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How Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg Conquer Fear to Succeed

By Kevin Daum | Small Business

Fear is the greatest obstacle for any entrepreneur. Here's how the greats overcame it.

This country has a great admiration for entrepreneurs. Many people hold up leaders like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Mark Zuckerberg as heroes, maybe even gods. Some believe them to be invincible superheroes. But every entrepreneur is human. And each has to battle fears every day in order to reach success. And for each fear they conquer, the better the entrepreneurs they become.

1. Fear of Failure Failure is the most obvious fear for an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs never lose this fear but rather harness its energy to drive harder, faster, and better. And the best know that a bad failure means a great lesson.

2. Fear of Inadequacy Many wonder if they are good enough and smart enough to accomplish greatness. Successful entrepreneurs become great learners so they can fill gaps in their education. They also become masters of recruitment to fill gaps in their capabilities.

3. Fear of the Market Catching the market just right can be like surfing a giant wave all the way to the beach. But as so with the ocean, if you miscalculate the wave's trajectory, it will slam you into the sand headfirst and crush you. Successful entrepreneurs show a healthy respect for market forces and study the dynamics so they can capitalize.

4. Fear of Fraud There are few who gain success without some sort of exaggeration of capability or connections. Successful entrepreneurs are careful not to stretch the truth far beyond reality. Even an inkling of legitimacy allows them to maintain credibility.

5. Fear of Selling Although the practice of sales is a necessary requirement for success, most people detest trying to push something on someone else. Successful entrepreneurs want their product or service to be the obvious choice. And they effectively use marketing to attract customers so fewer sales pitches are required.

6. Fear of Public Speaking Not every entrepreneur is a natural evangelist. Some have great ideas yet struggle to articulate them in front of a group of people. Successful entrepreneurs share their vision clearly, powerfully, and succinctly. They know that they must be confident on the podium to inspire others to follow the vision.

7. Fear of Leadership Being a leader is a choice that weighs much more heavily than just being a boss or starting a company. All successful entrepreneurs know that leadership is their No. 1 priority. They study, listen, and sacrifice to make sure the people who follow are continuously inspired, motivated, and rewarded for their efforts.

8. Fear of Competition The bigger you get, the more likely that someone will come gunning for you. So many people ignore or dismiss potential competitors only to be later surprised and sometimes killed in the battle. Successful entrepreneurs respect and study their competition. They create long-term strategies to differentiate in ways competitors can't follow easily.

9. Fear of Time Entrepreneurs like to be in control, and time is one of the few elements they can't affect one way or another. Successful entrepreneurs understand time is a constant, and learn how to harness its power through productivity and efficiency.

10. Fear of Embarrassment Entrepreneurs are proud people and they hate to be shamed in public. Successful entrepreneurs know that showing a healthy amount of humility is the surest way to maintain the respect they crave.

11. Fear of People Many entrepreneurs would do it all themselves if they could. But they can't. Successful entrepreneurs understand that scalability requires the attraction, development, and retention of great people. They make sure there are systems and culture in place that make the people the priority in the organization.

12. Fear of Futility No one works this hard or long just to be forgotten. Successful entrepreneurs know they need to make an impact in order to be considered a significant benefactor to society. They take society into consideration in all their work and design for their vision of the greater good.

13. Fear of Self Everyone knows his or her own demons best. Successful entrepreneurs commit time and effort to know and improve themselves. For they loathe to be the one who stands in the way of their own greatness.

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