Fear.. We are all exposed to it in varying amounts of intensity at times. We have all experienced it since childhood. And as adults, fear can sometimes keep us up at night. Our fears change over time. Children are afraid of monsters under the bed or getting into an argument with a close friend. As adults, our fears are different. The monsters under the bed are replaced by fears like “Can I make the mortgage payment?” or “Am I smart enough to succeed?”
In order to get a better picture, let’s take a common definition of fear: “a strong emotion caused by great worry about something dangerous, painful, or unknown that is happening or might happen.”
When it comes to facing fear, there are two outcomes: paralysis or power. Everyone who has started a business has a healthy dose, and respect, of fear. Every successful business owner has been able to take that fear and harness its raw, adrenaline-fueled power and turn it into a successful business.
What Are You Afraid Of?
Sometimes, the best answer to fear is to embrace it. Identify, specifically, what you’re afraid of. If we look back to the definition, the key word to understand is “might.” There is no certainty in might. What can you do, then, to change “might” to “won’t?” In other words, “I might fail” can become “I will do whatever it takes not to fail.”
Write down what you’re afraid of on paper. Your list may be long, and that is okay. But once you have an exhaustive list, go through each fear and break it apart. What is it about this fear keeps you up at night? How likely is that particular fear to actually happen? Write down your best guess as to the percentage likelihood of that actually happening next to each fear. I also like to sometimes add a column – What’s the worst thing that could happen if that particular fear were to come true? Then review your list with that new perspective.
In The Educated Franchisee, author Rick Bisio says, “In many ways, fear directly relates to a lack of knowledge. It is connected to the unknown.” Keeping this in mind, when you write down your fears and begin to dissect them, you are left with points that you can then research, to increase your understanding. If, for example, one of your fears is “I’m afraid I won’t have any customers,” you can then begin to research other franchisees or business who have done a great job attracting and maintaining customers. Conversely, you can also read up on businesses that have failed at attracting and keeping customers. When you understand what has led to successes and failures in similar businesses, you arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.
Let Fear Motivate You
When you identify your fears and begin to learn more about them, you are really putting yourself on the offensive. Rather than reacting to your fears, allowing them to stifle and paralyze you, you’re being proactive by acknowledging them. There is a huge amount of empowerment when viewed this way. The more you understand something, the better you can prepare yourself to avoid mistakes.
“Fear of Failure” is, in its own right, a healthy type of fear. It is the fear that gets you up early on a snowy day, when all you want to do is lay in bed and sleep a bit longer. Your fear of failure will drive you out of the house and to your business, to ensure that you stay in business another day, another week, another year.
Just as getting out of bed on the snowy day, decisions will need to be made each and every day that are critical to the success of your business. In business, there is hardly ever a case of “a sure thing,” so many of these decisions will be based on your prior experiences with the business, or if you’re new to owning a business, they’ll be made on educated estimations of the likelihood of a certain outcome. This by itself can be scary, and if fear of making the wrong choice tends to leave you paralyzed to the point where you don’t act at all… business ownership may not be the appropriate path for you. If this gets your heart pumping and gets you out of your seat, you probably have the grit that business ownership requires.
If you’ve made it this far, and you haven’t been scared away from owning your own business, owning a franchise may be something you want to consider to reduce your chances of failure.
Make sure to follow this blog! Next month, I’ll be discussing my 4 Predictors of Success. Until then, if you are ready to learn more, find out if Your Franchise is Waiting and contact me today.