The best way to Have Braveness to Be an Entrepreneur at Any Age
When it comes to being an entrepreneur, the last thing you should care about is how old you are.
A 23-year-old can become a founder on the same day that a 45-year-old can start their first company. You have likely seen stories of young children embarking on entrepreneurial ventures and well-known retirees starting new businesses.
The truth is, what matters more than the number of years behind you is your courage. What makes a successful entrepreneur is the power to try something outside of your comfort zone, to be seen as a failure, and to believe in your abilities.
You might be thinking I don’t have the experience to start a business, or I have too many tasks and not enough energy to completely change my life this late in the game. These are just excuses, excuses that are rooted in fear.
How do you fight fear? You get brave. This is how I gave courage in my own entrepreneurial life.
1. Do things that scare you.
Building courage, like everything else, is a matter of practice. The more repetitions you get into a perceived fear that you expose yourself to, the faster your courage muscle grows.
If starting your dream business today seems like too much to you, start small actions that push your limits. At your next team meeting, speak up and come up with an innovative idea, reach out to someone you admire and connect, or do something outside of work like skydiving.
Get off a plane and see how much energy you get and how well you handle adrenaline and anxiety. Chances are, not only are you going to walk away excited, but proud of yourself and ready to tackle more of your life.
2. Share your goals.
The sneaky truth about fear of failure is that it doesn’t matter if no one knows you’ve failed. They can hide mistakes, but there is not much courage to do so. I haven’t told anyone that I will build a business until I have significant monthly income. The reason for this was that I was afraid I would fail and people knew it. I was concerned about what people would think.
But that didn’t stop me. I was too excited about the opportunities to do something new, learn something I was interested in, and yes, make money on the side. But by keeping it under lock and key, I was playing in my safety zone.
Sharing what you are doing creates a sense of responsibility and requires you to be courageous regardless of what others think. And if you fail in the beginning, it builds the courage in you to move on and realize that you can take hurdles and move on anyway. You will build a callus of courage. Sure, your skin may crack in the beginning, but over time your skills get tough and what was once painful will no longer be.
3. Embrace the infinite pursuit.
Once you get past the first level of fear as an entrepreneur, there is a moment when you feel brave, but this is quickly becoming the new norm. What was once no longer frightening is and a new setpoint for comfort is set. You can’t stop there or you’ll stay in the same status quo sensation, just a little better off.
In my case, I reached a point where I felt confident that I would share my entrepreneurial business with others. But once I overcame that hurdle and entered entrepreneurship full-time, I was hit by a number of bigger and more terrible hurdles, problems and uncertainties. This was part of the trip. There will come a time when you will have to decide whether to stay on the road of this trip or to get off at the next exit. I decided to fully embrace the endless pursuit and look for more courage along the way.
This is the way of the entrepreneurial journey. It requires that you claim your power and find deeper courage in every moment. A choice that can be made at any age.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.