I think fear is pretty self-explanatory. We all know when we`re afraid
of something, right? But what about when we don`t know that we`re
feeling fear, and instead believe we`re just being realistic? Is
realism another form of fear?
I remember coming to my father with an idea for some sort, to make
money. When I was really young, they were just fun ideas. But as I got
to my teen years, I started thinking more about it. One of the most
annoying things he`d do would be to start talking about taxes.
He`d tell me that, sure I could do this and such, but I`d have to pay a
lot more in taxes. It wasn`t until I was out on my own that I found out
that if you`re paying more in taxes, you`re pretty much ALSO making a
boatload more in money!
If you`re paying 20% on an annual income of $20,000 that`s one thing.
On the other hand, if you`re paying 25% on an annual income of $100,000
are you going broke? Sure taxes are problematic, but do you focus on
the increase in your tax burden, or the increase in your final bank
This poor logic followed me for many more years than I really knew
about. What if your idea works? What about all the added burdens of
costs, payments, commissions, fees, taxes, accounting payroll, and all
that awful "debt" you`d have to take on, just to handle the thousands
of new dollars you`d be earning? Is that so horrible?
It actually comes down to a fear of success. How many of us grew up in
a family where the parents could be adult, successful, and responsible,
but it would be ludicrous for one of "the kids" to match or top them in
the adult world?
Worse; how many grew up in a family where because the parents were
stuck in a dead-end job, nothing the kids could come up with would ever
be an innovative idea that would work?
Go back and look at some of your ideas to modify your startup. It might
be a way to change a business plan, or some idea you`re tweaking as you
start thinking about the possibility of starting a business. Where`s
Do you focus on all the things that could go wrong? Do you worry about
how you`ll pay for employees you don`t yet have? Do you worry about how
you`ll pay a lease or equipment fee as you expand? What about your
focus on how much money you`ll have with the orders and sales?
Why is it so easy to pre-guess all the problems associated with having
more and more sales? Wouldn`t you think it would be easier to think
about how you`d keep the IRS from finding those massive dollar amounts?
:-) We seem to all love to contemplate potential catastrophes. How come
we don`t easily contemplate potential fantastic success?
I think we get so trained to believe we can`t possibly be an adult
success that we attack our own ideas. We`ve heard the term "fear of
success," but I wonder: How many people can see that fear working in
their own mind on a daily basis? Are you afraid something will succeed,
or are you just being `realistic?`
Start with contemplating what "success" means to you. Then watch how
you handle everyday questions about what you intend to do in the next
weeks. For each idea you have, pay attention to which side of the coin
you`re seeing. Is it, "Hey…that would work!" Or rather is it, "Yeah,
but…if that really worked, do you know how hard it would be to keep
Are you spending more time arguing why something can`t happen, won`t
work, or would be too difficult? Or are you simply plunging ahead,
contemplating all those gold coins that would start cascading into your
My fear is paying the nanny right now. I need her to get work done ... but I need to have a steady stream of work to pay her. I was in such desperate need of child care for so long ... I dug myself into a huge hole that I am only now finding the light of. (What were you saying about never being done?)
That being said ... when you are playing catch-up, you don`t have new money coming in from new projects. And then you start scraping by ... and worrying about paying that nanny ... and then consuming yourself in the worry that you are hindering the work.
It`s hard ... I feel like this is a dip for me right now, and if I can just make it over this hump, I will be OK! But until then, it is 3 am and I just decided to stop working for the night. Not because the work is done, but because I have a baby that will wake me up in 4 hours and I need some sleep.
What would have been better was to anticipate the hole before I got here. But I`m a new mom, how was I to know how hard hiring help would be? (There were also some technical glitches, but that is a whole other story.)
I just keep my eyes on the prize and hammer on through ... my prize isn`t about gold coins though. (Money is something I have a hard time imagining ... why worry about taxes when I don`t think I`ll ever make that much?) It`s just vague stuff like paying off the bills and moving out of this state so my kid can go to better schools.
Craig ... I miss the Craigisms. Welcome back.
And that`s ANOTHER thing!!! :-D (Raising fist in solidarity with entrepreneurs, standing firmly on flimsy soapbox!)
Is your condition "Temporary," or is it "Permanent?"
I don`t know how often I`ve run into people who say whatever they say,
but they look at hurdles, obstacles, upsets, truamas, and difficulties
as a "permanent" condition in their life.
The True Entrepreneur understands that Trouble is just a Temporary condition!
Isn`t that why we start a business? Because we believe our situation is
temporary and we believe we can improve our circumstances by taking
The Dip sounds like an interesting read.
Y`know, I wonder...how many people DO start a business because their
back`s against the wall, they have nothing left to lose, and they
figure they can do SOMEthing to change!? It`s a great motivator, that`s
for sure... :-)
People seem to wonder about what`s the entrepreneur`s mindset. I think
this concept of seeing problems and "dips" as temporary is a major part
of it. I`m with Steve...it`s a belief that we can indeed change the
world, maybe only our local world, maybe more. But we can make changes
with our own efforts.
You pretty well described where we`re at right now. And yet we`re not
afraid because we believe in ourselves, our product, our market niche
and our future.
I personally believe there is no such thing as a national, state or
local economy. There are just a bunch of individual economies that when
combined add up to the larger unit. The "Michigan economy" may stink
right now. There`s not much I personally can do about that. But
"Steve`s economy" is a different story. That I can do something about.
It`s kinda like the story of the boy walking along the beach at low
tide throwing stranded starfish back into the water. When it was
pointed out to him that there were millions of starfish on the beach
and he couldn`t possibly throw enough back to make a difference, he
picked up one more, threw him into the water and said, "it made a
difference to him."
Recent life plan changes have made it even more critical that we succeed. It`s not just for us any more.
Steve, I think one reason so many people tell students, entrepreneurs,
and others to stay focused on the "now," and take things one step at a
time, is exactly what you`re talking about---getting lost in the
overview or big picture.
I believe that we might classify this sort of "big picture thinking" in
many instances, as a disguised fear of success. It`s easy to
rationalize, using wonderfully adult terms like "thinking
realistically." :-) Instead, it`s just avoidance.
The antidote, of course, would be to take small steps and "git `er done!" :-)