My Greatest Fear As An Entrepreneur
The forces of fear and safety are hard at work every day in your brain. They aim to keep you down and crush your craving for new, different, and exciting. However, to get a true jolt of energy and fire in your belly, you need to blast through your comfort zone and live life. There’s no life without risk! No movement, no freedom, no learning, no surprises.
The need to venture beyond the familiar is so important to human development that the brain actually responds to anticipated, unknown events as if they were real. MRI scans have shown that the brain interprets a potential experience as if it had already happened. I have talked about this before in my speeches: FEAR & HOPE are, for the most part, the same because they are manifestations in your brain based on something that has not happened.
My simple definition of fear and hope:
FEAR: a pessimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of negative outcomes
HOPE: an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes
Both are states of mind based on something that has not even happened yet! If you swap out “pessimistic” for “optimistic” and “negative” for “positive“, your journey through life will be substantially different. It is much more fun to live in a state of HOPE rather than FEAR. Don’t believe me? This is what Wikipedia has to say:
FEAR: “Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Fear is an emotion induced by the perception or recognition of phenomena which can pose a danger or threat. Fear causes physiological changes and therefore may produce behavioral changes, such as mounting an aggressive response or fleeing the threat.
HOPE: “Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation.”
Just think about the words, expect with confidence and to cherish a desire with anticipation. Very powerful.
Where do you want to live? FEAR sucks and drains you, while HOPE fills you with optimism and happiness. Imagine waking up every day with HOPE as your partner rather than FEAR.
So, Mike, tell me the truth, do I really need to be completely fearless to be a successful entrepreneur?
There are plenty of things that scare the s**t out of me every day:
- One of my companies imports goods from Asia and freight rates are 6x higher than they were a year ago. Will they continue to rise?
- When I deliver speeches and webinars, will the audience like what I have to say?
- When I write a blog or a book, will it be valuable to the reader?
Yeah, sometimes this stuff messes with my brain, but I plow through anyway with the belief that I can handle any challenge, respond quickly, and take the next move. The life of an entrepreneur is one of blasting into unknown areas with optimism, confidence, and the belief that you can accomplish your goal. The life of an entrepreneur is one of getting your ass kicked and being forced to get up again and again and again.
Successful entrepreneurs are not fearless.
Successful entrepreneurs have the guts to venture into the unknown and get knocked down, then have the strength to get back up and push through adversity. And guess what? VERY rarely do they do it alone. The truly successful entrepreneurs understand that it is impossible to fly the plane of entrepreneurship solo. The greatest entrepreneurs always have a seasoned management team, a group of advisors, a board of directors or, at the very least, an experienced business coach. (yeah, shameless plug)
I can, without a doubt, promise you that things rarely go perfectly and according to your original plan. The sport of entrepreneurship is an emotional and financial roller coaster. Be ready to pivot when things go wrong, because they sometimes will.
When my mom died a few years ago, I was cleaning out her basement and came across a poem in her files. I keep it in my office, and it has helped me get through many difficult times.
If you are interested in digging a little deeper, you can view this short video where I discuss the difference between FEAR & HOPE.
Have a magical day, go kick some butt, and most importantly, DREAM BIG!