One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as an entrepreneur is my own fear of rejection. With EasyImpress entering a sales phase, this has been my biggest priority for overcoming. Interestingly, I’ve noticed that many others with this same fear don’t even realize they have it. Many entrepreneurs have the bad habit of procrastination, but that’s all they think of it as. They’re not lazy people — they’re frequently some of the most active people you know. But some things they know they need to do, even some of the most important things, end up getting endlessly delayed.
For myself, I realized it was because I was afraid. And it’s much easier to tell yourself, or others, that you’re not succeeding at something because you haven’t tried hard enough (or at all) than because (everyone’s secret fear) you’re simply not able to do it, or not able to do it as well as you’d like to think you could. I think this a more common root of procrastination than many would like to admit. And it may be why so many tactics people try to overcome procrastination don’t work; because they’re focused on causes like a lack of structure, or a disinterest in the task.
Curing procrastination caused by a fear of rejection or fear of failure is a different matter entirely. It’s not about making time or improving motivation. There are two approaches you have to take:
- Accept that it’s okay to fail.
- Build your confidence, and trust what you’re good at.
If you ever want to improve, you have to accept the possibility of failure. None of us are naturals at everything. The people I’ve seen who seem to pick up skills with ease are actually people who obsessively practice a new skill, failing rapidly and repeatedly in a short amount of time, until they’re succeeding more often than not.
Entrepreneurs at my age are often good at many things, but rarely masters of anything. We’re praised for being good at these things, but often we’re still feeling like a novice, or remembering how bad we were at it in the beginning. If you want to overcome this, you have to keep succeeding (with the risk of failure each time), until your skills and your confidence in them improve.
Finally, know that there’s a way you can make your fear of failure work for you. Any time you’re procrastinating a task you know you need to do, remember that it’s as sure of a path to failure as attempting the most difficult of challenges. And not just failure at the task, but failure at the bigger project it’s a part of. Procrastination may help you avoid failure in the short term, but it will lead to a larger failure every time.
You don’t become a failure by failing to succeed. You become a failure by failing to try.