Using fear as motivation

The Day You Quit Your Job

There may be no better feeling in the work world than the day you get to walk into your boss’s office to hand them your resignation letter so that you can start your own business. An adrenalin rush, a sense of relief and more control than you have ever felt at work before.

Concurrently there may be no day as scary either!

Nearly all of us business owners remember that day as either the day we quit, or for some the day they got laid off. There is an adrenalin rush as you realize that nobody else controls your destiny, nobody can fire you, the fear of getting laid off is a thing of the past and you no longer have to say yes when what you really mean is no. That adrenalin rush is an empowering feeling that you will never forget.

Then comes the reality check, courtesy of your fight or flight copilot system.

After that adrenalin rush your superpower of being ready to take on the world seems to let its guard down just long enough for the Kryptonite of fear to sneak in for a visit.

But this isn’t a bad thing, we are going to use it for our benefit. The key is to channel that fear to focus our attention onto the things that we need to be sure are dialed on for success. More importantly we can use that fear for motivation.

No, seriously, we are going to use the fear for motivation. But were is that fear coming from?

While we may have been the super star of corporate sales or management we were really just a cog in the system. There were many hands in every project, every sale, every client outcome. Now that we have quit our job it all lands on us. The buck, and bucks, really do stop at the business owner.

Walking out of our boss’s office the fearful thoughts hit:

“What if I am not as good as I think I am?”

“What if I can’t do this?”

“What if I fail in front of my spouse, family, friends or neighbors?”

That is your physiological system telling you to do your homework and make good decisions. It is fight or flight at one of its strongest levels. If you know it is coming then it becomes just part of the process.

Take a deep breath and look back at the homework you did before you quit your job. Is it complete, are your ready to be in charge?

Ready to go? Great! Then let’s talk about how to focus it.

As a business owner you need to move your brain from specialist to generalist. You are no longer just a salesman, manager, accountant or technician. Those are specialties. You are now all of those things at various times.

As you begin operating your business that fight or flight feeling will pop back up from time to time as you do something new, hit skills you need to develop more or in places where you need to hire great employees. As a franchisee you may find that the things that fire up your fight or flight system are places that you can call on the franchisor or fellow franchise owners to assist you.

This is a key success strategy; any time that feeling appears pick up the phone and call the franchisor or another franchisee. Most franchisors tell us they don’t hear from their franchisees as much as they wish they would.

Another use for that feeling is for the motivation to move the ball forward. Employees don’t feel that anxiety when they have a day off, they go play golf or spend the day binge watching tv shows. Business owners may still go get their round of golf in then check in on their business, make sure that client was taken care of or that the cash deposit was made.

The business becomes like a child you have to keep an eye on so that it stays on the right path. With the right nurturing and attention it could be a great success.

So you quit your job today, tonight you are worrying about that decision. Tomorrow you check over your homework and in the next day or two you start laying the ground work for your business.


The homework you are doing will inform the fears and push them back in their box. It will be a rewarding feeling time and time again to begin to realize the fears are not usually telling you to avoid doing something, but rather to do it right!

You may not believe this now, but when I feel that feeling it is an assurance that I am likely doing the right things, stepping into new and rewarding spaces and seeking informed answers. Moreover, I know my competitors are more likely to be retreating to comfort and stagnation.

Look for this book: “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway”, by Susan Jeffers

The adrenalin rush you felt when you quit your job will now reappear at times you aren’t expecting it to but when your successes can be realized as measurable results in your life: When you are at your child’s sporting events, when you get to surprise your spouse with a dream vacation, when you buy that car you wanted when you were a kid or when you get to start your next business.

In time the adrenalin rush will likely be a more regular visitor than the fears, but they will still appear from time to time to keep you focused.

Turn fear into personal power!

Now that you know what is coming or have a better understanding of what happened already as you quit your job I hope it gives you the confidence to do your homework, find a great path, take the leap and work thought the fears and build a home run business.

What is your success story? Let’s go find it!

George Knauf

George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both start-up and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.


Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980.

Getting Started Guide

How to buy a franchise

Franchising offers a path to own a business while eliminating the unknowns.

Choosing a good franchise

The opportunity to choose a franchisor to invest in is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly

Browsing the market

More people than ever are turning to self-employment to find fulfilment, challenge and a work-life balance.

Using fear as motivation

The key to channel that fear is to focus on the things that we need to be sure are dialed on for success.

Financing your franchise dream

If you serious about acquiring a franchise, there are a number of different avenues to be explored.

Excuses for not getting started

We are starting to see a small surge in new business startups across the country. 

Starting a business with your spouse

Starting a business presents a set of challenges most people never experience in their career.

Why franchising?

Quite simply because it represents a well-established and proven method of doing business. 

Are you ready to Franchise?

For many, that means taking the plunge, realizing the dream, and starting a new business.