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Is Fear the Ultimate Motivator for Entrepreneurs?

COMMONALITY AMONGST ALL FOUNDERS

After our first StartUp Soiree back in January, my business partners and I received an email from a well-known business owner in Baltimore who had attended the event. He thanked us for the invitation, complimented the execution of the event, and said he was honored to be in a room full of other Founders. All really kind things, but it was what he said at the end of the email that really stood out to me.

He said that as he made his way around the room, he started to notice that many of the Founders he spoke to all shared a common emotion – fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the next step. Fear of balance in their lives.

A profound observation that really got me thinking. Is fear the ultimate motivator amongst entrepreneurs?

AM I THE ONLY ONE?

When I left my corporate job to pursue Intrinsic Events full time, I experienced many different emotions. I was excited, extremely motivated, very focused – and scared out of my mind. I often wondered if it was just me or did all entrepreneurs feel this way? Did all entrepreneurs experience fear?

The answer is yes. All entrepreneurs have fears. We are human after all. But it’s the way they handle their fears that makes them different. Fear makes us feel uncomfortable and tends to invoke a fight-or-flight response. I’ve discovered that great entrepreneurs step out of their comfort zone and almost always take the fight response.

BE BIGGER THAN YOUR FEARS

The thing is, fear can make or break you as an entrepreneur. The key is learning and mastering the art of turning fear into a positive energy and never letting it control you.

As a business owner, it’s important to constantly evaluate yourself so you are able to grow personally and professionally. Over the past year, I experienced fears that were hindering my company’s growth. Instead of fleeing or becoming paralyzed by them, I attacked them and turned them into my ultimate motivators.

Here are some of those fears and how I handled them.

FEAR OF REJECTION

Ok, so who likes to feel rejected? Yeah, that’s right…NO ONE. We all long for acceptance and approval from others and when that doesn’t happen we tend to be crushed. It’s hard not to feel that way.

Business owners put so much time, energy and passion into their work. So when someone comes along and doesn’t like what we have to offer or chooses to take their business somewhere else, it sucks. And I don’t know about you, but I always used to take rejection personally. Key words, “used to.”  

As an entrepreneur I had to learn that not everyone is going to want what I have to offer and that’s OK. Don’t let rejection be a fear that consumes you. Instead, use rejection as a motivation to do better next time. When a potential client turns me down, instead of getting upset I ask them “why?” Obtaining this feedback helps me improve my processes and services and I know that there is another opportunity right around the corner.

FEAR OF NOT BEING PERFECT

We’ve all heard the saying, “Nobody’s perfect” right? Well how come we don’t apply that same concept to ourselves in professionally? No business is perfect, bottom line. This is why entrepreneurs are constantly innovating, pushing the envelope and figuring out how their business can stand out from the rest. It’s what makes being a business owner awesome.

I’ve always held myself to a very high standard professionally. My work has to be perfect and if I make a mistake and my work is sub-par, I am my worst critic.  This mentality has made me an excellent worker, but isn’t the best mindset to have as an entrepreneur.

Instead, we must acknowledge that “perfect” doesn’t exist. We as professionals are always going to be evolving and the same goes with our businesses. So what I have learned to do is set deadlines, put my best work out there and to not get hung up on whether I think it’s perfect or not. Know that you can always go back and improve. If you obsess over perfection nothing will ever get accomplished and in time you will fail.

FEAR OF FAILURE

Ah yes, the fear amongst all of us entrepreneurs, whether we like to admit it or not.

None of us want to fail. We all want to produce an amazing product or service that our clients find useful and we want to run a profitable business, end of story. But when we all decide to become entrepreneurs, we are signing up to take risks. We don’t know if we are going to succeed or not.

Nothing in life is guaranteed. We don’t know how long we are going to be here, so it’s important to make the best of the hand we are dealt. This same concept can be applied to running a business.  

One of my StartUp Soiree business partners recently shared a piece of advice, which was, “The only way to fail, is to not try. Just give it your everything.” (Thanks Nic!) His advice has stuck with me and really puts things in prospective when dealing with the fear of failing as a business owner.

We as entrepreneurs cannot stress over the possibility that we might fail. This will get us nowhere. Yes the possibility will always be present but the chance to build something great won’t. I’ve learned to focus on the building instead of the fear. This has helped me stay positive and true to what I was meant to do.

It sounds simple because it is. It’s a mind over matter thing and is a mentality necessary for all entrepreneurs to have.

PUNCH FEAR IN THE FACE

Being an entrepreneur has its scary moments, but that’s what makes it exciting. Fear is going to be a part of your journey, just remember to explore those feelings and use them to your advantage. Don’t let fear discourage you or throw you off course.

 “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions louder than your words.” – Author Unknown

FOLLOW ME @intrinsicrach and Intrinsic Events @IntrinsicEvents 


Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson is an event management extraordinaire whose passion is to help individuals achieve their goals through events. When she isn't spending time building an empire with her business partner, you can find her on the water with a cocktail in her hometown of Annapolis, MD.