Business Success Is Only A Deathbed Away

March 5, 2008

Live, so you do not have to look back and say: ‘God, how I have wasted my life.’ Elizabeth Kubler Ross


Fear is one of the biggest barriers to business success. And the majority of our fears are completely irrational. But, how often do the things you fear most actually happen? More often than not - it’s the things we’re not expecting at all that trip us up.

Many people dream of starting a business, but the majority don’t even begin - usually because fear is holding them back. And for those who do take the leap, fear will raise it’s ugly head again and again - preventing them from growing their business to it’s full potential.

The trouble is, fear could be holding you back and you may not even realise it. So how do you kick fear into touch, before it spoils your chances of business success?

Identify Your Fears: Fear is not always blatantly obvious. Often, it manifests itself as an alibi, or lack of confidence. Low self confidence is fear in itself. It usually prevents us from achieving our dreams because we fear the consquences of what will happen if we’re not successful.

To identify your fears, you need to be sure about what your goals are to begin with. Then ask yourself what it is that’s preventing you from achieving them.

Consider the following statements and fill in the blanks:

“I would love to ………….. (eg. start a business, become a freelancer, travel the world) but I don’t have the ………………….(skills, patience, money, time or is it something else?).

Now, take the same goal and ask yourself the following question. Remember to consider the answer seriously - you want to identify your fear, so you can stop it from holding you back.

“If I was able to do it, what is the worst thing that could go wrong …………………. (failure, loss of money, looking stupid or is it something else).

Put Yourself On Your Deathbed:
Once you’ve identified your fear - fast forward to your deathbed. Imagine you’re close to the end of your life and you’re looking back at all the goals you didn’t achieve. Do you still care about looking stupid, failing, or losing money? Or are you full of regret because your fears prevented you from achieving those goals?

The good news is, you’re not on your deathbed. You’ve just given yourself a glimpse of how life could be when you are, if you don’t tackle your fears.

What do you fear most? Do you often make excuses for not achieving your goals, because you fear the consequences?

This Article Was Inspired By

A Tested Guide To Transcending Your Fears and Finally Live Your Life’s Purpose by Albert at
Life Lessons by Elisabeth Kubler Ross

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17 Responses to “Business Success Is Only A Deathbed Away”

  1. Barbara on March 5th, 2008 8:17 am

    Hi Catherine,

    The statement “what is the worst thing that could go wrong”, is so helpful when making what could be a life changing decision in life or with a business. If you can honestly list all of the pros and cons, and are able to live with the consequences, there’s no reason not to more forward.

    Fear is often a matter of not wanting to step out of our comfort zone.

    When you’re in the midst of adrenalin, fueled by fear and excitement, you often find yourself achieving much more than you ever dreamed was possible.

    What a shame to be on your deathbed, saying “woulda, shoulda, and coulda”.

    Barbara’s last blog post..No One Said It Would Be Easy

  2. Ian Denny on March 5th, 2008 8:53 am

    You’ve made the points, but it’s worth drawing together two of those elements:

    Your worst fear + How often does your worst fear happen?

    They rarely if ever do - and in business, it’s the things you don’t expect or fear that present the biggest challenges.

    At least you know what your worst fear is, and because of that you can avoid it.

    Now I’m going to contradict this, but only momentarily. My worst fear did happen. We failed and the company went bust.

    But your worst fear needn’t be the end. In fact for us it was a blessing.

    I heard yesterday that studies into coronary heart disease had discovered that the heart actually adapts and becomes stronger after a heart attack.

    It’s a bit like that with your worst fear. Since we went bust ad re-started, the rewards have been amazing. We no longer stress about business - we used to as we were building it first time around. This time it has been relatively easy with the lessons we have under our belt.

    Many people who start out in business - especially those that tune into Cath’s advice - can avoid these mistakes and have a really exciting experience.

    Your own business can be fun as wel as challenging. You control your own destiny, and if you do well, you will eventually earn far more than you would if you had stayed as an employee.

    And not every business has to be one that employs people and has as many risks., A freelance career can give you the best of both worlds - no or low overheads, freedom to pick and choose your work once you have a client base, and far higher earnings.

    While there are obviously risks, I agree with Cath - don’t regret it through inaction on your deathbed!

