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Almost every success story – every hero’s journey – involves overcoming a certain fear. In fact, read enough success stories and you might just conclude that fear itself is the biggest inhibitor of success. Have the courage to face your fears and continue on your path despite those fears, and you will undoubtedly know this to be true.
I became an londonbusinessblog.com in 2013, in the midst of a divorce, with no money and no customers. I’ve wanted to be my own boss for a while, escaping the constraints of the environment that supported me financially, but there was always a reason to put it off. Those reasons all fell under the very vague umbrella of ‘it just wasn’t practical’. But why?
Everywhere I looked, it seemed that many equally or less qualified people were living my dream, freely pursuing their passion and doing something they loved for a living. These were ordinary people with ordinary lives—school debt, mortgages, small league baseball games, etc.—it wasn’t all Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. The only difference between these entrepreneurs who have their own business and I who do not have their own business is that they have taken the courage and initiative to actually start their own business. I, on the other hand, was paralyzed by fear and doubt.
Related: How To Overcome Your Fear Of Starting A Business
Fear and doubt are not exactly the same. Fear is emotional, a feeling; doubt is uncertainty, or not knowing. It takes courage to conquer fear, while it takes faith to conquer doubt. Acting with courage is acting in spite of your fears. Acting by faith is acting knowingly despite having evidence.
Define failure and success
What everyone ultimately fears when it comes to starting a business is that the business will “fail” (or fail” for some reason. This makes defining failure and success a necessary first step in the equation, and one that I think most either overlook or don’t fully understand.
If you had asked me at the time what the success of my business meant, I would probably have said something about making a lot of money, being able to support myself and my family while experiencing the luxuries of life. Success meant doing what I love and at the same time making at least as much money as I would have made had I stayed on the job, while being much happier. My definition of failure, therefore, would not have been to achieve these lofty goals. But the reality is, I wasn’t afraid to fail to realize my grand vision of success.
What I was afraid of, my real fear, was that I would not be able to support myself or my children and end up homeless and destitute on the streets. I was afraid of the worst scenario. However, given my education, experience, work ethic, etc., this worst-case scenario was the least likely. I had no doubt that I was qualified and capable, but I was terrified of not surviving or making ends meet. My fear drove my doubt. Once I realized that my fear was irrational because the worst-case scenario was unlikely to happen, my doubts miraculously disappeared.
Related: 11 Fears Every londonbusinessblog.com Should Overcome
Worst case scenarios
In 2014, actor, author, comedian, and painter Jim Carrey gave an opening address at the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, saying, “So many of us choose our way out of fear disguised as practical. What we really want seems impossible from reach and ridiculous to expect.” However, if you look more closely, our fears are often not rooted in what is practical. Our fears are usually based on the unlikely worst-case scenario. Carrey goes on to say:
“My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a secure job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he became fired from that safe job, and our family had to do what we could to survive I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance to do what you love.”
Truthful words have never been spoken, and Carrey’s father is not alone. According to a source, an astonishing 40% of Americans have been laid off or fired at least once. By comparison, statistics published in 2019 by the Small Business Administration (SBA) show that: 20% of start-ups failure in the first year, while about half succumb to business failure within five years. Looking at those numbers, taking the risk of doing what you love may not be as much of a risk as getting what you consider a “secure” job.
The tragedy of Carrey’s father isn’t that he didn’t take the chance to do what he loved; it is that he was overcome with self-doubt, driven by an irrational fear that the least likely scenario of poverty would materialize. He underestimated his own abilities and the chance of succeeding at what he liked versus the chance of failing or being fired at a “safe” job.
Related: Question Your Fear, To See If It Keeps You Safe
Jim Carrey is an exceptional, unique comedic success. If you want to be a comedian, you can’t define success as becoming the next Jim Carrey. That is an unreasonable and unnecessary standard to use. Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and every other londonbusinessblog.com who has become a household name are all exceptions too. If you want to be successful as an londonbusinessblog.com, it will almost certainly lead to failure. You definitely shouldn’t be afraid of not achieving such astronomical success, because you almost certainly won’t. On the other hand, it is a much more practical proposition to earn a living by owning your own business.