Fear

Fear is a pervasive topic. In his recent Oval Office address, President Obama urged Americans not to succumb to fear in the fight against terrorism. His plea came on the heels of countless similar urgings from others in the recent aftermath of horrific violence in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

The most famous entreaty about fear came from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when, in his 1932 inaugural address, amid an unprecedented economic depression, he uttered words that resonate powerfully to this day: bthe only thing we have to fear is fear itself.b

In the relatively more pedestrian world of entrepreneurism, fear can be a powerful inhibitor,B especially for us women, as we strive to put our creative mark on the business world, where failure rates exceed 50%. For most of us, looming or perceived prospects of failure frighten and debilitate, and women entrepreneurs even balk at what success might bring. The combination can expose gaps in our confidence and blocks in our self-awareness, stymie effectiveness and sometimes freeze us in place.

There is no easy fix for combating the fear of putting it all out there in business. We can begin with respecting what fear signifies within each of us and engaging its power to fuel the creative process. This commands a healthy infusion of self-awareness and a willingness to own our internal processes. Knowing ourselves is the trail blazer, as we seek to pave a path that will yield success on our own terms and, as we do, relegate the expectations of others to the realm of the unimportant.

I have a fun expression, bwhat you think of me is none of my business, what I think of me is what counts!b For me, it crystallizes the primary importance of knowing what I expect of myself,B and that begins with a deep and persistent look inward.

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