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"Be Afraid"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"ô

(c) 2002, A Few Good People, Inc.

Thereís no doubt about it: fear holds people back. Period. Fear is probably one of the most important obstacles to overcome in order to be successful. "Fear of what?" you may ask. Fear of failure (you probably guessed that one) and fear of success.

Fear of success???

Absolutely! People fear success because there is a lot of pressure to stay at the top when they get there, and there is the feeling that they donít deserve what theyíve achieved; someone will eventually discover that fact and it will all go away. I saw an interview of Chevy Chase last night and he said that most of the celebrities heís ever known feel like someone will "discover" that they really have no talent after all.

I think that a lot of people get to a certain level of success and stay there because they just donít feel comfortable at a higher level. In retrospect, I think that may have happened to me and caused me to sort of slack off when I got to a comfortable income level. Looking back I actually felt a little fear at the idea of making more money than I already was, and it held me back.

People fear failure because their self-esteem is too tied-up in what they are doing. If they fail then they are somehow diminished and less of a person. And, they are concerned about what others will think if they make a mistake or if something isnít perfect because they depend on the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves

When you are afraid, you go into a protective mode that includes, but is not limited to:

1. Giving up too easily. You canít be good at what you do if you give up too easily. Some things just have to be hammered-on repeatedly until you get the results you want. Fear of failure is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because when you give up too easily failure is almost assured. Weird how that works, donít you think?

2. Not trying at all. Sometimes fearful people wonít even try. If itís something new, forget it! How can you get the best out of yourself and others if you donít even try? And how can you innovate if you donít try new things?

3. Anger. When your fear manifests itself as anger, very bad things happen. You alienate your family, friends, and employees. And, you become unpleasant to be around, which is a good way to lose customers.

4. Overcompensation. Instead of getting angry, some people overcompensate. By that I mean that they are so afraid that they will make a mistake that they will go overboard to make sure that they donít, wasting time, money, and other resources.

So whatís the cure? Self-confidence. Thatís easy to say but hard to get. The good news is that books and tapes are out there that will help you. Find them. Study them.

Constantly remind yourself that nothing worthwhile happens without some failure along the way. If youíre not making mistakes, youíre not trying hard enough. Besides, you can never completely fail because, in your attempt, you succeeded in overcoming the fear of failing.

If you have to be afraid of something, be afraid of being afraid. Nothing will kill your dream faster.


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