A Letter to Every Founder and Business Leader, From Your Fear

Dear Founder,

I am your fear and this is what I want to tell you.

Me and you? We go way back. I’m here (quite a lot actually) because you are showing up. You are choosing courage over comfort. You are brave enough to follow your gut and get in the ring AND fight for something.

And yet, right now, you’re scared of something. And it’s probably one of these reasons…

You’re scared because you’ve just raised a serious chunk of dough and it’s just sunk in that you need to do something with all this money to grow your company. Now that’s scary shit. For, like, a day (maybe not even a day, tbf) you were like, WEYHEYYY! We’re balling. We’ve made it. This is it. I knew we’d smash it. We’re going to kill it. Watch this space. We’re going to hire more, scale more, make more money.

We’re going to get bigger, beat our competitors and make our investors proud. And our families. Whoa…slow down a sec, let’s not forget our families. And friends. Remember them? Ah yes, your loving friends who forgive you every time you turn up late to a social get-together, OR don’t turn up at all because…YOU’RE TOO BUSY WORKING. Yeah. That. The story of your life.

Some life… (Not sorry, had to say it.)

You’re scared because you haven’t launched your business yet and it’s taking fucking ages. You’re fretting. I can feel it. Are people going to want this now? Are people going to need this now? Have I missed my chance? What’s wrong with meeee??? Dude, chill. It’s gonna be ok.

Moving on…

You’re scared because you feel out of your depth with everything you’ve got on your plate right now. And trust me, it’s A LOT. It’s wayyyyy too much. And your team can’t handle all that. They don’t have all the skills you need. And you can’t put all that pressure on them, it’s not fair. AND you can’t do everything yourself. You’ll burn out AND that’s no good for anyone, is it? You’re already wearing so many hats and you’re scared you’re gonna drop balls. You’ve already dropped a couple and there’s no way you can do that again. You have that feeling of shame. It sucks. You want people to see you and know that you’ve got this. Because you do. I know that and, deep down, you know it too. Trust me.

Anyway…

You’re scared because you don’t know if you have what it takes to make this successful.

You’re scared because you don’t know why you’re doing this anymore

You’re scared because you feel like you should’ve said no…

You’re scared because you don’t want to fuck up. Again.

You’re scared because you don’t want to let anyone down.

You’re scared because you need to walk away and start again…That’s a hard thing to do. BUT YOU CAN DO IT! I believe in you.

You’re scared because you want this SOOOO BAD and you don’t want all these years of blood, sweat, tears, heart and soul to go to waste.

You’re scared because you don’t think you’re ready… (I hear this alllll the time, btw. You are not alone.)

You’re scared because this is your first time… you’ve got a lot to prove and there’s people counting on you… the team, investors, family, friends, the lovely old lady in the coffee shop. It’s a heavy feeling isn’t it?

But this is just my way of reminding you that you are getting closer to the company you have been made to build. I am doing this to remind you that you are in the ring, fighting for something bigger than you.

Before I go, I just want you to know…

Keep going. Keep doing. Things will go to shit (it’s inevitable). You will fuck up (and you’ll have a bloody great story to share after). Some days you’ll feel tired and tender, and others you’ll feel overjoyed and overwhelmed. And trust me, I’ll be there when that happens. In fact, I’ll be there, with you, every single day. Because if we’re gonna do this, you need me and you know what? I need you too.

Just remember to feel everything. It’s important because your feelings are always, ALWAYS trying to tell you something. If something doesn’t feel right in your gut, it’s not right. You need to listen to why you’re feeling this way and interrogate that feeling. And don’t you worry, I’ll be there. I will show up. And when I do, you’ll feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Hell, some of you might even feel like you want to vomit (please don’t). You’ll want to ignore that feeling because it’s less scary. Facing me will add another spanner to the works and hiiiii! The clock is ticking! Investors are itching to know whether your vision is going to fly or die out there. Here I am again. Your fear! HI! I know you hate me, but trust me, YOU NEED ME.

My dear, dear founders and leaders. You are all so near. So, so, soooo near. That’s why you’re feeling scared. Because fear is a natural reaction when you’re moving closer to your truth. But trust me when I say this: you are all MORE THAN capable to start, build, run and grow and lead this business. You’re doing it. Now for god’s sake, go and enjoy it.

With love and unwavering belief in YOU.

Your good old friend, fear.

Founder and creator of 5 Stories, a methodology I use to help companies tell better brand stories. I write about storytelling, branding and entrepreneurship 🙃