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Start Something That Matters

Overcome your fears and start your own business

By Blake Mycoskie
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Start Something That Matters gives concrete, colorful and often humorous advice on overcoming your fears and starting a company – even if you don’t have business experience or many resources at your disposal.

Key idea 1 of 9

Fear is totally natural – but it can have a damaging effect on our lives when it goes unchecked.

Even though we don’t always like to admit it, all of us get scared sometimes. Fear can seem shameful or embarrassing, but the truth is, it’s perfectly natural.

That’s because fear typically arises when we encounter a situation we don’t know how to deal with or simply haven’t experienced before.

Going to a job interview, talking to strangers in a foreign language or starting a business are all typical anxiety-producing situations, because we don’t encounter them frequently and we can’t easily predict their outcome.

This fear of failure is so uncomfortable that sometimes it causes us to miss out on things we actually want to be involved in.

For example, someone who fears airplane travel will look for alternatives or might try to avoid long-distance travel altogether.

Unfortunately, in our society, we don’t like to talk openly about our fears. It can make us feel embarrassed or ashamed to be scared of something, especially if we think others will view our fears as trivial. But when we don’t talk about what we’re scared of, we often can’t overcome it. And these persistent fears can severely damage our lives.

To understand how this works, imagine a person who’s afraid of job interviews. If she doesn’t actively confront and combat her fear, she won’t be able to look for new, better jobs.

Or think of the man who’s frightened of air travel. His fear might cause him to miss out on family holidays, interesting conferences, promising job opportunities and inspiring overseas travel.

Holding on to your fear simply isn’t worth everything you might lose as a result. Or, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously put it, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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