How To Overcome Fear of Business Failure & Use It As Fuel

13 min read
Oct 30, 2021

You can be the most ambitious entrepreneur with the best business idea in the world!  

But, if the fear of failure is a daily emotional occurrence for you, then making use of those ambitions and bringing your idea to fruition is about as likely to happen as someone with no ambition or idea.

It might sound harsh or overblown, but that’s just how crushing the fear of failure in business is for your potential.

With that being said, we’re sharing five tactical ways that you can overcome your fear of failure in business.

On top of that, we’re sharing five methods for turning your fear into one of your greatest assets!

Don’t let the fear of failure be the thing that stands in the way of your success.  Instead, use it to your advantage to bring your visions to life!  It’s all in your potential.


What Is the Main Cause of Fear of Failure?


This isn't the first time that we've talked about the fear of failure here before on the Business Growth Insider.  Considering that it is such a pervasive and potential-crushing issue, it's worth addressing many times over!

With that said, there are several causes of the fear of failure, with some of the most common ones including:

  1. Disappointing loved ones and strangers
  2. Wasting time and resources
  3. Not living up to expectations

While these are all common causes of the fear of failure, they don't tell us the whole story.  Furthermore, these are just surface level causes.  

Below each of these surface level causes is a pervasive, underlying issue that explains almost every case of the fear of failure.

The underlying issue of the fear of failure in business is human instinct.  Yes, human instinct,  something that every human innately possesses!

Here’s how it works: Human brains are hardwired to hate discomfort.  When the brain sees something that forces it out of its comfort zone, it assumes it is a threat.  Therefore, when you make the choice to get out of your comfort zone by starting a business, your brain goes crazy!  Even though starting a business doesn’t pose an immediate threat to your life, your brain still sees it that way.  In essence, your brain can’t differentiate between a screaming monster trying to attack you and you starting a business.  It still sees both discomforting scenarios as threats!

Moreover, your brain interprets you getting out of your comfort zone when starting a business as a threat.  Because of this, it tries to tell you not to move forward because it fears that something bad will happen.  As a result, you fear failure, even though ‘failure’ poses no immediate threat to your life.  The only reason you fear failure is because your brain sees starting a business and getting out of your comfort zone as threatening.

Therefore, overcoming your fear of failure is a matter of overcoming your own human instincts.  

It’s like the saying goes…. ‘The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master’.  

You have to make the decision…  Will you let your mind coax you into the fear of failure?  Or, will you control your mind so that when it tells you there is a present threat, you shut it up instead of listening everytime?


How do you overcome the fear of business failure?


What Are the Benefits of Overcoming Fear of Failure?


In short: The benefit of overcoming your fear of failure is being able to repurpose that energy into fuel to propel yourself forward.

Like any other emotion, fear is energy.  More specifically, fear is negative energy.

And, as Albert Einstein once said, ‘Energy cannot be created nor destroyed’.

With that being said, you can’t destroy your negative energy.  But you can convert it into positive energy.  This concept of being able to convert energy is better known as energy transmutation.

Therefore, take advantage of your energetic capabilities to turn negative fear of failure into positive motivation.

If the fear of failure is currently a major challenge for you, just know that it can actually be your greatest asset in the journey to success!


Here Is How to Overcome the Fear of Business Failure


The truth is that fear of failure can never completely go away.  It is an innate human emotion that all entrepreneurs experience.

But, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t capable of overcoming our fears.  By that, we mean that there is a way to minimize the fear of failure so that it doesn’t stand in our way of reaching higher levels of success.

Think of fear of failure like the demon on your shoulder... it will always be there, but you have the power to shut it up! 

Here are five things that you can do today to start overcoming your fear of failure in business.


1. Put Taking Risks Into Perspective


Like we mentioned above, the human brain likes to think that any and everything that is unfamiliar to it is frightening and risky.  If it's never seen or done something before, then it will tell you that it's time to run out the door!

While that human instinct is nearly impossible to completely shut off, you can learn to cope with it.  More specifically, you can learn to not let your instincts guide 100% of your decision-making.

Moreover, when you start to feel uncomfortable in a new situation, know that it is likely your human instinct talking.  But, you have the power to choose whether or not to let it guide your decision-making.  You have the power to stop, use logic, and put the situation into perspective.

To put things into perspective means to use logic to get a clearer image of a situation.  

For example, your brain might tell you that you are headed into dangerous, uncharted territory.  But, you can take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and realistically assess whether or not the situation in front of you is truly dangerous or not.

