Cast Aside Your Fears to Succeed in Harlem

March 5, 2016

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By William S. Wooditch

The idea of launching a business and becoming your own boss has always been an integral part of the American Dream.

But many people itching to give entrepreneurship a try balk when it comes time to make the move, and in 2015, a Gallup survey revealed why. The three top reasons potential entrepreneurs gave for taking a pass on business ownership were:

  • They like the security of a steady income provided by someone else.
  • They don’t feel they have enough personal savings to start a business.
  • They worry that the success rates of a new startup are low.

It could be, though, that the real underlying reason hindering those entrepreneurial urges is a common human emotion that often gets in the way of people achieving their goals – fear, says William S. Wooditch, a motivational speaker and author of Always Forward! Discover the 7 Secrets of Sales Success.

“No matter how intrepid we may be, we all have fears, shadows of doubt or even deep seeds of insecurity,” Wooditch says. “We either exist within the limits of our fears or live up to the promise of our potential.”

In business and life in general, people voice a number of excuses for their hesitancy to take risks, he says. They say: “I can’t do this.” “I don’t know enough.” “It’s too hard.” “I’m too old.” “I’m not experienced enough.” “It’s too late.”

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Those attitudes end up becoming self-fulfilling prophecies, because if you convince yourself that you can’t achieve something, you create a situation where belief becomes reality, Wooditch says.

He says anyone who dreams of starting a business – but is paralyzed by the fears of potential failure – should consider these points:

  • You are the guardian of your own success. People don’t become successful by wishing and hoping, Wooditch says. They do it by deciding that if anything is going to change, it’s all up to them. “Winners don’t allow events outside of their control to define their self-worth,” he says. “They know they may fail, but failure doesn’t dominate their thoughts; learning how to win does. When they fail, they don’t call it failure—they call it a learning experience.”
  • Stop feeding your fears. Learn what you can and can’t influence and control. Limit the imagination’s default to worst-case scenario and take the necessary steps to achieve the best outcome. Wooditch says the experienced reality of our fears is rarely as bad as what we imagined. “Facing fear will be uncomfortable,” he says. “It may hurt; you may feel like stopping. You might even pause for a while. But you must never quit.”
  • Think and do. Many people think, but they choose not to do. They ruminate and they contemplate and they never take it beyond that, Wooditch says. Others have the opposite problem. They act without giving much thought to what they are doing. “This is blindly ambitious at best, misguided and reckless at worst,” he says. The “think and do” approach is a learned habit, Wooditch says. “It will take your instinctive feel, your rational thought and your willpower to put the steps into action that create opportunities for your future,” he says.

If it’s your dream to start a business, Wooditch says, no one is holding you back but you.

“We have the choice to become the screenwriters, directors and protagonists in the movies of our lives,” he says. “We also have the choice to relinquish the screenwriting duties and directing duties and become an extra in that movie.

“Just remember. The only person in the story of your life who can develop the plot and change the outcome is you.”

William S. Wooditch, author of Always Forward! Discover the 7 Secrets of Sales Success (, is the founder, CEO and president of The Wooditch Group, a privately held risk management and insurance services firm. He is also the founder of Think Next, Act Now!, a learning forum that trains tomorrow’s entrepreneurs today. Think Next, Act Now!, provides the strategy and techniques to inspire and motivate personal and corporate growth. Wooditch earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Purdue University and his master’s in public administration at Penn State.

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