Over so many years of running my own businesses, I’ve come to embrace the fear of failure I constantly had for the first few years. As time went by I realised the uncomfortable truth that it is only through failure that you truly learn.
More importantly, it’s human – denying or avoiding failure is an inhuman expectation, but also one that many of us have felt before when working for an unreasonable boss, for example.
The best in the world have failed time and time again and make a public virtue of what they have learned from it. Peter Jones is a classic example.
Failure doesn’t define you, what defines you is how you respond and what you learn from it.
Leading a small business can be a lonely place, and I know that fear of failure, of letting your colleagues down, is all too real.
The future direction of the business lies on your shoulders.
There’s always going to be a lot on your plate and there’s absolutely no shame in admitting at times it can be quite overwhelming.
The thought of changing or trying something new can be extremely daunting.
But, in that much-overused phrase, growth only happens outside of your comfort zone.
If the fear of failure is stopping you from making necessary changes or taking calculated risks in your business then here are some steps that may help:
- Replace fear with knowledge – remove your fear of the unknown by analysing and mapping out all the potential outcomes. In doing so you will see if the reward can outweigh the risk and you will have a clearer picture of the positives and negatives of moving forward.
- Be conscious of your mindset – thinking more positively and working on your mindset is an extremely powerful way to increase your self-confidence and neutralise sabotaging thoughts and behaviours.
- Look at the worst case scenario – by looking at the worst case scenario you can begin to isolate and then potentially solve the issues that might lead to it, before they even arise. Fear of the unknown is natural, but if it turns out it actually may not be the worst thing in the world, recognising that will help and increase your confidence to move forward.
- Have a plan B – If the fear of failure is really holding you back, having a contingency plan can help alleviate some of that anxiety.
And remember, failure isn’t the opposite of success, it’s part of success.