners get up, get dressed, go to work, and make a conscious decision not to let these fears overwhelm them.

I love the quote from George Addair that came in at number 43 of the top 100 Inspirational Quotes by Forbes back in 2013. Addair is famously quoted as saying, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” It’s so true in the business world. Business success favours those who are bold, innovative, and fearless. But that can be a lot easier than it sounds to turn fear of the unknown into a positive force for your business, and not a crippling negative force. 

A great place to start is identifying your fear in your business. What exactly is it that you’re afraid of? Perhaps you feel like you’re not ready, that there is something external in your way, that you are out of your comfort zone and don’t know what is best for your business? Perhaps you’re simply afraid of not being good enough to compete in your industry? The truth is, you’re probably never going to be totally prepared or ready. And you’ll likely make mistakes or missteps along the way. That’s ok! Remind yourself constantly why you started your business and learn from these bumps along the road. 

Nothing would get done if you didn’t try. You will miss every single shot you don’t take a swing at. So, persevere and try not to procrastinate or fall into the trap of analysis-paralysis. Most importantly – find your support network. Whether it be family, your work team, or a mentor you really respect and look up to. Talking about your business fears out loud with someone you trust has a way of minimizing the sense of dread. You’re strong! You’ve got this! And always try to remember that “everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”