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Overcoming the fear of failure

How one business owner turned her loss into success

Posted by: Team Tony

If you’re a high achiever, one of your greatest fears is failure. It’s the ultimate loss, leading to doubt, pain and self-doubt. These feelings are intensified if you’re a business owner, given the hopes and dreams you’ve attached to your business. With so much at stake, it’s common to struggle with a fear of failure in business. 

Maybe you found success quickly and are now barely hanging on, unsure of where to go next. Maybe you worked for years to gain success and are now watching it slip away. Or maybe you’re aware of the need to improve your client retention techniques, but you don’t know where to start. 

In these moments, we often blame ourselves. We believe that because of this failure, we have failed, too. In moments like these, the fear of business failure is realized, and we must face feelings of defeat. But it’s not the struggle or “failure” itself that really determines your ultimate outcome. It’s how you frame the failure and treat yourself in its aftermath that ultimately shape your outcome. By adopting a mindset of learning and curiosity, you’re able to learn from failure to create effective business practices that minimize your risks. By cementing your internal and external operations, you’re able to create and keep raving fan customers

The fear of failure in business: A case study

Karla Vargas faced this internal struggle in overcoming her fear of business failure. After an initial three years of success, the business she had built struggled with competition, a rapidly changing market and internal tensions. Devoting more and more time to solving these problems proved a drain on Karla: Her company became a source of pain.

In that moment of frustration, she created a new business to act as an outlet. She was immediately successful, but that achievement did little to ease her grief over what became of her first company. Karla needed to learn when it was time to stop and how to move past the pain and loss. She booked a trip to Business Mastery.

Tony showed Karla that she had combined her own identity with that of her business, and her doubt about committing to the new business was a reflection of her fear of failure. He helped her detach the identity of her business from her personal identity, allowing her to open herself up to endless new opportunities.

The psychology of overcoming fear in business

Suffering is caused by our limiting beliefs. These beliefs, which can tie in to how you think and talk about yourself, can stop us from achieving and exacerbate our fears. We may even find ourselves paralyzed, unable to make a decision or move on from a situation. In Karla’s case, her first business had become so deeply rooted inside her psyche that she viewed it as an extension of herself. Its troubles became her troubles, causing an unhealthy attachment that fed her fear of failure in business. 

When you stop focusing on limiting beliefs, you can see through the fog and plan your next move. Pain lives in our heart, which is influenced by our head. As soon as we focus our minds on shifting the negativity that is eating away at us, our hearts will follow suit. Once Karla realized that the failure of her business didn’t make her a failure, she was able to forge a new path toward opportunity. When Karla adopted realistic expectations of herself and her company, overcoming fear in business became more intuitive. 

For the first time in six years, Karla was able to find peace with herself and with her business. So long as she let her hunger drive her, she could achieve anything she put her mind to.

In moments of loss, our actions and mindset matter more than in our moments of triumph. Most people don’t believe in themselves and persuade themselves to turn away from their goals after a disappointment. This is what separates the achievers – people like Karla who will stop at nothing to reach their dreams – from everyone else. When we operate from a place of fear instead of self-worth, this low belief system can cause a vicious cycle of anxiety, failure and feelings of inadequacy. If you find yourself giving into beliefs that you’re incapable or “not enough,” give yourself credit for recognizing these beliefs. Then replace those limiting thoughts with empowering beliefs that affirm your self-worth and professional skills. Building your overall confidence will trickle down into your work life, so you can tame the fear of business failure instead of feeling enslaved by it.

Using risk reversal to overcome fear of failure in business

One of the common reasons that one develops a fear of failure in business is that there is so much at stake in business transactions. As a business owner, an unmitigated risk might look like this: You purchase a piece of equipment that breaks right after its warranty expires. You’ve lost not just the item’s purchase price but also the ability to get work done until you replace the machine, assuming yet another risk. In this instance, you’re the customer, and the loss is painful because your risks were unmitigated. 

As a business owner, you want to put systems in place that acknowledge your own customer’s needs by minimizing their risks. You might implement a money-back guarantee or loyalty system so that consumers can purchase your product with confidence. You’ll want to orient every aspect of your business toward risk reversal, from your marketing and sales systems to your customer service practices. 

When you’re working on overcoming a fear of failure in business, one of the greatest acts of self-care is actually learning to cut your losses. How do you accomplish this while still prioritizing your customer? Marketing expert Jay Abraham champions risk reversal as a strategy for overcoming fear in business and life. Risk reversal – reducing the risks your customer assumes in purchasing your product – is a strategy you can use to cultivate trust. With a relationship of trust backed by demonstrable consumer protections, you break down walls to lasting customer loyalty. The only prerequisite is having a firm confidence in your product.

The fear of failure in business doesn’t have to limit you. Learn how to overcome it and take charge of your career and success at Business Mastery.

Take your business to unreached heights at Business Mastery