Monday, July 20, 2009

The Fear of Failure

Fear is defined by Websters dictionary as, "to feel fear in (oneself), to have a reverential awe of (God), to be afraid of: expect with alarm". I can certainly attest to feeling all of these types of fear. When I first began in business I was fearful of failing. Although confident in myself and my abilities I was afraid of falling flat on my face. I had a young family to support and the fear was that I wouldn't be able to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. And I pretty much lived up to this fear because I did not know how to conquer my fears.

Their was a time early in my business life when I was really struggling. The economy was on the skids and although I had a lot of business I was working on this work did not pay me anything in at the time which I needed to continue to feed and house my family. Things got so bad we had to move out of the house we bought and rent it to save money and move in with my sister in-law and her two kids. This was a difficult thing to do for a married man with two small children, but we did it because we had no other choice. As I mentioned earlier I had a fear of not being able to provide for my family and this became a self propelling prophecy. I thought through fear I might not be able to support my family, and to a certain extent this fear became reality. What kept me going, and kept me from running out and getting a JOB, was the fear of complete failure. This fear was more compelling than the fear of not being able to support my family. I knew I had to change the way I thought about fear.

I spent weeks thinking about all of my fears while laying in bed at my sister in-laws with my wife and kids in the same room. After a while I realized the only thing holding me back was the way I was approaching my business. I was holding back because I was afraid of failing. I also figured out I was not approaching my competitors head on because I was afraid of losing. After this break through I was able to structure a plan to help me conquer my fears. This plan was nothing more than a psychological break through allowing me to reinvent the confidence I knew I always had in me. For me a big part of this plan was harnessing the Fear of God and incorporating this into my daily routine of Fear bashing, or some might call it confidence building. Once I was able to remove my fears I made a lot of great strides on moving on the be successful. By harnessing and conquering my fears I was able to not only move us out of my sister in-laws house but to also put myself in position to earn over a million dollars the very next year.

Fear is a funny thing it can take on a life of its own and have different affects on different people. Fear can be so overwhelming it can cripple someone into barely being able to function. Fear can also be character building and bring strength and courage to others. Fear tends to provide me with courage and strength. When confronted with a fear of failure I often begin my search for courage and strength by first using my fear of God. This fear helps me to take control of my mind and body and allows me to look into the eye of fear.

Maybe you are the same way, but maybe instead of God you look at some other self fulfilling structure in your life that has a calming zen like outcome. If you don't have a way to deal with fear then I suggest you try to find something that works for you the next time you experience a sensation of fear. This might be exercising, surfing, meditating, or praying. There are many things you can do to bring your body and mind into a state of relaxation and whatever it is it can help you calm your fears. {Insert a definition from an author on fear}. In the old television series Kung Fu there is a scene in which Master Poe, the old teacher, says to a young grasshopper "Fear is the is the only darkness" he follows this with "never assume because a man has no eyes, he cannot see". This tv fable is based on the chinese teachings of Shaolin Priests. And through these words Master Poe is trying to tell a young grasshopper that juts because you fear the darkeness of the unknow that is not enough of a reason to allow this fear to keep you from seeing the truth. Andf the truth is if you believe in yourself you can overcome your fears.

The fear of failure is a common fear in society and in fact {insert a quote on high levels of fear} Let's face it everyone wants to be a winner, no one wants to lose, and the fear of failure is so great it can hold us back. Fear has the ability to turn a very intelligent hard working individual into a puny little wussy. Fear can make the brave weak and make the weak brave. The fear we have has the power to transform us. What do you want to be a wuss or brave?

When fear is holding you back you need to do everything in your power to release this fear from your mind. Fear is real, it is a tough competitor. Fear likes to win the battle raging in your mind between weak and strong, between fear and confidence, and it will do everything it can to turn you into a big wuss. Conquer your fears and you will be able to conquer the world {see if their is a famous quote on fear=insert}.

The first business I became an equity owner in was a professional partnership. I essentially bought into a company that had been around since the turn of the 20th century. This business was originally one of the largest service providers in its industry having at several points in time been the largest company of its kind. I would have to say this business partnership was what some would call a "no brainer" and I did not have much fear entering this business. It was an easy in and then an easy out when I wanted to exit the business.

My next business was different. This business was all about me, my efforts and my abilities. When I started this business I encountered a great deal of fear. I was fearful of failure but more importantly I was fearful of losing everything I had worked so hard for for so long. The business ultimately failed after several years but the experience of running this business has been very useful to me and I have been able to draw from this experience many times since.

I used this failure as the basis for learning. There are many lessons one can learn be examining oneself in the face of failure. So in this sense not all failures are failures. I was able to look back and evaluate some of my mistakes and then learn from then for use in future business endeavours. If you have encountered failure, failure in business, failure in marriage, failure in sports or any other type of failure use the experience of failure to make corrections to keep future failures at a minimum. No one gets things right all the time. I like to use the analogy of baseball when thinking about failure. If a baseball player goes to the plate and is successful just three times out of ten he is considered a success. The reality is though that this player had to fail seven times before he was considered successful.

My third business was my largest business. This business involved many people who depended on me for their very own success. And again with this business I experienced a great deal of fear. Fear I would fail and fear I would lose my shirt. I was able to harness my fear and not let fear hold me back. Unfortunately this business also failed with the demise of the economy beginning in 2008. Although I'm not through dealing with the repercussions of this business failure I have not let fear hold me back. I have been able to harness my fears and begin to think about new businesses to start in order to rebuild my financial life.

Conquer your fears and the world can be yours.

The information contained in this site consist of a series of articles which comprise "My Story and I'm Sticking to it". The information contained herein is sole opinion of the Baron Von Savings. The Baron is not a professional money manager, tax expert, accountant, attorney, or stock broker. You should consult with an appropriate professional before making decisions concerning your personal finances.


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  2. Fear causes performance anxiety and constant fear of failure.

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