14 October 2014
Can you imagine if Thomas Edison had let failure stop him from pursuing his goals? How much longer would civilisation have waited for practical electric lighting? There are countless innovators who, without the ability to overcome the fear of failure – something I think we all possess – wouldn’t have gone on to create some of the everyday things we often take for granted.
According to an EY survey, the top two barriers to UK entrepreneurs wanting to start up businesses are financial support and fear of failure. Personally, I think both are linked, as we often equate money and success. However, I don’t think access to finance is the obstacle people believe it to be. Gail and I started up UKFast without any external financial help, working off savings and ploughing money we made back into the business.
As a proud Northerner, I’m also glad to see the EY survey revealing that it’s entrepreneurs in the North of Britain who are the best at using profit to grow their businesses. It just goes to show what being careful with your resources can do for you in those first few years of starting up. Yet, when it comes to the fear of failure, there’s no North/South divide; it’s seemingly universal. And whilst it’s an understandable concern, I am always reminded of the saying: “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will”.
I’m a firm believer that, in life, you get what you focus on. So, it stands to reason that if you’re fretting about failure or convincing yourself that you can’t succeed without external financial support, you will likely achieve one of these outcomes. Ask yourself, what if your idea was the next big thing? What if it had the power to improve a process or streamline a service, making things easier for thousands of people?
Too often, we put obstacles in our own way. For many of us, it’s time to get out of our own way, and have the self-belief to follow our instincts, not our fears.