How to deal with fear when starting a business

Fear isn’t overcome; it’s managed. 

I don’t know anyone who’s ever conquered fear and is a human. Gary Vaynerchuk says that he has, but he may not be fully human. I suspect that he’s part machine. I mean, the man doesn’t seem to sleep. 

Anyway, for us humans, fear is a reality. It’s there. We hate it, but no matter how much we try to push our fears aside, intimidate them, yell at them, run from them, they always follow us. 

So the only thing we can do is deal with them.

There is a notion that we can overcome them, defeat them. But that doesn’t happen. From my entrepreneurial journey of more than a decade, I haven’t experienced it. But, Boy! Would I. I’d love having no fear. 

Instead, every day, I need to push back the fears that try to grab me, pull me down, drown me. It doesn’t matter if I’m doing exceptionally well, succeeding, highly profitable, or when I was wondering if the ship was going to stay afloat, I have fear. 

Sure, sometimes it’s quieter than others. But I can always feel it’s breath on me. It’s alive and well, waiting—there. So what I do is manage it. 

You can, too. 

What I mean by managing fear is this. Focus your energy on doing things that matter. Writing this blog post, for instance, is a big part of that for me. 

Creating is one of the best practices that I’ve taken on that manages the terror that threatens to overtake me. It’s like a flood barrier that I’ve erected to protect me from the water of fear that wants to sweep away my fields, property, family, life. 

Create videos that people want to watch, blog posts that people want to read, photos that people want to see. Anyone can do that. You just have to work hard enough at it. 

Read books that focus your mind on the right things, ones that guide your mind and heart toward more helpful lines of thinking and feeling. Fill yourself with knowledge and stories of those who are learning and succeeding. Learn what they learn. Emulate what they’ve done. Grow. 

For me, prayer is also essential. This may sound counterintuitive and stupid, but surrendering my hopes, dreams and worries to God helps me become better equipped to reaching them. You hear all of the time that the very moment when people give up looking for that thing they so dearly want is when they find the very thing that they were looking for. Prayer is like that. It’s the giving up.

Wading into the waters of fear is terrifying. But it’s also invigorating. Remember that life isn’t best lived away from all of the danger. You can’t learn how to swim without the threat of drowning. 

The point is to put the precautionary measures in place. First, try out the kiddie pool, even if the water is a tad warmer than it really should be. Take steps toward learning to swim. And before you know it, you will be able to swim in open water. 

And doing that may always give you a twinge in your heart, but you will know that you’ve been here before. And that the pure joy of swimming is worth the risk. 

Starting a business is exactly the same. You want the joy of making your own schedule, creating value on your own terms, trying new things. You need to jump in the kiddie pool and work your way up. 

And all along the way you will learn that your fear, even though it will always be with you, needn’t control you. 

You can swim. 

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