2012-09-14

How Do Entrepreneurs Face Their Fears?

Someone asked the following question on LinkedIn:

"Everyone has a fear of something. Being an entrepreneur there are so many unknowns and big risks that have to be taken in order to grow. How have you been able to take the leep of faith?"

My response:

"Many of the answers so far are quite rational, but fear is an irrational, emotional phenomenon. The best work I've seen on dealing with fear is from Leadership Professor (and former hostage negotiator) George Kohlrieser.

His research shows that, as children, we learn to overcome our fears by relying on Secure Bases. For example, we can take risks while learning to walk because we know that Mom, a Secure Base, will be there to pick us up when we fall. This pattern sticks with us through adulthood.

Therefore one of the best ways to address your own fears is to identify and leverage your secure bases.
They can be people who will still love you even if you fail, places that give you a sense of comfort and solidarity, physical objects, values you have, even pets. When you lean on your secure bases, taking the entrepreneurial plunge seems less risky - or at least the prospect of failure seems less dire.

It goes the other way as well. As you grow your business, it is important for you to lead as a secure base to your employees, giving them confidence to push the envelope and take [calculated] risks."

I've been so impressed with George's work that I'm taking his top-rated High Performance Leadership course, which is available for the first time in the US next year!

3 comments:

Jordan Elpern-Waxman said...

Bryan,

Great post. Taking this to its logical conclusion, if you don't have secure bases it will be very hard for you to be an entrepreneur. Frankly I suspect that my own lack of secure bases is the constraining factor on my risk tolerance.

Jordan Elpern-Waxman said...

Bryan,

Great post. Taking this to its logical conclusion, if you don't have secure bases it will be very hard for you to be an entrepreneur. Frankly I suspect that my own lack of secure bases is the constraining factor on my risk tolerance.

Bryan Hassin said...

Well don't forget that, for whatever it's worth, there's someone in Houston who believes in you!