Through all aspects of life, there is one thing that kills everything it touches, and every person in the world is guilty of falling into its trap.

Fear.

That’s right, the thing killing parts of your happiness, business, and relationships is a natural instinct we humans have created to protect ourselves. So how can something, made to protect us, be hindering us so much? What does fear affect most? And how do we avoid falling into fear’s trap?

First, let’s look at what fear is. It is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Now let’s look at what entrepreneurs are most afraid of.

Failure

Most entrepreneurs fear failure, which can be a good thing because it always pushes you. Fear of failure doesn’t allow you to become stagnant. But when you allow fear of failure to stop you from reaching for your goals, you also stop yourself from any chance of success as well. Most people let the fear of failure stop them from trying; this can also lead to an even worse fear. Fear of success, this presents itself in a much more dangerous way because what ends up happening is you aim for greatness but self-sabotage when you get close to success.

The Past

Fear of your past can also push you to aim higher and higher, but sometimes when you are afraid of your past, you can get stuck in the mindset that you used to live in. There are many entrepreneurs that have had a poor mindset, and when I say a poor mindset I don’t mean a bad one, I mean a monetarily poor mindset. This can affect how you make and spend money in the future.

Criticism

Fearing criticism is never a good thing. It’s one thing to ignore negativity, but when you fear criticism you don’t allow yourself to learn anything. Criticism can be used as fuel, so instead of fearing it, you should use it to push you forward. The opinions of others are important because other people can be potential clients. Take criticism at face value, but also remember to seek counsel. Just because someone doesn’t like what you’re doing doesn’t mean you have to change it.

Combating Fears

The first thing you should do is accept that fear is a part of life and know that it doesn’t control you. Fear is something that your body uses to warn you, and like most entrepreneurs know, there is no great reward without great risk. So fear should be a natural response if you have a chance to get a large payoff from it.

With fearing failure,  the thing you have to know is why you are afraid of failure. Are you afraid of disappointing people? Are you afraid of how people will look at you? Are you afraid of losing money, wasting time, or losing freedom? The thing is no one is actually just afraid of failure; the fear goes much deeper than that.

Fearing your past is a mindset. Although it may be difficult, actively changing the way you think can eliminate that fear. Daily affirmations, goal setting, and personal development can help you to stop thinking about your past and start focusing on your future. Personal development is different for a lot of people, but making sure to read books on mindset, listen to podcasts, and read articles on changing your mindset can help almost anyone.

Fearing criticism is really only a fear of what people think of you.

When you allow what others think of you to affect the bottom line of your business, you are losing out for nothing. Ask yourself; do they pay your bills? If they are a customer, then yeah, by all means, listen to what they have to say, if no, then their opinion should have no effect on you at all. If they haven’t been where you are or don’t pay your bills, then there is no reason to listen to them or their criticism. Remember, fear is in the mind, and you can easily overcome it as long as you are aware of it.

You can change it.

Fear is something that we all deal with, but letting it take you over, allowing it to run your life, is where we get into trouble. Although fear is a natural feeling and is something that is engineered to protect us, it can also hold us back from obtaining our true goals. So are you ready to stop living in fear? Are you ready to take control of your life and become the person you have always known you are on the inside? Then I challenge you to get started by noticing your fears, accepting them, and throwing them to the side!Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Stephen Dela Cruz

Stephen Dela Cruz is an author, speaker and serial entrepreneur who specializes in helping budding entrepreneurs double their income in their first year. He’s built several 7 figure businesses and in his national best selling book, Entrepreneursh*t he shares strategies around time and money management to help beginning entrepreneurs soar.