Fear comes from uncertainty.
A known oncoming pain: “I’m going to run 5 miles and my legs are going to hurt,” is not scary.
“I may get hit by a car,” is scary. ”I’m going to go for this contract and I don’t know what is going to happen,” is scary. ”I don’t know if the software is going to work,” is scary.
As a startup, I spend time building a vision of the future. To motivate me, I build happy visions of success. The challenge then, is that I begin to believe these visions and expect that outcome. I get protective of that outcome and anything that might threaten that outcome – a big contract, new employees, risky technology – becomes frightening. That fear makes me want to play small.
What is certain is that I previously did not have a startup. What is probable is that my start up, like most, will not make it.
If I see the glass as broken, if I recognize that my startup is walking dead, it’s much easier to make the decisions and take the risks which are the key to the company’s success.
You can’t get hurt when you are already dead.
This is not to say you should be reckless, just clear eyed and decisive. This is easier to do when you’re not spending time protecting things that don’t exist.