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Winning over fear - Jacob Kent-Ledger

New and Networking

Winning over fear - Jacob Kent-Ledger

Jacob Kent-Ledger is the founder and creative director of KENTLEDGER, an integrated creative agency that has created amazing campaigns for businesses including McLaren. Here he talks about how getting over your fears is vital in business - and how it can lead to amazing things.

"Everyone has their own perception of fear. For some, it’s the fear of being hit by a car as they walk to work in the morning. For others, it’s being afraid of investing £1m into a fledgling startup. Whatever fear is to you, you have find a way of overcoming it.

If you’re just finishing sixth form or university, you’ll soon find that safety net removed and you’ll be in the big world - and believe me, it does shock you. I started growing my business full time the day I left Sixth Form and I’d certainly underestimated what the real world is like. We all get so used to that safety and advice round us that fear, of any scale, can really hit us.

If we strip things back to basics - and just hear me out here - fear doesn’t exist. Without getting all philosophical and hippie, it’s simply a fabrication of the mind. I’ve made mistakes, you’ve made mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, and we have to learn to live from them and not dwell on them, living in fear of repeating ourselves.

I’ve made big mistakes in business, just like every other business does. It can be related to money, timeframes, equipment, the people we do business with, or the people who work for our business.

I used to have a big fear of calling up companies, who I know would love my services and products, but I didn’t call them because I was scared they wouldn’t be interested or that I’d waste their time. This year, I made an attempt to change that. Now, every morning, I spend an hour calling up businesses for new work. I call clients and see how they’re doing. And on my first day of calling, I got strong interest from 5 companies, one of whom I obtained work from within a week.

The common problem here is entrepreneurs who want the work to come to them. We get comfortable, we get scared, we let fear get to us. I let fear tell me that I wasn’t confident enough to phone up a stranger, that I wasn’t confident to shout about all that’s great about my business and why they should choose me over competitors. I let fear prevent me from growing and moving further, not just as a business, but an individual. Now that I’ve started challenging that and cutting out that idea of fear, I feel much better. I’ve gained more work, made more contacts and become more confident.

For a lot of young people in business, age can become a fear. I found this at first but you have to overcome it and, again, not let fear take over. I used to try and work with people my age, but the time soon came where I was working with people of all ages. If you know your business inside out, if you know why you suit a job inside out, then people will listen to you. A lot of clients say it’s like they’re talking to someone they’ve known for years and who they’d happily do business with.

We all have a fear of failing. One mistake and we fall back into ourselves and fear tells us we can’t do it, or that we’re not good enough to do it. But what is fear? It doesn’t exist.

Often application forms or job interviews might involve the question "Who is your role model?" We often answer with the likes of billionaire business figures because we think they’re successful. But, that’s why we fall into a life of fear. If we don’t achieve the goal we want or get a ‘no’ from a customer or client, we stop seeing that billionaire’s success as obtainable. That’s why you need to find yourself a failure role model. This needs to be someone who you can look at, in your times of fear, and think… they overcame their fears, now I’m going to.

As I’m writing this post for VMP, a friend called to tell me he’s just lost his job. It’s what he’s good at, but not what he wants to do forever. I know he’s wanted to start his own business for a while, and now he’s got the time, motivation and fear to push him to do it. His safety net has been grabbed from right beneath him and he’s now got to overcome any wall standing in his way, to become his own boss.

It's time to take action."
New and Networking
Great post Jacob, well done on challenging your fears. I believe everyone can learn a lot from what you said here.