Written By: Hamish Knox, Sandler Training, Calgary, AB, hamish.sandler.com @sandlerhamish

Every entrepreneur struggles with fear of failure, and some struggle with the fear of success. In both cases, that entrepreneur’s self-concept will determine their success in business.

My clients at Sandler Training know this as the “Identity/Role” or “I/R” Theory.

Your role side is all of the labels you apply to yourself (e.g. parent, spouse, business owner, child, sibling, athlete, musician, etc.), put another way it is what comes out of your mouth after you say, “I am…”

Your identity side is your self-concept, self-image, self-esteem and self-worth. The stuff you were born with before labels got applied.

On the I/R Theory scale there are winners, non-winners, and at-leasters.

Non-winners have “I/R confusion.” Their self-concept is that success in their roles determines their worth as a human being. Non-winners are terrified of failure because that would mean they are a failure.

At-leasters are life floaters. They aren’t the best, but at least they aren’t the worst. At-leasters stay very close to their comfort zone and measure their success by how they are doing against a chosen peer group, which always has members ahead and behind the at-leaster.

Winners understand Sandler’s first rule, “you have to fail to win.” Because winners separate their “I” side from their “R” side they understand that a failure on the “R” side (e.g. going out of business) does not affect their self-worth and is an opportunity to learn and develop.

Learn to fail. Fail fast, fail often, then learn from those failures and grow your business.

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