Muhammad Asif is an entrepreneur, investor and CEO of MCA Internationala company that offers growth-oriented solutions to the hospitality industry.
Managing and navigating failures is an integral part of starting a new business venture. Failure is inevitable, but it is also the fastest way to make your business idea a success. As Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, once said, “If things don’t fail, you’re not innovating enough.”
Yet, almost half (42.6%) of entrepreneurs fear of failure, despite the evidence that entrepreneurs should feel comfortable with failure and learn from the experience. This fear of failure is harmful to businesses, not failure itself. In this article we look at why fear of failure is bad for business and how entrepreneurs can overcome it.
The negative impact of performance anxiety
First and foremost, fear of failure keeps you from taking risks. Just undertaking an entrepreneurial effort means that you: are not play it safe. If fear of failing is holding you back, you will never jettison caution or trust your instincts.
There is also a very real risk that valuable lessons will be lost. Failure shows you what works and what doesn’t. If one way to achieve your goal doesn’t work, move on to the next. Without fail, you never know what will work in the end.
It can also negatively impact your mental health and personal life. Entrepreneurs who allow their fear to constantly affect all of their thoughts and actions will no doubt find it taking their toll. The constant stress and anxiety will not only diminish their confidence in making business decisions, but can also affect their private lives and personal relationships.
Perhaps most crucial of all, it can lead to limited business growth. An aversion to failure can keep business owners from taking their business to the next level and stepping out of their comfort zone.
How to overcome fear of failure?
The first step to freeing yourself from a limiting fear of failure is to consciously separate your identity from that of your company. Failure in business does not matter you a failure. Entrepreneurs must accept that their business persona is separate from who they are as a person, and failure in business does not define them.
Learning how to exercise patience can also go a long way in dispelling your fears. Yes, you may want your new ideas or efforts to take off as quickly as possible, but this could mean that your strategy is rushed and not well thought out. Patience will lessen the anxiety your impatience might cause, allowing you to see your plans through and with a clear head.
Love to learn from your mistakes. It’s important to realize that failures are invaluable learning opportunities, and feverishly avoiding them will rob entrepreneurs of that potential learning curve. Embrace your failures, examine and dissect them and take away the valuable lessons they bring.
Last but not least, there must be a concerted effort to reach mentors and colleagues. Looking back is 20/20, and it’s easier to get comfortable with failures once you’ve navigated through them. Entrepreneurs who find that their fear of failure is holding them back professionally should enlist the support of individuals who have experienced it first-hand, which will reassure them in their determination and show them how valuable failure can be.
Of course, failure is not an entrepreneur’s goal – no one strives not to succeed. But the innovative and groundbreaking nature of the entrepreneur’s life’s work carries a high risk of failure. Once entrepreneurs recognize that the lessons learned from these failures can be just as valuable as the ultimate successes they strive for. As mentioned, failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.