Here is a confession : I am scared.
It is a stormy day. As I look out my balcony window I see the sky filled with angry clouds . That is exactly how I feel as I write this, a feeling of fear and uncertainty filling me up like those angry clouds.
Do entrepreneurs have fear?
When you read about Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, there is enormous praise about how they did what no one else had the guts to do and followed their passion. It makes me wonder. How did they feel when they initially took the plunge? How did Steve Jobs feel on the day he decided to quit school and start working on giving shape to his ideas? Was he scared? Did he feel uncertain about his ideas? Did he ever think that his idea would fail him and he will be forced to work flipping burgers?
I didn’t grow up in an entrepreneurial environment. I come from a family of scientists. I know I am a good scientist, I am sure I am not a good entrepreneur. I fear failure. I fear the unknown. I have so many what-ifs running in my head.
Blogging has opened up a new world of entrepreneurship to me but there is something that is stopping me going from all out and making the big leap. I keep thinking about parachutes, the ground rushing up to slam into me, how I’m not a natural risk taker and how comfortable I am right now.
Conventional wisdom tells me I should be feeling liberated, not uncertain.
Fear of financial insecurity
This is my main fear. As my husband puts it, I want success without losing any of the comforts I already have, which might or might not happen. Right now, I have a job that I like (except for the office politics) and if I have to quit that directly affects the lifestyle we have. Will I be able to buy my own home? Will we have enough to fund our kids education? What happens if my husband loses his job?
Fear of failure
I don’t like to fail. I mean who does. But I have trouble taking ownership of my mistakes without drowning myself in shame and self pity. Without my family I would have quit a long time ago. They constantly make an effort to put me together again, every time I shatter. I should learn to recognize the valuable lessons from each of my experiences whether successful or not.
Fear of risk
So far, I’ve managed to plan my life and it has gone close-to-planned. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had to expend considerable effort, so I am not deluding myself that this is going to be easy. But I am venturing into hitherto unknown territory without a map. What-if no one reads my blog? What if Google stops sending me any traffic at all? What if I don’t get any clients for my other ventures? What if I my growth plateaus?
Fear of society
May be this is because I grew up in a very tight knit community where we give importance to the opinions of the extended family, but I feel scared about what others will think of my failure. It won’t affect me as much as it affects my parents. My parents will feel bad if someone comes and comments about my failure.
To sum it up – Am I good enough for this? Do my many fears imply I failing as an entrepreneur?
The long, winding road.
So far I have not let my fear dominate me which admittedly has taken tremendous encouragement and help from family. I know if I give in and start panicking I will go into decision paralysis. I am not about to ignore my fears. I am learning to listen to and adapt to my fears. That has led me to always have a plan B.
Fear has led me into establishing some milestones to evaluate my growth so that I can get out and pursue other directions instead of hanging on past the point of sanity.
Finally I should learn to better embrace my failures and analyze them without beating myself up too much.
I don’t know if those brilliant entrepreneurs felt fear and uncertainty. I most certainly feel them.
I don’t know entrepreneurship but I know science. A lot of brilliant products and theories have come from failure. The only way forward is to acknowledge my fears and work with them to succeed.
As dramatic as it might sound, there are two beautiful rainbows in the sky now. I guess I should hold on to my hope and work on what I can do to make my dreams come true. I won’t quit because I am scared.