**Originally published in Lifestyle Entrepreneur Magazine.
You’re an entrepreneur. That means you’re in charge. Of everything. If you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, and you’re working alone from your kitchen table or an office, or the back seat of your car, you’re CFO, CEO, VP of sales, Chief Marketing Officer, head of promotion, bookkeeper, and every other role that’s required to make any business operate. Get used to it because until you reach the point of delegation, the person you see in the mirror is the one who will be handling every aspect of your venture.
In my 20 years of building a business from zero to the darling of an industry, six years sailing around the world, and then returning to become an entrepreneur again, I made an important discovery. One day when I was coaching three people in separate ventures, I noticed that each was in need of the same information. They were all entrepreneurs and they all had the same concerns. They were all facing the same fears of failure, worry about risk-taking, fear of making decisions, upset about changes that were happening in their industry, and feeling alone. Sound familiar? I heard concerns about not knowing everything they thought they should know, I heard a temptation to give up, a lack of passion, and a wondering if they had made the right choice.
My important discovery was that the same traits, skills, and characteristics of being a successful entrepreneur were the same ones I used to become one of the very few people to sail their own boat around the world. Facing 30-foot seas in gale storm conditions in the middle of the Red Sea is a lot like facing opening a business and not yet having customers, or being denied a bank loan. The fears are the same, and the way I learned to deal with them is the same.
Fear is one of the most common concerns of entrepreneurs; so let me help you with that today. There are many recommended methods of dealing with fear and I recognize that mine is not the only way. However my method of dealing with fear is both Ocean and Boardroom tested. So here’s a takeaway for you about how to deal with the fears of being an entrepreneur. It’s a simple two-step process and I’m going to teach it to you right now.
Fear is nature’s way of making us focus on the task at hand. It sharpens your senses and makes you more alert. And, we all know that it makes your palms sweat, your eyes bright, your muscles pumped up, your adrenaline overflowing, and I can even hear your heart beating from here! That’s what fear looks like and you’ve all felt and seen it. Congratulations. You’ve just taken the first step in dealing with your fears: Recognizing that you’re afraid. This may seem contrary to the entrepreneurial personality as the tendency is to say, “Who me? No, I’m not afraid.” But when you admit that you’re afraid, you’ve just completed step number one.
Step number two is a bit trickier. After recognizing that you’re afraid, accept it. Not only accept that you’re afraid, but embrace it. Yes, embrace your fears. You already know the physical sensations of being afraid and now more importantly, recognize what fear is doing FOR YOU. It’s making you more focused, it’s sharpening your senses, and it’s making you more alert. That’s all good! So you have now turned fear around to work FOR you instead of against you. Do you have any idea what a big step you have just taken? Huge.
As an entrepreneur, you will face fears every day and now that you know how to make fear work to your advantage, you won’t care if you’re afraid, because you know that it’s working for you. Oh, your palms may still sweat and your heart rate may increase, but you’ll learn to accept the conditions of being afraid and you’ll move right through making that important phone call, asking to see the bank manager, announcing your tele-seminar, or creating that YouTube video you’ve been thinking about for so long.
There isn’t enough room in this article to share all of my 11 Keys to Success as an entrepreneur. However, I want to give you one more important Key today: Dream. Dream big! Daydreamers are usually the ones who succeed as entrepreneurs. What you see in your dreams and visions doesn’t have to be sailing around the world or climbing Mt. Everest. In fact, most people think the dream of sailing around the world is crazy. Heck, even my mother thought I was nuts!
You might see having a home-based business that you operate from your kitchen table so you can be with your kids. That’s a great dream and it’s relative only to you, and no one else. You get to decide how big of a dream you have or in what direction it should take you.
What can you “see” yourself doing? When you visualize, you must be able to put yourself in the picture. In my dreams, I could smell the breeze, feel the sand beneath my feet and get as excited as if I was really out there sailing. Feel yourself and see yourself crossing the finish line to your dream. The passion you feel is key. This is an important anchor for you because passion usually wins out over everything else, including fear. What do you see when you close your eyes? If you can see it, you can do it. What do you dream about? What’s your core? What makes you leap out of bed in the morning without a cup of coffee? What keeps you up too late at night and wakes you up too early in the morning? What drives you?
Rise to the occasion and become a super-hero obligating yourself to the core. Here’s another takeaway for you. If you don’t know your passion, then take the free passion quiz on my website. It’s designed to focus your thoughts on what makes you thrive. There’s a super-hero inside each of you. But like the song says, “You have to search for the hero inside yourself.” Nobody else is going to do it for you. Remember, you are the captain of your soul, the master of your own fate.
Your Retirement Life-Style Design Coach
Larry Jacobson is America’s #1 trusted authority on non-fiscal retirement life-style planning. He is the creator of the Award-Winning “Sail Into Retirement” life-style design program; developed based on his own Retirement Transformation Experience. He retired early and sailed around the world… in 6 years. Larry is a two-time TEDx speaker, and a regular speaker at Retirement and Life-Style Planning events. Larry believes only in teaching what he knows, and he loves helping his clients turn their passion into their dream retirement. If you’d like to explore inviting Larry to speak at your organization’s next event; or if you’d like to be coached by Larry, Click HERE to contact him!