Gaining Control Over the Fear That is a Hindrance to Business Success

Here’s a look at two common types of fear experienced by many business owners and tactics for how to handle them so that they don’t limit your company’s potential

Gaining Control Over the Fear That is a Hindrance to Business Success

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill

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We watched the Mars rover landing back in February, and the significance of the accomplishment was palpable. We could feel the historical importance of the moment somewhere deep inside. Mostly, we were in awe of what humanity can achieve when everyone is working together toward a common goal.

And because we’re obsessed with business, that got us thinking about how the same thing is true in business. That same group momentum and focus can help us achieve amazing things in our companies. Things we couldn’t achieve on our own. The impossible made possible.

Why then — if group efforts and combined drive can help us accomplish things as great as the Mars rover landing — do we business owners so frequently attempt to run our companies and hit our goals all by our lonesome? And why do we try to man all of the controls, when doing so only limits how far and fast we can go?

The reason is fear. 

Fear can keep us from accomplishing so many things. It can keep us from even trying. And there seem to be two big fears that limit business growth, keep us from hitting our goals, and prevent us from truly inviting our teams along for the ride.

#1 Fear of Giving up Control

The first and most common fear is the fear of giving up control. Your business is your baby. You’re the one who had a vision for it. You’re the one who put in the long, hard hours at the start. You’re the one who got it off the ground, right? So how can you entrust its trajectory to anyone else? 

Hitting a little too close to home? We’ve been there ourselves. It’s in our nature. This is the fear that keeps exhausted business owners saying, “I’ll do it,” when they know they don’t have the time, energy, or mental capacity to take on one more task. It’s what keeps us juggling.  

We get where the fear comes from. You can’t expect anyone to love your baby as much as you do, and you can’t trust anyone to do the things that you do with as much care and attention as you do it with, right?  

But here’s the thing: If you embrace that fear and let it run things, you’ll never do the big things you’re capable of doing with your business. That fear will always keep you grounded. Because it limits you. 

You have one mind, two hands, and 24 hours in a day. That means if you’re the only one you can rely on, your business is only getting as far as that one mind, two hands, and 24 hours will take you. Forget about Mars, you’re not leaving the neighborhood.

What’s the solution? 

Hire people smarter than you. Hire people who are trustworthy and reliable — who have the qualities that make you good at what you do and the qualities that could make you better at what you do.

It doesn’t end with hiring right. You also have to clearly articulate your mission and define what success looks like for everyone on your team. Once you’ve done that, then it’s on to the hardest part: Forcing yourself to loosen your grip.

You have to trust that you’ve hired the right people and then you have to let them do the work. You have to let them take ownership. You want your team to take ownership of the work. To commit to the mission. To be thinking about your company, where it could go, and how to get it there.

You can’t think of everything. Each brain is different; we each see and approach challenges differently. These differences aren’t deficits. Rather, they are incredibly valuable. 

When we rely on each other and invite our differences to the table, what we end up with are multiple approaches to the same problem or mission. It’s like the old saying, “Two heads are better than one.” That’s neurodiversity at work.

When you hire people to only work and not think, or put rigid rules in place, you miss out on the benefits of neurodiversity. You lose out on the possibilities that are only present because of your team.

So don’t just give your team tasks. Illustrate your vision, clarify the mission you’re on, and invite them on the journey with you, as active participants.

Growing and running a successful home-services business is hard. But we think it’s safe to say that landing a rover on Mars is harder. Be like NASA. Rely on your team.

Now, let’s look at the second biggest fear we see.

#2 Fear of Losing Control

What if I scale too fast? What if I build something I never wanted? What if I lose control of this business that Im building?

Losing control is a valid fear, and we’re willing to bet every business owner on the planet has been kept up by one of the above questions at least once a week since they opened their doors. But again, this fear can be limiting and paralyzing, so you’ve got to find a way around it.

A good solution to fear of losing control is to make a plan. Let’s go back to the Mars rover once again.

NASA scientists knew that once they initiated the landing of the rover and handed over control of the mission, there was nothing they could do. So they had to make sure everything was fine-tuned and capable of accomplishing the mission, even when they no longer had control. They had to think of all of the possibilities for what could go wrong (and what needed to go right) and plan for it. 

In order to do that, they had to know exactly where they were trying to go and what they were trying to do. They had to know what would keep them on track and what could get them off track. And you can bet they didn’t rely on a single human brain to figure all of that out. It was a team effort.

Once everyone on the team had exhausted the possibilities, planned for contingencies, and done their best to make sure everything would go smoothly, they could take a deep breath. Sure, the anxiety was likely palpable when they did officially “lose” control, but they didn’t let fear keep them from moving forward with the mission.

What about you? Do you know what you’re trying to do and where you’re trying to go? Have you planned for it? Yes, the idea of losing control or ending up where you don’t want to be can be frightening. But if you plan accordingly and make contingencies for what could happen, you’ll be able to move forward without that paralyzing fear that so many business owners feel. 

You’ll be able to confidently move toward your mission, knowing you’ve set things in motion and set your mission up for success. And at the end of the day, that’s the best thing you can do for your business, your team, and your sanity. 

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the co-founders of Spark Marketer, a Nashville, Tennessee-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They're also co-authors of the book, Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. Both regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation. Visit or


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