If left unchecked, fear kills motivation and dreams by pushing us back on our heels. It puts us into survival mode, often making us doubt our abilities while destroying any opportunity to thrive. Always invisible, but constant for many, fear is a killer of entrepreneurship.
What’s so interesting about real world fear is that it feeds off the construct of our lives. We create our own fears through our habits and commitments. We fear losing things we have acquired. We fear losing the things we have grown accustom to and can predict. This, inherently, makes us want to avoid the unknown – remove risk, if you will. And as you all know, if you remove risk you limit reward.
As a father and husband, I fear not be able to provide. Despite my track record of success, this is a persistent fear, and a common one among men. Unfounded? Yes, but if I don’t battle it, that fear will negatively influence the investments I make, the drive I have toward new projects, and my willingness to take risks. Basically, if I let that paranoid and unrealistic fear takeover, which it would like to do, then indeed I will lose my edge, and probably not be able to provide for my family (at least as an entrepreneur).
One of my favorite authors is Steven Pressfield. He refers to this fear as ‘the resistance’. And until you get over the resistance, or fear – whatever you want to call it – you’ll never thrive as an entrepreneur.
I want to share 4 practical tips that help me remove fear on a daily basis. These habits and disciplines will allow you to get out of survival mode and start thriving as an entrepreneur.
Tips to Help You Thrive as an Entrepreneur
Reduce the fixed costs in your personal life: It’s hard to leave a cushy job or invest significant capital in a new venture if your personal fixed costs are high. By having an onerous monthly burn rate at home (i.e. high rent or mortgage, car payments, country club membership, expensive wine collection, whatever) you’re killing your chance at entrepreneurship. Stop being a diva.
Furthermore, unless it’s an investment, you should never borrow money to buy anything (yes, that includes cars). And drop your expensive habits. Although tough at first, and humbling (a good thing), cutting your fixed costs is liberating and promotes entrepreneurial courage.
Wake up early (the earlier the better): Getting a jump start on the day guarantees that you are in control, and brings peace of mind (the antithesis of fear). Instead of the day running you, you control the day. Not surprisingly, this will give you a lot of confidence, increase productivity and allow you to focus on your goals. A disciplined schedule leads to success.
Your ‘down time’ must be productive: I have a young and growing family. So my ‘down time’ is minimal – probably an hour a day max, cut up in 15 minute segments. But I make the most of it. I read when I have down time, even if it is just a couple pages. Reading makes you better. It’s that simple. I write during my down time. It brings me clarity, which naturally reduces stress and fear. And I plan. This helps me stay focused on what’s immediately in front. Don’t waste your down time watching TV. Wasting, be it time or money, leads to stress, which evolves into fear.
Set weekly goals: While it’s important you keep the ‘big picture’ front and centre in order to stay on track, it is imperative you set weekly goals. I have a weekly goal setting time on Monday mornings which helps me prioritize and focus on the most important things that need to be done to grow my businesses. Without this weekly routine, I’d be lost. And when you’re lost, you’re stressed.
Make sure to hold yourself accountable with your goals too. If you don’t achieve your weekly goals, suffer a consequence. On the flip side, be sure to reward yourself for hitting them. These can be small things. For example: I do my goal setting with a friend. If either of us do not hit our goals for the week, $50 is owed. If I hit all my goals for the week, I smoke a cigar on Saturday.
Be aware that fear itself is your greatest enemy. If you want to thrive as an entrepreneur, you have to quell any negative impact fear has on your life. Incorporating these four habits and routines is my solution.