Saturday, April 28, 2007

Talking about Fear

To an entrepreneur, there is always the fear of failure. Before venturing out, one would often ask:

“What if the venture doesn’t reap the benefits that I expected ?”
“How much time should I give myself ?”
“What should I do if the business fails ?”

It is very normal to fear about failure. From young, we had been taught to strive for the best. We are constantly being reminded that it is a very competitive world outside, starting from primary school level. As we grew older, the fear of failure became greater as we had contantly and subconsciously told ourselves that we might not have the time to pick ourselves up after failure. Life has become a never-ending marathon, and once we tripped ourselves, we may find ourselves lagging behind other runners. Far behind. And thus, the feeling of being an underachiever crept in.

We fear for failure because we are unable to accept the feeling of lagging behind others. We feel the obligation to satisfy certain social benchmarks set on us. We feel the need to have a decent pay package at certain age, a car at certain age, and a house at certain age. We feel the need to achieve a certain career status at a certain age. We become more focused on the rewards instead of the journey itself.

As a result, most of us choose to be risk averse and give up our dreams in exchange for a stable paycheck. Seldom have we asked ourselves, is this really the way we want to live our lifes? Is this really the only feasible way of living our lifes? We didn’t ask. Because we fear. Much like a worker ant that fears of taking an alternative path.

Fear is very common. I also have my fear, even now. I fear that my company would not be able to withstand tough competition in the future. Thus, I never stopped enhancing my existing products while thinking of new ones. I fear if one day my company collapsed, I would be left with nothing. Thus, I never stopped thinking of efficient ways to grow my company’s financial and intellectual assets while keeping my operational cost low. As such, fear might not necessarily be a bad thing. It keeps me from falling into my own comfort zone.

Having fear is normal. The closer you are to the reality, the more you feel the fear. There is no way to completely avoid the fear. You just have to overcome it. The important thing is, whether you are already an entrepreneur or aspired to be one, don’t let fear take away all your focus. As only when you look beyond the fear, you can see what you really want in your lifes.