Embracing Fear in Entrepreneurship


Failure is a word that most people would rather not be associated with. However, history has taught that often the most spectacular advancements in human endeavors have been brought about through a path that was littered with a series of failures. It may seem trite to point out that failure is indeed a vital part of the success process. However obvious this point may seem; the refusal to or fear of implementing ideas for fear of not succeeding is prevalent among the female population.

Tied to the fear of failure is the lack of self-confidence in women, who in essence lack self-confidence in their entrepreneurial abilities. While women have a barrage of ideas that could solidify into worthy businesses; ideas alone do not make a successful entrepreneur. Key attributes of an entrepreneur include self- belief, passion, and risk-taking. Shobhit Seth in 10 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs stated that entrepreneurs have a firm belief in their abilities, often accompanied by doggedness in the materialisation of their ideas.  These are essential in the face of possible failure.

In the book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg pointed out that self-doubt can contribute towards preventing women from achieving their career potential. This is unfortunate, as an increase in the empowerment of female entrepreneurs and in essence business is a key driver in economic growth and development. On a more basic level, owning a business as an individual creates a higher level of freedom to create the family life and work environment desired. Despite this a high number of women do not consider entrepreneurship as an option due to negative perceptions about their abilities. Sandberg pointed this out by stating that even in a corporate environment, women are less likely to speak up due to self-limiting beliefs, under circumstances that men would act otherwise.

There are so many women in business today who are breaking bounds with their achievements. The lives of successful entrepreneurs teach a lot about how to overcome the fear of failure. Women who believe that they are deserving of success are often the ones who are most passionate about achieving the success.

In addition, building a network of strong individuals, particularly entrepreneurs can provide a confidence boost based on the strength of knowledge derived from numbers. Another means of eliminating fear is to have clear accountable goals and milestones, as achieving success in smaller goals is often encouraging in light of the bigger picture.

The bottom line however, is to feel the fear and do it anyway.


The Nines and Prosper Team

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