QUOTE: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”- Winston Churchill
As a business owner, I often struggle with the pressure of being the sole decision maker. And when the stakes are high, it can be difficult to trust my instincts without feeling nervous about making mistakes, we can all relate to those gut retching moments. These stresses come with the territory for any entrepreneurship and fear of failure is a common issue – after all no one wants to be unsuccessful. But when the anxiety about ‘getting things wrong’ makes you miss golden opportunities or stay stagnant within your comfort zone, then it’s time to take action.
I recently re-branded my events company. This was a big project which required a sizeable financial investment and it took the best part of a year to complete – with many leaps of faith along the way. I decided to re-brand to evolve my business and to take my plans to the next level. But I had to build resilience against my inner voice screaming at me which wanted to procrastinate and self-sabotage, and I tackled my fear of failure to emerge as a bolder decision maker. I would like to share with you what I learnt:
Be ambitious and organised
The very nature of being an entrepreneur means we are all goal-setters and go-getters. Our aspirations are the guiding lights in our professional and personal lives, yet a fear of failure can prevent us from pushing ourselves to be the very best we can be. Fear often stems from the unknown, so it’s vital you examine every detail and potential outcome before embarking on any new developments or strategies. I find it helpful to have a contingency plan and I feel more confident if I have looked at all-case scenarios before I move forward. I also try to be a problem solver. If I foresee any potential issues, I find out how to resolve these glitches before they happen. This enables me to feel more comfortable of my direction and my motivation before I start any project.
Become an expert in your field
Silence the nagging voice of self- doubt by understanding your industry and know the actual workings of your organisation. I have over 30 years’ professional events experience, but I don’t claim to know it all and I still take time in researching new trends and innovations in corporate event planning. I remind myself of my hard-earned knowledge frequently when I start to question my decisions. You can look to formal education or workshops to boost your skills or attend specialist trade conferences to keep in the loop. The more knowledge and understanding you have, the stronger your instincts and intuition.
Be resilient when things do go wrong
As the world’s most famous school drop-out, Sir Richard Branson, said: “Don’t be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” This is certainly true of author J K Rowling, whose first synopsis of Harry Potter was rejected many times before she found a publisher. Indeed, many successful people are open about the mistakes they have made along the way, and it is up to us how we choose to deal with our errors and misjudgements. I have to wear many ‘hats’ in order to run my company and so the potential for making a mistake (or two!) is high. But I make sure I am not too hard on myself when I do occasionally slip up. Every failure is an opportunity to grow and develop. You will have inevitably learnt something new, so take stock and reflect before using your newfound knowledge to move forward in a positive way.
Connect with your peers for advice
A problem shared is a problem halved, and next time you are feeling overwhelmed, why not reach out to your business community? Other entrepreneurs will have likely faced similar situations and may hold the answers to your dilemma. The journey to re-brand my company took me into very uncharted territory, and I was so grateful for the guidance I received from my professional connections, who were happy to listen to my ideas and answer my questions. I relished the opportunity to expand my knowledge and felt braver taking on elements of the re-brand I had never tackled before. Having a supportive network helped in my moments of doubt – after all, it’s always good to have a second opinion.
Give yourself a positive talking to!
We all have a negative inner voice. For some people it so loud that it drowns out every other thought so all you hear are the doubts and fears. It then becomes impossible to tackle anything without stress and anxiety creeping in. But a negative approach will only bring negative results, so flip your mindset to allow only positive influences to nurture your self-confidence and self-esteem. Take charge of how you feel and act and recognise yourself as a thriving entrepreneur. I am not saying it is easy (there are days when I think what am I doing?), but only by truly feeling like you a worthy of success will you find that good things happen. And we all deserve that, right?
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