Believe it or not, I believe we are in the midst of a fear epidemic. I have had more than a few conversations in the last two weeks with women who are passionate about what they do, articulate about their ideas, but scared to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. They have come up with a product, service or way to do business that could turn into a sustainable, highly successful business. But something is preventing them from following through on their dreams. I can’t even say it’s exclusive to women, because I know a few men who are just as gun shy. But for the purposes of this post, I’m referring to the women.

So why are we victims of failing to move forward with great ideas? There are lots of reasons. It surely isn’t due to a lack of creativity or passion. All of the women I have spoken with over the last few weeks had this certain something in their voices. You know, like that sound of pride a mom exudes when speaking of her baby being on the honor role. They want so bad to tap into their inner CEO and share their “baby” with the world. But something is holding them back.

  • Fear of Failure. This one is a biggie! Trust me I know. There were many nights in the beginning I sat up wondering what people would think of me if I failed. It’s a huge burden on women’s minds. Women are held up to a higher scrutiny than men. We are the Moms, the caretakers. So if we fail at a business, it can be perceived as something that was expected of a Mom with a “hobby”. Hey, *I* didn’t say that, but I’ve heard it. I say to hell with what people think. Many prominent people (women AND men) have failed…on more than one occasion too. Failing should not be feared. It should be used as a learning lesson to prepare you for your next steps. Don’t let fear of failure keep you on the sidelines.
  • Fear of Success. Once again, guilty as charged. Even worse than the fear of failure is fear of success. This is a bit more psychological for some people than others because it’s all about the expectations others put on you. Once it became obvious that I was on the cusp of something big, the expectations of others crept into my head. I worried so much about letting people down, which is a lot different than worrying about what people will say. I felt that pressure hard. A lot of time women panic because they feel if they grow too fast too soon, it will take away from their family obligations or that there will be such great demands on them that they won’t be able to deliver. Don’t fall victim to this. Success can be wonderful if you manage it right.
  • Lack of Support. Single Moms are hit hardest by this. They are already doing it all on their own, raising the kids, being the breadwinner. It’s hard to move forward with a business idea if you feel nobody supports or believes in you. But don’t let that stop you. There are many women’s and moms groups that are out there that would love to support you. You can look on the internet and find local groups that fit your needs.
  • Lack of Money. I learned from a great friend that it’s not always necessary to have the funding to start a business. There are ways that you can creatively finance. There are microloans, business plan competitions, small business loans, angel investors and joint ventures. You can also offer equity, commission, revenue sharing or deferred salary to key staff. Not being capital rich, doesn’t mean you can’t move forward with your idea or business.
  • Fear of Losing a Stable Paycheck & Benefits. This is without a doubt the worst excuse of them all. I know you’re saying “but the economy!!” and yes we are in a bit of a jacked up economy. But that’s no excuse to not move forward. First of all, you can probably search online for better benefits at sites like EHealthinsurance.com for insurance, and Fidelity or Sharebuilder for 401K programs. I have consistently found better coverage than what companies can offer by researching online. And if you are passionate enough about your company, willing to market like crazy, and are hungry enough to get out there and close clients, the money will come. What gets lost is that you have to potential to make MORE money. I don’t think anyone deliberately goes into business to make less money or to fail. Do you want someone determining the most money you are allowed to make? I didn’t think so.

Don’t let fear keep you from bringing your idea to market. Many of us have the capability to be business owners. True entrepreneurs are OK with taking a risk because they know the rewards greatly outweigh them. You can overcome any of the excuses listed above. It starts with changing your mindset. Believe in yourself and you will be on your way to succeeding. Fear is nothing but False Evidence Appearing Real. As I always say no limits, no boundaries, no fear.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

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People are good at making goals, New Year’s resolutions, dream lists and plans. But there’s a fundamental problem with them. They leave room for interpretation, revision and even delay. Where’s the accountability? So I gave it some thought, and I’ve decided never to make “goals” again. OK don’t be alarmed. I know I’ve told you in the past that goal setting is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your success. But I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do that any more.

You see, people set out to achieve their goals and genuinely have good intentions. But often life, work, circumstances, family, health, and a host of other things often get in the way. Goals are flexible in people’s minds and we’re often inclined to postpone them or disregard them altogether. We’ll say “well I couldn’t do that today, so I’ll get to it tomorrow”. Or “my money is short this week, let me put this training/course/coaching/conference off until next month, or maybe next year when I’m ready”. The intentions are there, but some times the execution and implementation are off. And we rationalize why we couldn’t meet the goal to try to excuse ourselves or make us feel better when we don’t meet them.

Here’s what I propose. Instead of making goals or resolutions, we should make promises. Yes, make a series of promises to yourself. You see when we make promises, we are held accountable. When you make a promise to your child, you move heaven and earth to make it happen so he or she isn’t disappointed in you. When you promise to get a task done on time at work, you do what needs to be done to get the job done so your boss isn’t disappointed in you. So why not make promises to yourself? Think about it. Some of the mot successful people are successful because of the promises they make to themselves. “I promise I will never be poor again”. “I promise myself I will move up within my company”. “I promise I will start my own business”. Making a promise to yourself is much more effective than setting a goal. Goals are fine, but promise yourself success. There’s something psychological about a promise. It means you WILL get something done. There is no postponing or forgetting. You will make it happen by any means necessary. Think about how you feel when others make promises to you that they don’t keep. It isn’t so nice. Well can you live with breaking a promise to yourself?

The next time you sit down to write your goals, rephrase them into a series of promises you make to yourself to guarantee your professional success. And to give them extra added incentive, assign time lines to those promises, then fulfill those promises to yourself as if you were your child, boss, spouse, parent, etc. What “promises” have you committed to make to yourself? Please share!

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

What are the common traits between Oprah, Martha Stewart, Barbara Corcoran, Sheila Johnson and so many other successful businesswomen? They continuously find ways to take their businesses to the NEXT LEVEL. They’re always looking ahead, and make adjustments as needed to achieve their goals. And they realize they can’t do it all alone. Most importantly, they aren’t afraid to make things happen!

Stop being stuck! Too many women, people in general, let outside influences keep them from growing their businesses. They let the economic circumstances keep them from making the right moves to improve business And some even let their basic business foundations crumble, resulting in them returning to corporate instead of fixing what’s wrong so they can prosper. Sometimes all it takes is stripping down to the studs and changing the way you do business.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, 8 women decided to take a chance on their businesses and me and joined the Next Level Business Coaching Program so that they could become unstuck. It has been an incredible journey and they are here to share their experiences with the program and talk about the transformations and revelations they’ve learned about themselves and their businesses. Tune in to hear all about it and to ask questions about taking your own business to the next level.

If you’re considering starting a business, or have a business that is stalled, or have a business that you are itching to take to the next level, you cannot miss this show. If you have a business and you are feeling like you need to go back to corporate to “make ends meet” you definitely cannot miss this show!

Tune in at 9AM EST http://www.blogtalkradio.com/viewsfromthetop and you can join the chat room during the show to ask questions. We’ll answer them live on air.

And if you tune in live during the show, I’ll share the special link for you to receive the special discount rate if you’re application is selected for the program. But you have to tune in to find out what it is.

“See” you then!

Adrienne Graham