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How to Overcome Your Fears and Move Your Business Forward The business world can be a frightening place. But entrepreneurs need to learn to face down their fears if they want to keep their enterprises moving forward.

By Christopher Hann

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Tom Bandy knows all about the fears of the entrepreneur. Having built two companies from the ground up, he has experienced the fear of spending investors' money and the fear of making payroll. Worse, he has known the dread of having to fire an employee. But he also knows he's not alone. "Every entrepreneur talks about waking up at 3 o'clock in the morning with the thing that scares him to death," he says.

Let's be clear: Fear can be helpful, even necessary. Fear is the mind's way of telling us that danger -- or, at least, a bumpy road -- lurks ahead. But whether justified or not, fear can wreak havoc on the entrepreneurial life. It can thwart imagination and choke ambition. At its most devious, it can make every obstacle seem insurmountable. Consider the German proverb: "Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is."

The trick, of course, is learning to overcome our fear so that we see the wolf as, well, just a wolf. It's not easy. Fear has been etched into our DNA since the first cave man got too close to his campfire. The late horror and fantasy author H.P. Lovecraft called fear "the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind." Yet entrepreneurs have no real options--no good ones, anyway--but to conquer their fears. If you want to take that bold step that could make your company thrive, you'll need to stare down the demons that have been holding you back.

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