This is a timely question.
As an entrepreneur who’s spent a lot of time in media production, where we are often fast and furious at churning out a product; it’s almost as horrible to watch a product fall short of its goals as it is to simply never even get the product made.
By the same token, in startup world, failure hides around every corner and your job is to either outsmart it, or outlast it.
In my experience, both outsmarting and outlasting come down to my ability to get out of my own head, take a breath, and look around me. It’s at these moments when the following things make all the difference:
- Remember there are many others who’ve been down this path before; and you are not alone in being afraid. There is comfort and strength just in knowing you’re not the only one living in what seems like constant fear of failure.
- Look to those who have succeeded and shared how they faced difficult times. How did they react?
- Ask myself if I’m ready to give up, with a clear understanding of what “giving up” means.Sometimes it just means some personal hardship. Other times, it could mean the loss of other people’s money. In the former, I can always endure, in the latter, my sense of honoring their commitment has to be remembered and respected; all the way “to the mat” as they say.
- Remember *why* you’re doing the hard things you’re doing that you think might be easier to give up on.If you think it’s for fame and fortune, find a new reason, I don’t personally think that can be a wholly sustaining motivation.
If you think it’s because you can make something that might have some small positive impact on the world, then hold on tight to that reason. Coddle it. Smell it. Recognize its importance in its own right, and keep on keeping on.
If it’s because travelling this path is the best way you know to provide for your family; then spend a few extra minutes with them each day and enjoy their company. Let their existence in your life lift you over the things that stand between you and success.
That’s about all I can think of for now, but somewhere in there maybe you’ll find your own reasons to keep going, or find peace with saying “it’s time to stop.”
For me, I usually lean on all four of these and thank my lucky stars for a fantastic wife, beautiful daughter, and great friends. Taking a minute to be grateful for them usually helps mellow out that fear of failure quite a bit.