Fear Is Small Business Enemy: WTF is Biggest Ally

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A small business entrepreneurs biggest enemy is FEAR and its biggest ally is WTF – Working Through Fear.


  • Fear of success.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of rejection.
  • Fear of the unknown.
  • Fear of making a mistake.

Karl Albrecht, Ph.D., is the author of more than 20 books, including Practical Intelligence: the Art & Science of Common Sense. In an article posted on Psychology Today,  he says:

“There are only five basic fears, out of which almost all of our other so-called fears are manufactured (which are not listed above), and that the more clearly and calmly we can articulate the origins of the fear, the less our fears frighten us and control us.”

How we can free ourselves from the roadblocks that our fears can create?

Fear Is Mostly An Illusion

Most of the things we think we are afraid of are NGIR – not grounded in reality. We mostly make mountains out of molehills, usually working ourselves up into crazy frenzies that zaps our energy and self confidence.

Have you been asked to speak, or is there a project you want to pitch for, or meet someone who you think wouldn’t want to meet you?

Perspective and Action

Say yes to speaking, pitch for the project and ask someone you know to make that introduction. It’s your perspective of the outcome that creates the fear instead of taking the action, which can help you work through it.


If we are to create the habit of being fearless, we must practice working through our fears. This is where networks, support systems and family can make a big difference.

Reach out to trusted people, or professionals and get some encouragement and help, if you can’t do it yourself. Don’t go it alone.

Building More Confidence

The best way to work through fear is to network both in person and online. Blend the two, so that you are working on your interpersonal and communication skills and watch your confidence soar.

Join the chamber and get on a committee, or become an ambassador. Volunteer in the community and help others. Find a mentor and help them with a project they are working on.

Go Inside For The Answers

One of the main themes of my book is “everything you need is already inside of you.”  All the answers are there about what you do and don’t know.  Value and trust who you are and what you have done more. Whatever you need to learn or add, learn it, add it.

It is not possible to underestimate how inspiring Eleanor Roosevelt’s You Learn by Living: 11 Keys for a More Fulfilling Life, still are after more than 50 years since it was first published. In her second key:

“Needing to face the great enemy, fear:  You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

If we keep working through our fears and put them into their sober perspective, we will be freed to succeed. The rule about fear is simply to do the thing you fear the most 10 times and you will not fear it anymore.

Try it. What do you have to lose?

WTF – Work Through Fear.

WTF Photo via Shutterstock

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Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

24 Reactions
  1. I feel like there is rational fear (like being afraid or a growling dog with its teeth bared) and irrational fear. I like how you mention that most fears are irrational, aka not grounded in reality. Those are the fears that have to be managed and overcome.

  2. This article brings to mind the quote, “Do something everyday that scares you.”

    It’s after repeatedly working through our fear that confidence really grows. If taking the big leap is too overwhelming, work on small steps and actions. The key is to push through the fear.

    Great article Deborah!

  3. Deborah: I have another acronym for you: FTW! 🙂 For The Win. I am not afraid of feeling a fear now and then. The biggest fear I have is that we allow to have an overriding threat against our way of doing business in the future. Everything from red tape and new regulations, to hostile attacks by terrorists.

    That is why we have to fight FTW of a second renaissance.

  4. Fear is so humbling, and has always been my greatest motivator.

  5. Deborah,

    Fear is the #1 thing that gets in the way of your success. For a long time I ran my business with fear oozing out of my pores and as a result I had a very difficult time making in leeway within my business. However, just recently something within me finally clicked and I’m no longer running my business through fear. It’s truly amazing the doors and opportunities that’s been opened up to me.

    Don’t ever let fear stand in your way, it blocks the blessings you’re entitled to.

    Thanks for sharing this great article with the community. I appreciate it!


    • Ti, thanks for sharing this! I am so proud of you and know great things are coming. Fear does ooze and it is amazing how opportinity opens up when you removwe those roadblocks!

  6. Deborah, Very well written and thoughtful article. It actually reminds me a bit of many of the descriptions and definitions of courage, often when applied to combat or other high chaos environments (what’s a more high chaos environment than small business?) . . . usually along the lines of “courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to act in the face of fear”

    This a very timely read for me as i just had a bit of revelation about business/life when watching one of my dogs during our nightly work. (we don’t pick our moments of inspiration, I wish I could tell you it was while surfing a 20 foot wave, but it wasn’t). I describe it briefly here: http://wp.me/p2QdLY-ej

    Thanks again, Deborah. This is one of those posts that will “stick” with me for while.



    • Hi Matt, it was such a pleasure to read your comment. I assume you are military and work with a canine for search and rescue? Amazing. Love courage is the absence of fear. Courage is fear that’s said it’s prayers is another fav of mine. No one is exempt from fear..It will stick with me too!

  7. Matt: Great to hear that! 🙂 is Hawaii the place for the start of the rebirth of the ideas of the Founding Fathers?

    Best Premises,


    • Aloha, Martin. I wish. It’s very “social” and “blue” . . . as I found out when I ran for US Congress this here. I’m not giving up, so when the forces are weakened here I’ll give the signal.. . might take me some time but I am committed to fight FTW on this one. 🙂


  8. I am interested in learning more about the situation in “spam” country! 😉 We could turn the “blue” spot into gold by spreading better ideas via social media! 🙂 Talk to you soon again. Hawaii is on my vacation list.

  9. Geez Martin, we got some thread going!! Umm, spam good ideas, I like that!

  10. Deborah: We are fearless about this thread! 😉 I have heard that the spam meat product is popular in Hawaii. I am wondering how you could make a deli.cio.us dish with this stuff! 😉

  11. Deborah: Thanks for your kind words! More power to you! 🙂 Keep up your great work!

  12. Aloha, Deborah. I was in the military, but the dogs that I am referring to wouldn’t pass orientation day in the K-9 unit. We have three maltese dogs (which were admittedly my wife’s idea, but they have since stolen my heart). I am retired military and now run an M&A company in Honolulu, and love it. However, my real passion . . . when I feel in the “flow” is speaking to groups about the challenges of leadership and entreneurship, and I have devoted a lot of time this year to increasing the number of speaking gigs under my belt.

    Martin, I will buy you your first Mai Tai when you make it out to the Aloha state.

    Thanks again, Deborah. Your work is inspirational. Keep it up.

    • Matt, congrats on using, applying all your knowledge and skills to do what you love and help people. Living in that sweet spot is so cool! I have a schnauzer myself who talks and has his own language!
      Speaking gigs take time! Each one leads to another. Thanks for your kind words and keep up your great work!

  13. Great article.The best and the it is true that ” Everything we need is inside of us.” After using and practicing through self improvement tools like Silva Meditation, Psycho cybernetics, Emotional Freedom Techniques, my belief is all the more enhanced.