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Is the Fear of Failure Keeping You From Starting Your Business?

business successYour job is sucking the life out of you. It’s Sunday evening and you have a knot in your stomach dreading the thought of facing another day at work.

Despite the stress, you know that you can’t walk away because you have bills to pay and a family to support. You feel trapped. You search the want ads desperately hoping to find a solution. But those searches leave you feeling more depressed because there is nothing out there that won’t be more of the same.

You start to think that maybe starting your own business is the solution; however, the statistics are scary. And the fact that you don’t even know where to start doesn’t help.

Does this sound familiar?

I don’t know about you, but for years, those thoughts used to keep me up at night.

Is the fact that most businesses fail keeping you from taking that leap?

It’s a scary fact, isn’t it? Every day, there are start-ups that don’t make it, and freelancers who never quite seem to make a go of it.

Now, I can’t guarantee that the business you start will be a success. But, I can give you the one ingredient that will give you the best chance for business success.

No, it’s not an unlimited pile of money (not that you had that anyway.)

The Most Vital Ingredient for Business Success

The most vital ingredient for business success is passion.

It’s that burning desire inside you that – regardless of obstacles – will not allow you to fail. Passion helps you push past the fear of failure and truly give your new business your best effort.

Now I can hear you thinking: If passion is so important, why is it often left out of even the most detailed business plans?

Why Start a Business in the First Place

Let’s think about why you start a business in the first place. Sure, you want to make money, but it’s what the money can do for you that is your driving force.

You want to be your own boss; create a better life for your family; be in control of your own destiny; have financial independence. In short, you want to be happy.

With me so far?

So if the ideal is to be happy, it’s natural to set out with the end result in mind. You figure that making more money will give you the things that make you happy: a better life for your family, control of your destiny, etc. And you know that working for someone else is not cutting it. So your solution is to start their your business. Makes sense, right?

Your Biggest Mistake

Here is where the problem begins. Most people look outside themselves to find that business success. They start chasing the opportunity to earn money. Maybe they look for a need to be filled, or a better way of doing something. Or, they chase after an offer they saw on the internet guaranteeing them riches.

But in order to get what these people want and be happy, their business has to be successful. Doesn’t it?

Unfortunately,

when you look at all the businesses that were started and failed, you're looking at a lot of unhappy people.Click To Tweet (Been there twice!)

The Answer Lies in Looking At Business Success Differently

I am convinced that the answer lies in looking at starting a business differently. These people I am describing (as well as myself in the past) were externally driven; they were chasing something they wanted because they thought that’s what they needed to be happy.

In other words, they were swimming upstream against the current of life. This makes it so much more difficult to get somewhere.  And even if they could get somewhere, they would be exhausted when they arrive.

This is what happens anytime you are chasing goals that are not aligned with your passion. You pay a very heavy price. It can negatively affect you in so many areas of your life.

However, when you are following your passion, you can get so much farther, so much faster and with so much more ease, because you are going with the current and with the flow of life. It took me a long time and many painful mistakes to learn this. But when I did, it made all the difference in the world.

When you are doing something that you are passionate about, you are energized. It gives you the energy to overcome obstacles, fears and doubts. Quitting never becomes an option because there is nothing you would rather do. You find a way. Period. You need that passion to get through the tough times and to overcome the challenges that it takes to build a successful business.

People are happiest when they are doing what they love every day.  And here is the best part: when you are doing something that you absolutely love, abundance comes much more naturally and often without the struggle. Don’t misunderstand me: there is still work to do. It’s just not the same as a struggle. It’s the difference between “forcing yourself to do something” and “wanting to do something.” The first drains you of energy. The second energizes you.

Why Do So Few People Follow Their Passion to Start a Business?

So why do so few people attempt to build a business by following their passion? I have found that the answer is two-fold.

First, if you ask most people (and I have), they will tell you that they don’t feel that passionate about anything. Maybe their passion is buried so deeply that they don’t recognize it.

Or second, if they do feel passionate about something, they lack the belief that they can build a business around it.

In my opinion lack of belief is the greatest obstacle to achieving success in life. (If you have read my other articles you will know that I define true success as living a life of joy, purpose and abundance.)

As a result, people don’t believe they can make the changes they want to. So they either don’t try, or give up way to soon. Like Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

So what is the solution? How do we overcome a lack of belief that we can make a living by doing what we love?

What’s the Solution?

First, you have to be clear about what you are passionate about. That will help you become clear on your goals and where you are going. And if your goals are not in line with your passions, you may be making a mistake.

Remember what Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” If you are following your passion, it will be easier to develop belief and confidence in what you are doing.

