Updated: Feb 11, 2019
What if success comes too quickly? Am I ready for the spotlight? Can I deliver the goods? Do I have enough inventory in stock? Will I be able to meet the demands? How will I handle the haters and trolls? Will success change me for the better or worst? ...
It's fairly common to hear experts talk about the fear of failure, but the fear of success is just as real. You can lessen your value by playing small or you can take bold actions and get big results. Success can be scary because it demands that you be prepared for the unknown. Case in point, will you be able to deliver 1000 gift bags in time for a private Valentine's Day party this week? Or, you've been invited to be the keynote speaker before an audience of 2500 and you panic. Will you retreat in the face of fear? What no one may have told you is that the closer you get to the success you want often means getting closer to fear.
I remember my first corporate speaking engagement was before a group of career professionals at AT&T ten years ago. I spoke about "Redesign Your Reality" from a corporate perspective. I went out of my way to secure this opportunity and now it was my time to shine. In spite of my two years of practice and presenting at Toastmasters, I was nervous as all get out. Yet, I knew from experience that it typically takes me about 10 minutes to break through the nervousness and hit my groove. Consequently, I would prepare my talking points and rehearse in front of a mirror at least ten times. To help me get settled in, I'd begin my speech with a question to engage the audience or I might interject humor to get a feel for the mood in the room. During the course of my delivery I begin to feel a connection with my audience. The event concludes with a book signing and meet & greet, which serves as a confidence booster for my next assignment.
If you are a successful entrepreneur, you can no doubt relate to the fear. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, understand beforehand that, more likely than not, you will grapple with the element of fear. The two keys to quelling your fear and catapulting yourself to success are 1) be prepared and 2) ask for help.
1. Be Prepared While you do need to plan for everything that can go wrong, you also want to plan in case everything goes right. You never know when success will come, so you want to be ready when it does. Expect growth at any given time, from anywhere. You must have the scope (cost and time), scale (ability to grow) and capacity (maximum output) to handle growth.
2. Ask for help Don't be afraid to ask for help. If there's one thing I've learned from being an entrepreneur is to seek out other experienced, successful entrepreneurs for advice. Get over the notion that I can do it all. Hire skilled help to delegate tasks such as technology, social media marketing, web design, administrative, graphics and other tasks while your focus on high level endeavors.
Having prepared and asked for help, what if you can't deliver the 1000 gifts bags in time for the private Valentine's Day party this week? No need to beat yourself up! You're not a failure. Yes, you were ready to play but just not yet in the big league. You can only prepare as far as your resources will allow. Don't give up on the goal. Learn from the experience and continue to work your way up to the major league. Revisit the two keys above.
You deserve the success you long for. Don't be afraid to grab it!