Fear is one of the emotions all living beings face at different times in their lives. I am sure all of us have and will face “Fear” at various points of time in our lives.
It could be fear of dying, fear of losing, fear of failure and sometimes fear of the unknown. The condition of mental depression is many times associated with the fear of the unknown. I would put the High Anxiety and related disorders due to the uncertain Pandemic, in the basket of “fear of the Unknown”. Fear that comes with uncertainty, apparent vulnerability, mass hysteria, real and present danger.
As a professional, as a member of a family, as an Entrepreneur, I have experienced Fear many times. I believe we all do.
Even in the real world, like in many films, individuals either overcome fear and succeed or they succumb to pressure and vanish.
I believe it is all about how we are made. Genetic predisposition, upbringing, circumstances, environment – local and peripheral.
I have seen examples of when a talented and an aspiring individual is given an opportunity to be a leader, the outcome can go either way:
Fear takes over, and the individual becomes reticent and prefers to remain the “comfort zone”, or
Fear is the Key, that is used to pump adrenalin, become more courageous, face your fears and overcome hurdles, so you become a true leader.
I personally believe it is the emotional strength of the individual that will make a difference between succumbing to Fear, or to face it squarely and conquer it.
It is famously said that many talented individuals chose not to become Entrepreneurs because of “Fear of Failure”, and hence they prefer to stay in their comfort zone, and the society is bereft of many potential leaders. More true in conservative and traditional societies.
When I was in School in the 1970’s in India, a businessman was many times scorned at, because there was a belief amongst the more traditional and highly conservative sections of the society that, business meant profiteering, and profiteering at the cost of common man. Most families would be happy if they had an individual in their family getting a Government Job, and later in the 1980’s Public sector Banks and Public sector Companies became the top of the heap ambition.
Entrepreneurship was still an “American Dream” or “Silicon Valley” culture in the 1990s. Indian Entrepreneurship got inspired by inspiring stories from the Valley and that of Great Indian Business leaders like TATA’s and then Leaders like Narayana Murthy, Shiv Nadar, Azim Premji, and many others.
In the silicon valley culture, it was OK to fail, and it did not mean end of life. You could do another start-up, and you would find backers for it. In India failing as an entrepreneur was still Taboo, and hence the “Fear of Failure” mitigated many aspiring, and great ideas taking the shape of an Enterprise.
In the recent decade Entrepreneurship, Start-ups, Venture funding, Valuations, exits, serial entrepreneurs have become fashionable. Entrepreneur turned Investors have a “Risk Appetite’ ! How much can they risk investing in an idea, in a team, without the fear of failure?
With the changed attitude of the society towards Entrepreneurs and Start-ups, “Fear of Failure” seems to be receding. It does not make young Entrepreneurs feel weak in their Knees, or break into a sweat when they start their journeys.
They are better prepared, courageous, tenacious to fly through the turbulent journey of being an Entrepreneur. Stronger the conviction and passion, the less likely they are to fail. “Fear is the Key” to do more!