Startup Founders, sometimes you have to just tell fear to go fuck itself

3 mins read

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

He said these words as a way of comforting a country devastated by a harsh depression. This was part of his inaugural speech for his first term.

The meaning of Roosevelt’s statement was to face your fears and not be paralyzed by them. This was a key element in helping people cope during one of the country’s most desperate times. He later used his regular fireside chat radio programs to comfort people.

For a startup founder, telling fear “Hey fear, go fuck yourself,” requires one to step outside their comfort zone.

Change is an ongoing, perpetual thing in any startup business (and really, life as well if you think about it). But change is difficult for many to accept. Running away from fear cripples people, and usually makes the situation worse. Not taking any action is actually a decision of itself. Remember this fact as a means to handle uncomfortable situations.

When a startup founder approaches the situations they fear, they usually find it is not as bad as first imagined. Furthermore, most will feel a sense of accomplishment when they take on those fears.

For example. most people have a fear of speaking in public.

Booking oneself into speaking engagements is the first step in facing that fear.

If you can get through this, you have the tools needed to get through most anything else that comes your way.

It takes courage to break through and face those fear. But, you will often find others who have either gone through what you are going through or are looking to do it.

Building community and forming co-founder support groups or masterminds can be a great way to help. The simple act of talking about a particular fear with colleagues or mentors can often lead to taking the necessary actions to overcome the challenges. If you stumble, your peers or mentors can help you get back into the saddle.

Life is full of challenges that need to be dealt with. A startup business is even more challenging. As a founder, sheltering one’s self from facing those challenges only kicks the can down the road.

It’s rare that deferring challenges in a startup will lead to a positive outcome. Confronting those challenges will make any startup founder a stronger person and prevent business situations from building to the point of being unmanageable.

When a founder steps up and takes charge of the situation, their co-founders, partners, employees, customers, and industry peers will recognize that leadership.



Michael Hiles

CEO 10XTS, INTJ, chaotic good, PDP/11 in '79 (THAT kid), info architect, Milton Friedman, data science, semantics, epistemology, coffee snob, OG hip hop

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