03/29/2011 12:18 pm ET Updated May 29, 2011

Success or Failure: Which Fear Is Really Holding You Back?

You are months, or even weeks away from launching your product or services online and you are ready to abolish the entire idea. Yikes!

You might be surprised at how many other internet marketers, authors and solo-preneurs share your same doubts and fears. Many of my clients and I have experienced these negative issues associated with putting ourselves out there in the marketplace and wondering what will happen if.... if we fail, and if we succeed.

Do these thoughts sound familiar?

  • It's not going to work
  • I've spent all of this time and money building it and what if no one wants it?
  • Why would anyone want to buy anything from me?
  • My content is on X and I am not a perfect example of X
  • Once I launch and it's successful, the microscope will be on me to walk the talk and I may not be able to keep up with demand.

One of my clients candidly confessed, "I don't know if I am afraid of failure or afraid of success." This is natural. There is a fear to fail because you've put so much into it, including your name, your brand and your reputation. The other side of the coin is what if it is a big success? Is it going to take her away from her family more than she'd like? If she's feeling overwhelmed now, even before it launches, what will her life look like if it does take off?

This coaching call reminded me of similar experiences I've had with feeling overwhelmed. In my earlier days of releasing some of my first books I felt like pulling the plug on the entire concept because I questioned who cares what I have to say. It brought back memories of my own fears. I wasn't as concerned about failing as I was about succeeding and what that meant because then I'd have to step up, follow through and consistently deliver. That was a lot of pressure and I didn't know if I wanted to set myself up for it.

Is the fear of success better or easier to overcome than the fear of failure? Not really. Fear of any kind can be an immobilizer and you have to be able to stare it in the face and go for it anywhere.

Here are the recommendations I made to my client and the strategy that can work for you:

  1. Understand your fears are natural so don't be upset with yourself because these thoughts come up - it's okay to feel it. Some of the most successful people in the world had that experience.
  2. Come from your heart, remember why you are doing it and reconnect to the passion that started the whole process in the first place.
  3. Continue to give the best of who you are
  4. Don't worry that you are not perfect at what you are teaching others -you are human and that will resonate with your customers. Think about when a high-profile golfer has a tough match and when he is interviewed, he admits to not playing his best. We don't fault him for that, we know how difficult it is to be on top of your game at all times.
  5. Don't be afraid of sharing your own challenges - people will connect and respect your vulnerability. Let them see the real you.
  6. Make a conscious choice to put the fun back in to the process. There is tremendous value in asking yourself great questions such as:
  • What do I like or enjoy about this?
  • How will I make this more enjoyable?
  • What am I grateful for in this experience?
  • What am I most grateful for in my life right now? (This is a Biggie!)
  • Put a reminder in front of you to stay connected to what you are enjoying most about this experience
  • What am I learning?
  • How am I growing?

There will always be the one moment in time when you want to throw up your hands and give up. Remember it is just a moment, a day or a week and it is a temporary feeling. Take a break and do something else for a while until the feeling passes.

I remember when I sent my first manuscript to my editor and when she said it was a great book my response was, "Really???" She laughed and said, "Oh you authors are so insecure." We are all very similar when it comes to taking a risk and putting ourselves out there. Two decades ago Susan Jeffers published her book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. It is still true to this day!