The second thing you can do is identify the smallest step that you believe you can do, and then do it. You don’t have to take giant leaps or big risks. You may not believe that someday you can quit your job and start a business, but you certainly believe that you can learn to put together a business plan. So start there. Or consider doing something part time until you get some momentum going.

And then, once you have taken that first step, you start looking for the next step that you believe you can accomplish. And you take that step. As you get closer and closer to your goals, your belief will grow along with your confidence in what you can accomplish.

It’s important to remember that just because you can’t see a clear path to your goal doesn’t mean a path doesn’t exist, it just means that you can’t see it yet. As long as you are following your passion and taking those small steps, eventually the path to business success will become clear.

Also, find yourself some like-minded people so you can support each other on your quest. Form a mastermind group made up of others who like to dream big. And consider cutting off the naysayers and critics.

And finally, read stories about people who have accomplished great things. They will inspire you. Imagine someone writing a book about you someday.

Every successful person faces fears, doubts and obstacles. Every successful person has failed many times.Click To Tweet But the most important thing to remember is that these people became successful.  Why? Because they followed their passion and they never gave up.

Starting a Passion-Based Business

Starting a successful business today that is fueled by your passion is so much easier then when I started my first business. (I didn’t say easy; I said easier.) Technology and the internet allow you to reach a worldwide audience with your message, service or product, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. It makes it so much easier to test out a market or even develop your passion-based business part time, as a supplement to your full time job. But you have to know how to maximize the amazing tools and strategies that are available and make them work for you.

There is nothing more rewarding then doing work you are passionate about and getting paid for it. This possibility is available to everyone. It really is. Remember, if you are working for someone else, you are helping them accomplish their dream. Although there is nothing wrong with this, wouldn’t you rather be working on your own dream?  I know you have one! 😉

Getting the Help You Need

Today, there many outstanding companies that can help you with those aspects of your business success. One of my favorite sites is this very blog, by Danny Iny and his crew.  I have incorporated a lot of what I have learned from him in my own business. I attended his 90 minute webinar called “Bridging Your Passion, Purpose and Prosperity.” I can honestly say it was the most useful webinar I have ever attended. I recommend this to anyone serious about starting a passion-based business.

If you are still not sure where to start with your passion, maybe I can help. I have a free guide available for you called Finding Your Passion and Purpose – and How It Changes Everything.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? Whatever your answer is, start heading in that direction – no matter how small the steps. That is your path to true business success, a success that leads to a life of joy, purpose and abundance.

About Ron Schaffer

Ron Schaffer is an entrepreneur and a speaker. He is also the author of Fanning the Ember - Creating a Life of Joy, Purpose and Abundance. Ron is also the founder and Executive Director of "The Distant Light Project," a non-profit organization that helps at-risk students find a path to success.

24 comments

  1. Hi Ron,

    Don’t be offended if I ask some direct questions, please instead consider it a compliment as I am unfamiliar with your approach (which sounds very inspiring).

    Finding your passion does seem like a wonderful first step, but at what point in the process do you consider the market? Or do you assume the passion will be so magnetizing that even if there is no market you can create one?

    Finally, can you provide examples of case studies where businesses overcame the odds by using your above outlined approach?

    Thank you.

  2. When I took the leap of faith, people around me had so many questions – why I leave a ‘secured’ job to pursue something full of uncertainties. It wasn’t easy. It felt like jumping off the cliff, not knowing what will happen next. But after one month, I have adjusted in my situation especially after meeting like-minded people. One just have to keep swimming even if the tide is not favorable. As what I always tell myself – ‘keep on acting on goals until something happens.’

    Cheers for this post!

    1. Joann, thank you for your comments. What you did wasn’t easy but you did it. Good for you. It reminds me of what Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” – Ron

  3. Great, great post, Ron. I also thought how fear is still part of the equation even when you’re building a passion-based business. I LOVE what I do, but I always feel like there are 4,000 things I need to be doing all at once. I get overwhelmed and fear paralyzes me sometimes. I keep reminding myself that PASSION is more important that PERFECTION. When I remember I’m here to serve others, but can only do one thing at a time, I climb out of fear. Thanks for your wisdom!

    1. Marcy, thank you for those kind words. What you said was awesome.”When I remember I’m here to serve others, but can only do one thing at a time, I climb out of fear.” Now, that’s wisdom! 🙂
      -Ron

      1. Well, look at me being all wise! Thank you for pointing that out. I TRY to remember myself that fear is part of the creative process and to expect it. Easier said than done. I appreciate you responding.

  4. I am not afraid to fail because I know like I know like I know I won’t. My problem is a negative person in my life that just keeps on and on about how I am going to fail. Every day I hear it. It’s like this person is trying to make it happen. I cannot even explain to you how bad it has got. Yesterday I cried the whole day and wanted to quit just to get them to stop talking. I cannot avoid this person. I have watched videos about handling negative people til I am ready to puke over the amount of time I am wasting on this topic. Suggestions?

