The Entrepreneur And His Fear

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What is it that stops most entrepreneurs from becoming successful?

Through my own experience and my work with hundreds of entrepreneurs throughout Europe, I can confidently say one word. Fear.

Fear is the one thing that stops almost all entrepreneurs from taking the right steps into a successful career or business.

Have you ever wondered why you struggle so much taking a decision or why you don’t know what to do and what you want?

The simple answer to this is fear.

Everybody is afraid that we are not ‘enough’. We are worried that we are not rich enough, smart enough, young enough, quick enough, fast enough, anything enough.

That is how we are, all of us.

The only way out of it is by doing it anyway and accept that it might fail

You need to start from somewhere and if you’re not sure where that is, throw a stone in the air and wherever it lands is where you start. It doesn’t matter.

The important part is doing it.

Let’s be clear. There is nobody in the world who doesn’t experience fear. It’s human nature to be scared – and you cannot change that. It’s part of our survival instinct.

Hundreds of years ago, being scared was the only way to survive. But at the same time, we had to find ways to explore new land and face new dangers. It too is part of surviving.

The secret lies in action. Instead of waiting for the right moment (which is very unlikely) to come, you need to condition yourself to take action. It has to become a reflex and not a thought. If you train yourself to face fear with action, fear very quickly dissolves. It’s about maintaining momentum. Do anything that moves you forward rather than let fear stop you.

Avoid stressing out over the fear factor

The reason you stressed out about your future and the main reason you experience fear is that you focus on something that scares you and stresses you out.

Through the study of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), we also know that stress changes your whole body. You feel tired and very uncomfortable.

You start saying things like, ‘I don’t know what to do!’ or ‘I don’t know where to start!’

And you feel overwhelmed.

With all this going on, you are very unlikely to be ready to face your fear. You’re more likely to give in to your fear.

So, what do you do when you’re in this hole?

We know the three main symptoms of fear.

  • Focus
  • Body Posture
  • Language

A scared person has a focus on the things that scare him. His body clearly shows that he is worried and the things he says underline that fear.

Change makes all the difference

The solution is to focus on the things that bring you forward, and that is done quickly through action. You don’t need to know it all, but you need to start to act.

Focus on anything important right now and do it. There is no right or wrong. There is only action.

Change your body posture. As Tony Robbins says in his seminars, pretend to be Superman or Wonder Woman. Straighten your body, head up, chest out, shoulders back and hands on your hips. Avoid crunching down. At least keep your head high.

Watch your language. Use words like ‘I wonder if…’ or ‘This will be interesting’, instead of ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I don’t even know where to start’.

I found an easy way to revert a negative sentence into a positive one is to phrase it in a way that you can add the word ‘yet’ at the end. To take the example above, you can phrase it like this: ‘I don’t know where to start yet’.

If you start with those three actions, over time, you create new habits. Like an athlete needs to develop habits that support his goal, you need to develop habits to overcome your fear and to become emotionally fit to be a successful entrepreneur.

There is a saying: ‘Where the focus goes, energy flows’ and that is very true.

Of course, it’s a great help if you know exactly where you want to go…and why. Knowing this will keep you on track and allows you to keep the momentum going. If you don’t know that, you will hesitate – and that will stop your momentum.

But what if I don’t know what I want?

Then put the effort in to find out. It does not mean you do nothing until you know it. But it means that you will try different areas until you figure it out. If you don’t act, you will never figure it out. Again throw a stone and start wherever it lands.

In practical terms, make a list of all the things you would like to do. The things you would like to learn and improve. Close your eyes and drop your finger anywhere on the list. Whatever you are pointing at, you start with. Don’t make it complicated, but start to take action and behave like a person with a mission.

It will become clear very soon what it is you want and why. But this will only reveal itself through action.

When I say action, I don’t mean doing the same thing you’ve been doing all the time. I mean an action that takes you out of your comfort zone and teaches you new things and lets you grow.

In simple terms, set yourself a weekly goal big enough to take you out of your comfort zone, but not too big to let you crunch over with fear. List the actions you’re going to take to make it happen and start.

During this week, you pretend to be the person who will get it done by talking like someone who trusts himself to get it done, and you watch your body posture as well. Step up like a very successful person would.

After that week, you take account. You check what you’ve learned and mark what you can use for the next week to move on. Then you set your next goal for the following week.

If you’re not sure how to start or need an action plan and some support, join us on our Slack channel.

Ready? Steady? Go! And be successful!

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium. He is teaching and supporting entrepreneurs in the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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