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Blog Authors - How To Get More Comments Per Visitor

  3. cathlawson on March 5th, 2008 2:15 pm
    Hi Barbara - It would be awful to die without having at least tried to achieve your dreams wouldn’t it. I completely agree, the comfort zone is so dangerous. Sometimes, taking mini-steps to move out of it each day helps.

    Hi Ian - You are living proof that your worst fear doesn’t mean the end of the world.

    And that is so true what you say about business. People shouldn’t feel pressured to run their business in a certain way - eg. employ a whole heap of people. They should do what is enjoyable for them.

  4. Hunter Nuttall on March 5th, 2008 3:03 pm

    Fear can be a powerful motivator too, if you’re afraid of what your life will be like if you DON’T (start a business, become a freelancer, travel the world, etc). Avoiding setbacks at all costs is no way to live.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Lessons From The 2008 Congress Of Jugglers

  5. cathlawson on March 5th, 2008 3:11 pm
    Exactly Hunter - you can switch the fear around to benefit you. For example - I would hate to have to work for someone else, so I can use the fear of that to motivate me to a certain point.

    However, I find it a lot easier to move towards a positive goal than to move away from a negative one. I think it can only work short term - because the further you move away from the thing you fear, the less of a threat it becomes.

  6. Mrs. Micah on March 5th, 2008 5:09 pm

    I was reading a book today called The Practical Dreamer’s Handbook which talked about this. They said that fear wasn’t always bad, but you had to know what you were afraid of. Fear of not succeeding at your business might drive you to seek out relationships with others in your line, to look for better ways to market yourself, etc. But not acknowledging that fear would just leave you with the negative parts.

    They also talked about the deathbed. The wife wrote about how her father worked for the FBI until a few years before he died. Then he retired and became a magician for a few magical years. When he was dying, he wished that he could do even one more magic trick. He didn’t have enough time…

  7. RacerX on March 5th, 2008 6:21 pm

    It is funny that often it isn’t the worst fear that kills a business, but the Best Case. Expanding too fast. Ian’s blog has wonderful insight into this issue.

    Often it is…Be Careful what you wish for!

    RacerX’s last blog post..I Can’t Afford to be Trusting

  8. cathlawson on March 5th, 2008 7:46 pm
    Mrs M - that is interesting. Acknowledging your fear is important. Often people don’t even recognise the fear, or fail to accept it.

    At least the guy who retired discovered his passion before he died.

    Hi Racer - that is true. Often it is something you don’t expect. Luckily, in Ian’s case, he has managed to turn things round again.

  9. Giun Sun on March 5th, 2008 9:50 pm

    You bring up a good point Catherine, especially the “death bed” scenario. It’s better to face your fears and perhaps failing or such, rather than be on your death bed and regret not even trying. You never know what your capable of until you go out and do so.

    Giun Sun’s last blog post..The Allure of Mystery: How to Take Advantage of the “Pulling Effect” From People’s Natural Instincts

  10. cathlawson on March 5th, 2008 10:03 pm
    Hi Giun - definitely. The facing of fears sounds much easier than regret doesn’t it. It would be awful if your life was a waste.
  11. RacerX on March 6th, 2008 2:49 am

    Hey…new look! Awesome! Love the metal RSS!

    RacerX’s last blog post..A Great New Personal Finance Wiki

  12. cathlawson on March 6th, 2008 10:59 am

    Isn’t it brilliant? I haven’t seen one like it.

    cathlawson’s last blog post..Business Success Is Only A Deathbed Away

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  14. Christine OKelly on March 16th, 2008 2:20 am

    Oh Cath - this is brilliant! I am absolutely going to “fast forward to my deathbed” whenever I have those lame, self defeating thoughts. If I kicked the bucket right now, I’d be pretty irritated with myself for what I’ve let fear stop me from doing for many years. We never know when the end is coming so we may as well get a move on NOW.

    In fact… I should be working on one of my goals right now rather than Stumbling - but I’m glad I was or I might not have found this great post!

    Christine OKelly’s last blog post..How I Sold Millions of Dollars of Intangible Products in a Highly Competitive Market

  15. cathlawson on March 16th, 2008 5:44 am
    Hi Christine - I’m glad you liked it. It’s tempting to Stumble when we can’t get motivated isn’t it? But it’s great that we can find things to help us when we’re doing it.
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