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By Stacy Swift

If you are considering investing in a business of your own I’m sure you’ve met your new friend, fear. Or is it your new foe? The answer is the one that no one ever likes to hear…it depends!

Having owned several businesses over the last 30 years, including an independent start-up and 8 franchise units with 3 different concepts, I’ve run into my buddy fear many times. I call it ‘my buddy’ because I have decided to put fear in a positive category in my businesses and in my life. Sure, fear can be a big, dark, scary, unpredictable, monster-like thing…if you let it. I choose to make fear my greatest motivator instead. That turns it into a positive force for me. The fear of having to interview for a j-o-b, the fear of losing the freedom and autonomy that I enjoy as an entrepreneur, the fear of having to answer to someone else every day about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, and, yes, the fear of failure are all reasons that motivate me to get out of bed each morning to go out and do what I need to do to make, and keep, my business successful. Let me be clear—fear doesn’t ever go away, at least not in my experience. But I do believe it’s controllable and isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a choice.

It may sound corny, but fear is what you make it. If your fear of failure is greater than your belief that you can be successful in whatever business you are pursuing, then you probably shouldn’t invest in that business. If you use that fear to now say that all businesses are too risky then it’s definitely not the path you should continue down. However, if you realize that perhaps just that business wasn’t right then I would say fear was your friend in that situation and you should keep looking until you, and your new buddy fear, can agree that the risk is most likely worth the reward.

You can choose to let fear be your greatest motivator or you can choose to let fear be your detractor. Fear can propel you into action or it can cripple you and push you back into your comfort zone. Don’t let it stop you from following your dreams. It’s your choice.