How do you deal with the fear you might actually succeed?


It dawns on you: if we get any more than a few customers we might not survive!

You are already working crazy hours and don't have the staff (nor the ability to quickly pull in new staff) to handle an influx of customers; to install, support, and maintain. I'm talking about a larger niche product here, not punching out widgets from a machine where scalability was designed in from the start. Maybe you didn't design the product properly and it's a little too flakey for your liking.

What do you do? How do you stop your mind racing through all the different scenarios, success and failure? Meditate? Convince yourself to worry about that problem if and when it appears? How?

Seriously! There is a type of personality out there, me included, who think way too much and have trouble loosening up and enjoying the ride.

Success Stress

asked Oct 31 '11 at 21:06
Paul Filmer
790 points

3 Answers


Paul.. You build solid systems and invest in great staff to run them.

Without systems your business will die a sweet and fast death if you grow. With the right systems and wrong people - you're also in for a bad time. However systems come "before" people, because with great systems, it's easy to find good people.

Systems need to be in place for everything, and, if you're the business owner, you can't be part of any one system ... You have to be the systems "architect".

Your Job should be to work "On" the business not "In" it.

I would highly recommend reading "e-myth" by Michael Gerber... The best book about getting yourself "out" of your business and working "on" it.

I have systems for everything so now and I don't even have a phone any more. I live in a country 9 hours away from my group Head Office... and when I work, all I do is tweak systems, look at numbers and coach people.

answered Nov 1 '11 at 00:26
1,072 points


You asked how do you stop your mind from racing through all the difference scenarios, success, and failure?

Speaking only for myself, what you just said sounds like PaSSioN! Passion drives creativity, new iterations, and agility to adapt as needed to what impacts your customers in the most positive way.

Rather than kicking yourself for pondering the outcomes, be thankful you are so dedicated to the process that you do think about it. I have not met a start-up entrepreneur who is not a little (if not a lot) obsessed with these questions.

The key for me is learning how to achieve a balance in my life to counter weight my racing mind - exercise, fun, relationship, mediation, being outside. I have yet to figure out a way to slow my racing mind, rather - I am learning to live with it.

My guess is this will never change no matter how much success we experience. Steve Jobs is a great example of that.

Frankly, we have yet to experience post revenue success. We just moved out of beta in the spring --- so I'll be thrilled when I have to worry about what to do with the profits!


answered Nov 2 '11 at 05:28
Richard H.
175 points


Worriying about being successful is like worrying about rain on august, it might seem from the outside that you can just do something and be successful in a split second, but the fact of the matter is - that's the story holywood tells you, more often than not, it's a gradual process which takes time.

Meaning that once you'll get there, you already would've learnt all the tools needed to manage it, or else - you wouldn't have gotten that far.

But when talking about entrepreneurship, you don't even need to care about success or failure, as it comes and goes, what you should worry about - is getting your product out there, if it's successful, hopefully you could work for many years to come (or retire), if not - big deal, some things are successful, some things aren't.

answered Oct 31 '11 at 21:47
Itai Sagi
337 points

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Success Stress