5 common fears business leaders have, and how to overcome them


To run a successful company, a business leader faces many challenges along the path.

It’s important to remember that challenges are part of the journey. However, it’s also easy to become overwhelmed, which can lead to anxiety and fear.

Admitting to anxiety and fear can be difficult, especially when in a position of power, influence and responsibility.

Human behaviour expert Dr John Demartini has worked with business leaders around the world for many years.

“In order for business leaders to overcome their fears and move forward confidently and successfully, they first need to ‘own’ and recognise the nature of their doubts and fears,” he says.

He even admits to his own anxieties and fears.

“I have fears almost every day, but I know that my fears are incomplete views of what is actually happening and are offering me great feedback to my incongruencies, or unrealistic expectations.

“So I identify my fears, bring them to balance, and then utilise or walk through them. Give yourself permission to do the same,” he says.

Dr Demartini shares five commons fears and anxieties that he has identified through his work below, and gives his tips on how to move past them to become more confident.

1. Am I smart enough?

“Many leaders are secretly afraid that they are not knowledgeable enough or equipped in certain areas to manage the task ahead of them. They fear that they will not have the intellectual savvy and skills to make the right decisions, at the right time,” he says.

To move past this, Dr Demartini advises leaders to remain focused on the mission of their organisation, which takes the focus off themselves.

“Build on and grow your specific area of knowledge and expertise, and find the right people and teams to assist in those areas where competence or experience may be lacking,” he says.

2. Will I be rejected?

The fear of rejection stems from seeing the potential rejecter as better, or above ourselves.

This gives the other person power whether they know it or not, and can make us frightened of the other’s opinion. It can put the other person on a pedestal which they may not rightly deserve.

“The key here is to stop comparing and measuring oneself against others.

“I advise business leaders, in this scenario, to only measure/compare their actions against their own vision, and not to any other person.

“We are not here to live in the shadows, we are here to stand on the shoulders of giants!” he says.

3. Will I lose money?

This can be a debilitating and paralysing fear as the pressure to hit targets and get profits is ever-present.

Dr Demartini suggests to think of it a different way. He believes we only make money when we truly serve people.

“For business leaders who are facing this fear, I urge them to get back to their initial vision and mission, which should be about serving the customer and making their lives better,” he advises.

In this way, it hopefully redirects the focus back to the company’s true mission.

4. Will I have enough energy?

For older professionals, this fear becomes particularly acute. There will always be younger, more tech-savvy professionals looking to make their mark.

“Again, the problem here is that leaders start to measure themselves against others, instead of measuring themselves against their own goals and business mission.

“My advice is always to have faith in your own skills and experience, stay true to your mission, and where necessary, hire and partner with those individuals who can bring competency in the areas where gaps lie.”

5. Will I have to go against my moral compass or my ethics?

Often, you might find yourself in a tough situation where you’re forced to choose between being dishonest for a short-term gain, or be honest and potentially lose profit or market share.

Dr Demartini says it’s important to stay true to your moral compass and follow your instincts.

“It is always when we lose sight of our own mission and values that we stray into dangerous and potentially harmful territory,” he says.