Conquering the fear of failure

Running a business can be scary. You put your heart and soul into your company and can’t imagine doing anything else. Then, you realize that no matter how successful you are, you might be just a few bad decisions away from losing your dream and disappointing your team.

April 2015 Guest post from Dave Ramsey

DSLuckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. In my EntreLeadership Master Series I teach people to face their fears. I talk about how, years ago, fear paralyzed my decision-making abilities until I came up with a system. In fact, one of the core values of my company today is that decisions are never made based on fear.

So, how can you conquer your fear of failing?

  1. Face up to it

You’re going to mess up at some point, and that’s okay. Own up to it, and realize you’re likely to stumble many times before you achieve success. Henry Ford, Bill Gates and Thomas Edison all screwed up numerous times before they hit it big. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”

  1. What’s the worst that can happen?

Always take into account a worst-case scenario when exploring new projects or options for your company. Ask yourself, Will we be able to survive if this new idea falls apart? When the answer is yes, the decision is no longer so frightening. Once you realize you’re not going to die from making a decision — even if it turns out to be the wrong decision — it releases you to make the call.

  1. Talk it out

Remember how it was always better to have a friend by your side when you faced something scary as a kid? The same holds true for adults.

Find a business mentor who has been through tough times. Discuss your biggest fears with them. Once those concerns are out in the open, and you’ve gained insight through another person’s point of view, you just might find that they’re more manageable.

  1. Always have a contingency plan

Having several options is a great fear killer. For example, use several vendors so you aren’t relying on just one. That way, if something goes wrong, you already have a back-up plan. Options give you power, and power lessens fear.

Now, understand this. There will always be some fear associated with your endeavour. Whether it’s being scared of losing customers, revenue or even being sued, these are all legitimate concerns. But it’s how you handle them that can mean the difference between success and failure.

It’s wise to recognize that some fears may be well founded, and you should not ignore the potential consequences of the decisions you make. But never, ever allow the spirit of fear to drive you!

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Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on business and money. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books, including EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations. Follow Dave on the web at