In a post from his blog, Jon Carder, Co-founder and CEO of Empyr and a Mentor for the San Diego Founder Institute, explains why the fear of failure can be beneficial for entrepreneurs.
The post, "FEAR - it's designed to help you succeed", from Jon's Entrepreneurship is Like Crack blog, has been republished below with permission.
"The head of an entrepreneur is a lonely place. Am I smart enough? Do I work hard enough? Is my idea right? Do I have what it takes? How do I stack up against other entrepreneurs? Do I have the best team? Are we better than the competition? What will this all look like in a year from now? What if I fail?
Failure looms over us every day, no matter how big or small the company. It talks to us inside our head, constantly questioning our ability to succeed. We don’t know the future. We don’t know what the competition is doing behind closed doors. We don’t know what our employees are really thinking or investors for that matter.
There is no KNOW in the entrepreneur game, there is only FAITH. It’s the religion of “I”. I will do this, I will succeed, I will work harder, I am smart enough, I will build the best team, I will inspire my team, I will instill confidence in my investors, I will build a product people love, I have what it takes. I will do it!
But no matter how confident you are there will always be fear. The entrepreneurs who pound their chests and seem to fear nothing are the most insecure of them all. We all have to deal with fear; there are no exceptions to the rule. Knowing we all have to deal with the same thing can be comforting. We are not alone and those insecure voices are just part of being human. The trick is to harness the fear. If harnessed correctly and balanced with optimism, hope and a clear vision for the future you will achieve your dreams.
So what does harness fear actually mean? Fear can manifest in many forms such as insecurity, doubt, hopelessness and paranoia. The entrepreneur x factor is the ability to recognize fear and instead of ignoring it you use it to your advantage. Fear comes from your instincts and it’s really just trying to help you survive. Fear can produce two critical components of success; energy and enlightenment.
Fear = Energy
Fear is the #1 human motivator, above sex believe it or not. Use fear to drive forward. Fear can give you that extra boost of energy when you need to overcome an obstacle. Similar to how the best athletes and soldiers perform better under stress. Fear can also cause you to freeze up or run away. Some people can naturally harness fear to perform better, for others it takes practice.
Fear = Enlightenment
Out of fear comes awareness. Fear is effective at shinning a light on areas that need your focus. Where is the fear coming from? Listen to fear as it can point out areas that need improvement or understanding. Knowledge alone will eliminate fear in many cases.
So when you hear the voices… when you feel the fear and paranoia creeping in… embrace, harness, and Tai Chi the f*** out of it."
For more startup insights from Jon Carder, check out his blog Entrepreneurship is Like Crack and follow him on Twitter @joncarder.