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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

Beyond fear of failure: 4 entrepreneur demons [Wise Wednesdays]

I had a coaching conversation with a high achieving doctor recently. She wanted to grow a social enterprise helping young people to gain confidence and fulfil their potential. She had already started and was doing well but felt stuck as she juggled her clinical work and entrepreneurship.

Fear of failure holds people back from taking a leap into the unknown. They could cut back on how much work they do, take on more autonomous leadership or just set up their own business and work independently. But fear of failure paralyses them or keeps them going around in circles. This is reinforced by the structures and people around them. After the leap, what keeps people in fear and sabotages their efforts involves different shades of fear and they’re usually alone in it.

Here are the 4 fears that come up after a big leap. Every entrepreneur I’ve shared these with nods knowingly. The only difference is how we deal with them individually:

  • I’m afraid because I don’t have any structure

  • I’m afraid because I don’t have any guidance and don’t know what to do

  • I’m afraid because of the financial uncertainty

  • I’m afraid because I feel lonely and disconnected

There was a previous Wise Wednesdays on this theme here. While the strategies we use to address these fears are unique and endless in variety, the core mechanism behind addressing them is the same. It relates to how we befriend our mind and its activity (or resist it). Interestingly, the front cover of this week’s New Scientist features a new theory of mental health based on recent evidence of a common denominator (p factor) to all mental illness.

No one knows if the p factor is genetic or constructed. But it can’t be a coincidence that a common approach to treatment (mindfulness based CBT and similar talk therapies) was cited as a potential panacea to all mental distress. Questioning your limiting beliefs with kindness (or compassionate ruthlessness as I like to call it) has been recognised as a fear alleviating intervention for millennia in Eastern wisdom traditions and ancient Western philosophy.

Happily for us and future generations who embrace this way of living well, it requires much less struggle than one might think. My high achiever doctor friend told me that the coaching conversation we had was the most useful conversation she’d had recently. But I’d hardly said anything. I was just present to her deeper potential and didn’t buy into her limiting beliefs. This gave her space to reconnect with her true power and deeper essence. The one beyond all fears.

Have a great week,


Next Leaders Circle! 19/02/2020 Influence Outcomes without Manipulation.: So much work toxicity comes from poor communication. So many opportunities are missed and so much potential remains unrealised for the same reason. We try to change people, situations, things but forget to look at our own motivations and the impact of what we say and don't say. Influence without manipulation is crucial to working and living with sanity and fulfilling our deepest potential without harming others or ourselves in the process. Join us for another Leaders Circle at Harley Street. Full information and tickets here.

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