In my recent blog post 3 Reasons You’re Not Working for Yourself Right Now, I talk about how FEAR is one of the biggest factors holding you back from quitting your job and being your own boss (sooner rather than later). There are countless fears that can crop up when you jump out into the unknown and one of the major ones is a fear of failure.
Fear of failure can be so paralyzing that it can stop you from even taking that first step towards achieving what you want. The tricky part about it is that you might not even recognize it for what it is. A fear of failure can manifest itself as feeling “Resistance” (with a capital R). Steven Pressfield talks a lot about Resistance in his book Turning Pro (which I highly recommend). Resistance is that force you feel holding you back when you try to work on your business and it feels like every one of the cells in your body is resisting it. You know this feeling if you’ve ever opened Word to write a blog post or outline your new book and you end up fiddling around on Facebook instead. Or if you put off making your next sales call for weeks on end. Or if you keep telling yourself, “I’ll wait to do [insert task here] until all the planets are aligned and there’s a lunar eclipse exactly at midnight and I have a vacation day the next day.” (In other words, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ANY TIME SOON!)
The bottom line is that you can’t know if you’ve succeeded or failed if you don’t even start a project. Resistance is keeping you safe from failure in a comfortable dead zone of inactivity.
Let’s take a moment and recognize Resistance for what it is. It’s not you self-sabotaging yourself because on some deep Freudian level, you don’t think you deserve to have what you really want. Instead, it’s just the noticeable symptom of stored up inner fears (typically, a fear of failure).
Here’s the truth about failure…all entrepreneurs fail at something at some point. If you haven’t failed before, you are not a true entrepreneur. I’ve never met anyone who came up with a perfect business idea, quit their job to work on it and blissfully sat back while money came rolling into their bank account. Entrepreneurs fail and we fail often. Ideas fail. Products fail. Entire businesses fail. That’s just the nature of the game.
When you work for someone else as an employee, failure is not suppose to be an option, so you’re not comfortable with it. When you’re an entrepreneur, failure is how you learn. Each failure will teach you something extremely valuable and will allow you to go further and become more successful than before. If you haven’t failed, you haven’t pushed the boundaries and seen how far you can go. The sooner you can get more comfortable with failure, the more successful you will be as your own boss.
The only real way to fail is to do nothing at all.