Are You Letting Fear Take Control Of The Wheel In Your Business?


Is fear of failure getting in your way?

 fear of failure


Are you feeling stuck in your business? Spinning your wheels, but not making much headway? Maybe you’re wondering whether this whole business thing was such a great idea after all?


If you want to start a business or grow your business, you have to learn and then apply strategies and processes. You know, the 123s, the ABCs, the legwork, the elbow grease…the actual action you take to build something from nothing.


But the physical act of building your business isn’t enough. There’s a softer, abstract, invisible and often hard to pin-down side to running a business that can sabotage your best efforts and stop it in its tracks if ignored.


I’m talking about facing your fears.


In striving to grow my own business, I certainly come face to face with my fears and limiting beliefs! Especially lately as I attempt to create and sell my own products, many of the same questions and fears I faced when I started my freelance writing business are rearing their nasty heads once again:


Will my products be good enough? Will anyone even buy them? Am I wasting my family’s time? Am I good enough? Hasn’t it all been done before? What if people hate my products? And…drum roll…What if I fail?


First of all, if you share these same fears while starting or growing your business, you’re quite normal (& welcome to the club!).


And likely (if you’re human), it’s not the first time your fears have surfaced. Remember your first day in high school or college? Remember your first dance? Or your first job? Overcoming fear is part of the natural process of growth. 


The problem is if you don’t face your fears, you don’t grow. You’ll stay right where you are. That’s not good for business or realizing your dreams. 


Flash forward forty or fifty years. You are surrounded by loved ones of all ages for your birthday. All eyes and attention are directed at you. What will you say? What will you feel? Who will you have around you if you never went to that first dance, first date, and first job?


Ask Yourself This Question


Quite fittingly, I came across a short video of Al Pittampalli posted on Youtube, who suggests putting your fears on hold. Take a look.  



As Pattampalli points out, asking the question, “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you want to do?”, puts your fears temporarily on hold and gives you permission to tell yourself the truth of what you want to do with your life.


Why do we lie or hide the truth from ourselves? Pattampalli says it’s because of our fear of failure. I would also add the fear of not being accepted.


And in today’s society, failure and not being accepted are often perceived (although wrongly so) as fatal and irreversible to our success and happiness.


Great People Who Have Failed


But it’s worth remembering that many great achievers have either failed or been rejected by key figures in their lives, and have not only survived, but flourished and gone on to significantly impact our world.


As listed in the Guardian’s A Nobel Prize for Failure, recent Nobel prize winner scientist John Gurdon was criticized during his school years.


It turns out that Gurdon was once told by his biology teacher that he was a terrible student. The full quote reads:

“I believe Gurdon has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous; if he can’t learn simple biological facts he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be a sheer waste of time, both on his part and of those who would have to teach him.”


Add to this story both Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton, who both did poorly in school.


Also, consider J.K. Rowlings, author of the Harry Potter books. It took over 80 rejections from publishers before her book finally made it on bookstore shelves. I wrote about more examples of icons who suffered failures and hardships here.


I’m positive these amazing individuals had to deal with doubts and fear of failure along their journey. Regardless, they chose to pursue their dreams and they succeeded. I shudder to think what our world would be like had they not!


what it takes to start a business


Back to you, your business, and facing your fears


Starting a business is a significant life changing project with lots of first days at school and first dances ahead. So be prepared and decide now how you will handle it and face your fears.


I suggest, no matter what stage you find yourself in your business, to be aware of your doubts and fears. Expect they will rear their menacing little heads from time to time. But when they do and you feel stuck or unproductive, follow these steps:


  • Ask and brainstorm on the question:

“If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you want to do with your business?”

  • Look at your list of answers and make a choice.

  • Commit to follow through on that choice.


Even if your choice results in a less desirable outcome (and maybe what you consider a mistake), you will benefit. That choice will lead to experience, knowledge and to another, better fitting choice.


So, will you let fear of failure take control of the wheel on your business journey? Or will you choose according to what you really want?


In 40 years, who will dine at your table? What conversations will you have? What stories will you have to tell? How will you feel about your past choices?


How about you? Do you often face fears in order to grow your business? How do you deal with them? Let’s talk!



pensive woman photo: Mait Jüriado via photopin cc

happy woman photo: massimo ankor via photopin cc




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20 Responses to Are You Letting Fear Take Control Of The Wheel In Your Business?

  1. Excellent article! However, it isn’t always easy to push through in spite of fear. Fear can cripple. I use hypnosis with my clients to reduce fears and increase confidence, so people can speak in public, drive over bridges, fly to other countries, and achieve any goal they choose.

  2. Great post Louise. It’s amazing how big of a blocker fear is. Thanks for the reminder to move past it.

  3. No it’s definitely not easy, but if you do deal with it – and hypnosis may be one way to do that – and move forward, the rewards are well worth it! I think it’s a good idea for new entrepreneurs to know that personal challenges will arise as they grow their business. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Thanks Jean!

  5. I read a book years ago called The Fear of Flying. Don’t remember what it was about (don’t think it was about flying). Anyway what I took from that book was the phrase – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. And those words have become words to live by for me.

  6. Great post Louise! I’m a big fan of feeling the fear and doing it anyway :)

  7. Thanks Krystal!! I’ll look that book up.

  8. Hi Nicole! Wonderful to hear!

  9. I think it is absolutely great content. Very useful for start-ups. Thanks for sharing. It is said no main is extra-ordinary, extra-ordinary circumstances make ordinary man, an extra-ordinary one!

  10. This is a tough one for so many of us in business. Sometimes we fail to recognize the fear. It requires a great deal of introspection and openness to our full potential.

  11. Wonderful post, Louise! I love the idea of putting your fears on hold. I tell my clients all the time, “Let’s put the fears aside, just for this conversation. I promise you can have them back — if you still want them — once we’re done speaking!” :) Breakthroughs happen just outside of our comfort zones!

  12. Thanks Mimi. You could say making it through the fear can lead to extraordinary things!!

  13. I agree Carol. If we’ve been hiding our fears or limiting beliefs for a lifetime, it can be habit and hard to even detect that they’re getting in the way.

  14. Great tactic to getting your clients to open up. Thanks for the comment!

  15. Awesome article! I get excited about starting businesses and trying new things, but have found that fear is not the only obstacle in moving forward. Once you get started there is always the chance of getting sucked down by the details and paralyzing yourself from moving forward. When that happens, I usually take a week to unplug and day dream and this helps me to move forward once again!

  16. Yes Julie, I get those once in a while too! Definitely when you can’t find the solution, it’s best to take a break and come back later. Thanks for commenting!

  17. Great article Louise. Lately I have learned to let it propel me forward instead of paralyze me. What a difference! Great reminder to let go of my fear. Thanks!

  18. Thanks for your feedback Rebecca!

  19. Great post Louise! I am just starting to teach a teleclass on “Being Fearless”. I have seen fear first-hand and have pushed through, went over and around it to achieve some of my goals and dreams. Putting it on hold or pause is one I will have to try the next time fear pops up in my life.

  20. Hi Diane, sounds like a wonderful and much needed teleclass! I guess having fears and doubts creep up confuses us. And putting them on hold, lets us see clearly what we really want and shows us the opportunity that’s there. Thanks for the comment.