Furthermore, putting things into perspective helps silence your instincts.  That way, you are able to have a clearer idea of whether or not you are truly in danger, or if your brain is simply afraid of the unfamiliar. 

The next time you feel fear coming on, take out a notebook and write down your thoughts.  Specifically, ask yourself what would be a worst-case scenario if you were to take the risk.  

Would the outcomes really be as bad as what your instinct is telling you?  Probably not!

Don't let your instinct overpower your logic.  Put your situation into perspective to activate logic.


The main cause of fearing failure


2. Move in Small Steps


Sometimes, mainstream media can have you thinking that the world's most successful entrepreneurs became seemingly invincible overnight.

However, that is far from the truth.  

Very rarely do entrepreneurs start a business and have immediate success.  Instead, they create long term business plans that are broken down into small, individual steps.  Then overtime, their grand visions become reality.

For example, before Jeff Bezos created the Amazon behemoth that sells literally everything you could ever imagine online, he focused solely on selling books.

Not only does moving in small steps make achieving business success feel more attainable, but it also helps alleviate the fear of failure.

When you have a grand business idea in mind but are starting from scratch, the difference between where you are now and where you want to be can be huge.  That difference is what sets off the fear of failure in your mind.

But, if you break down your idea into small goals and steps to achieve those goals, the vision all of a sudden appears much more attainable.

Therefore, if you have a business idea in mind, use goal setting to break the final destination down into smaller, mini destinations. Then, break those destinations down into steps that you can do everyday to reach them.

As a result, you will be more likely to achieve success and will reduce your fear of failure.


3. Find a Partner


Entrepreneurship isn't a solo game.  While the word solopreneur is quite popular these days, the truth is that going completely solo isn't the best way to go.

Sure, you can reach your goals without any help.  But, you can reach your goals faster and make a greater impact if you get help from a partner.  Not only that, but having someone to lean on will help lift your spirits when fear of failure has you down.

With that being said, we suggest seeking out a partner for success reinforcement.  And, it doesn't need to be a conventional business partner.  Instead, it could be a:

  1. Mentor
  2. The host of a popular business podcast
  3. Social group of successful people

Perhaps the best partners you can have in the business world are fellow successful people.


Here's the thing: The people you surround yourself with help create your reality.

If you hang out with people who are constantly talking about how scary and threatening the world is, then you will start to believe that the world is scary and threatening.

However, if you hang out with successful people who work hard, set goals, and achieve high levels of success in their own businesses, then that will become your norm.  As a result, those fears of failure will slowly begin to fade away. 

The point is that, when you surround yourself with a group of successful people, you elevate yourself to their standards.  What you thought was scary before all of a sudden becomes normal.

The people who you surround yourself with can either make your fear of failure worse or better.  Which will it be?


How to stop being afraid of failure


4. Get Feedback Early On


While we are on the subject of finding a business partner, you should seek out feedback from your partner once you have one.

What does solving the fear of failure have to do with getting feedback?

In short: You should aim to get feedback as you go through the process of building your business.  Because, if you wait until the bitter end to get feedback, you might end up with tons of fixes to make, which only makes your fears even worse.

Like we mentioned above, you should break down your large business goals into smaller ones.  As you accomplish those small goals, get feedback from your trusted confidant.  

It's better to get feedback early on than it is to wait until the very end of the process.  Could you imagine getting to the very end of your business plan only to realize that there are countless problems with it?  

Waiting until the very end of the process to get feedback is like pouring gasoline on to a mild fear flame.  It can make things go from zero to one hundred in a second.  

Therefore, seek out feedback early on so that you don't have to do a complete reset later on when things are more established.

The longer you wait to get feedback, the worse your fear of failure will get!


5. Invest in CEO Coaching


If you want to not only silence your fear of failure, but also ignite business growth to a new level, then CEO coaching is for you.

Now, you might be thinking... I already have a mentor and successful people to help me, so why would I need a coach?

Here's the thing: CEO coaching is all about empowerment.  And, empowerment is less about telling you want to do, and more about giving you the tools to figure out what you need to do yourself.

When you know how to solve your own problems, your confidence goes through the roof.  As a result, getting out of your comfort zone is like cake to you.

It's like the saying, 'You can give someone a fish and they won't be hungry.  Or, you can teach someone how to fish and they will never go hungry again’.  CEO coaching teaches you how to fish.

Moreover, the empowerment that you get from CEO coaching builds up your self-esteem.  Armed with the tools you need to be successful, you will be able to confidently carve out your own path.

It's a simple equation: Coaching = empowerment = higher self-esteem = eliminate the sources of fear of failure.