    1. DaynaMarie,

      Your pain comes through your words loud and clear. I do have some suggestions for you but it is a lengthy response and I believe it may best be handled in a private manner and not on a public post such as this. You are welcome to contact me at ron@fanningtheember.com and I will be happy to respond.

      Ron

      1. Thank you for your suggestions Ron. They have been very helpful. Fear sometimes makes you comfortable but that’s not living or growing. I want to live life to the fullest and discover who I can become. Instead of running it is time to face my fear and see what happens. I got this. Thank you again.

        1. You are welcome. Your desire to live life to the fullest is very strong, and as a result, you will get to where you want to go. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you. I wish you all the best. (I am still interested in learning about your online business) – Ron

  5. I found your post inspiring too, thanks Ron. I liked the part about the path not always being visible – I see that as a good thing. It’s good to know what the next couple of steps are, but if I try to think of all the steps on the way it’s overwhelming!

    1. Thanks, Jeremy. I am glad you liked the article. The fact that the path is not always visible reminds me of something that Martin Luther King said, “Take the first step, even if you can’t see the entire staircase.”

  6. Well there are lot of the mistakes we tend to make interms of business but Maybe they look for a need to be filled, or a better way of doing something.

  7. My favorite part of this article – and based on the quality of what I took from it, it’s hard to label the “favorite” – is where Ron Schaeffer discusses trusting the path will appear.

    I’ve often found myself inspired by an idea and then stop any small amount of action I may have taken. I’m confident that is because I don’t have a clear outline in my mind as to how to go about something. I can’t envision what every step will be.

    Then recently I’ve experienced a few examples of simply putting something out there or taking a small step and allowing matters to come in place. It works! The universe simply has a way of unfolding that which we focus on. And as Ron talks about, if you’re allowing your self to focus on that what you’re passionate about it will unfold.

    Cool article. I’m going to register with firepole marketing and also sign up with Ron Schaeffer’s website.

    A dose of this type of inspiration can go a long way! Thank you for leaving me inspired.

    Nancy
    Portland, Oregon

    1. Nancy, thank you for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the article. You made a great point that after you “put something out there”, you took a small step. It reminds us that we do have to take action to allow the “magic” to unfold. – Ron

  8. Ooo! I JUST wrote a post about this on Cheryl Woodhouse’s blog: http://cherylwoodhouse.com/2014/05/how-jessica-oman-overcame-commitment-phobia-to-launch-her-entrepreneurial-journey/

    I think fear is the #1 thing holding most people back from entrepreneurship – it’s when it becomes more painful NOT to do it, that the shift happens. The other thing to remember is that it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to try entrepreneurship and go back to a regular job. Sure, put things in place to minimize the risk – but in the end, you just have to jump!

  9. This post is most timely, thank you! Especially this one concept: abundance comes much more naturally and often without the struggle…

    Very true, and a great reminder! It is so very important to LOVE what you’re doing, because that comes across to your readers (and potential clients).

    I’m going to bookmark this post, so I can return here for a timely reminder about WHY I’m doing what I love.

  10. “Every successful person faces fears, doubts and obstacles. Every successful person has failed many times. But the most important thing to remember is that these people became successful. Why? Because they followed their passion and they never gave up.”

    So the next question people probably have is “what pushes people to never give up?” After studying a lot of very successful people, I’m a huge believer in mindset being the driving force behind success. The people that are “successful” have a truly unique view of themselves, what’s possible, and the world in general.

    The interplay between passion and mindset is something that fascinates me and that I haven’t completely figured out yet. I personally don’t think passion alone is enough to get it done, but I think passion is a really critical component of the right mindset. Without passion, it’s hard to believe in yourself and your cause enough to push through the really tough times.

    I’d love to hear what other people think about this!

    Cheers!
    Dave

    1. Dave, you are right. Passion alone isn’t enough. Like you mention, mindset also plays a big factor in your success. Because, no matter how passionate you are about something, you are only going to accomplish what you believe you can. Thanks for your comment. – Ron

  11. I’ve had that feeling of having a knot in the stomach on Sunday evenings. I used to hate my day job. But luckily I started an online business driven by passion.

    The first few months and were terrible. And then the business picked up pace. And then I had some personal issues and the business fell flat for a while.

    Yet, I was able to get it up back online and have success with it. If people ask me what one thing helped me to stay up all through the tough times and still have success, I’d say its my passion for what I do.

    This post synchronized with me very well. Thanks for writing Ron.

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