Here Is How to Turn Your Fear of Failure Into Fuel


We aren't suggesting that you completely eliminate your feelings of fear of failure.  

Instead, we are suggesting that you repurpose them.

At the end of the day, negative emotions like fear of failure are just energy.  And, while you can't destroy energy, you can repurpose it into something else!

With that being said, here is how you can turn your fear of failure into fuel to reach higher levels of business success.


Fear of failure when starting a business


1. Refocus On Your Vision


All successful entrepreneurs are visionaries.  It's just a fact!

They're not just solving basic business problems... They're creating new landscapes!

If you're an entrepreneur, then more likely than not, you were first motivated to get into business by a vision.  That vision inspired you to take that first leap of faith in the first place.

At what point, you were certainly afraid.  But, you repurposed your negative fears into positive motivation.

If you're past the point of being a start-up founder, then going back and refocusing on that vision can help bring out those same positive feelings that you had when you first overcame your fear of failure.

Fewer things can inspire you more than your vision to create a new landscape.  Channel your negative and fearful energy into something positive by taking a moment and refocusing on your vision!


2. Reflect on Progress


Regardless of where you are at in your entrepreneurial journey, you've likely come a long way.

In the heat of a hectic moment, it might not seem like a lot.  But the more you think about it, the more you realize how much progress you have made!

Reflecting on your progress can be a fantastic way to turn your negative fear of failure into positive motivation to move forward in the face of fear.

Not only that, but reflecting on how much progress you have made can help clarify your intentions for the future. 

Even if you're a new business owner and all you have done so far is made the choice to get going, that is still more progress than most people will ever make.  And, getting started is often the hardest part.

No matter how far you have come, you can reflect on your progress to propel yourself forward.


Fear of failure and success


3. Shift Your Perspective


Believe it or not, but small mindset shifts can make the biggest difference in your success.

One of the smallest yet most impactful mindset shifts that you can make is a shift in your perspective.

For example, instead of saying you have to go to work today, you can say I get to go to work today.  

Or even better, instead of saying I'm struggling with the fear of failure, you can say the fear of failure is a challenge for me.  

You see how using the word 'challenge' instead of 'struggle' completely changes the tune?  It's no longer about you fighting a painful battle…  It's about you overcoming a major challenge!

Tiny changes in your perspective is better known reconceptualization.  It's all about looking at things in a different way for the sake of improving yourself. 

By doing so, you can reframe your fear of failure into something positive.  Remember, it's not a negative struggle, but a positive challenge!


4. Measure Results


The day-to-day to-do's of being a business owner can be overwhelming to say the least.  If you're like most entrepreneurs, then you probably barely have enough time to squeeze in 30 minutes to eat every afternoon!

While you are probably already short on time, we highly suggest setting aside time each day to measure the results of your business progress.  Specifically, measuring metrics like how your sales have increased overtime.

Because we are so busy everyday, we tend to forget about how well we are actually doing.  But, by making it a habit to keep track of progress, we get some positive reinforcement each day that we are actually doing quite well.

Having that positive reinforcement is an excellent way to turn fear into fuel to keep moving forward.

Therefore, get in the habit of tracking your successes.  No matter how small they might be, they can be amazing at helping power you forward.


Fear of failure entrepreneurship


5. Find Purpose


While the fear of failure is an extremely common fear, most entrepreneurs never speak of it.

It's almost as if talking about having the fear is forbidden.

Not only is talking about one's fear of failure seen as taboo, but what's also seen as taboo is revealing one's true sense of purpose.  Specifically, the real purpose why they decided to jump into entrepreneurship in the first place.

For example, many entrepreneurs jump into the game for purpose of:

  1. Being a good role model for their families and communities
  2. Improving the community that they live in
  3. Overcoming one's low or negative expectations of them

While these are all amazing purposes to have, many people never speak of them. 

Even though it is seen as taboo to talk about your purpose, using that purpose to turn your fear of failure into fuel is highly effective.  In fact, reflecting on one's purpose is perhaps the best way to turn fear into fuel!

Ask yourself this question: Why did I really decide to go into business in the first place?

Sure, you wanted to change the current business landscape, but take things deeper than that.  What was motivating you underneath the surface?

Knowing the answer to that question can be the key to your success.


Final Thoughts on Overcoming Business Failure & Turning It Into Fuel


Every entrepreneur experiences the fear of failure during their career.

Therefore, if the fear of failure is a challenge that you're currently facing, know that you are not alone AND that you can overcome the fear.  

Not only can you overcome it, but you can use it to your advantage as power going forward.  It's all in your hands!

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