"Everything that goes wrong will be my fault."
Looking failure in the face is tough. When we go it alone, or even when we join a small company, there isn't anywhere to hide. We have responsibility, lots of it, and we will invariable make mistakes. And then we will have to own up to those mistake, many times on our own.
When we are #1 and only on the workforce, we then need to admit mistakes and failures to ourselves - the toughest audience out there. And it's painful, and sometimes embarrassing. We find it much easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. And no one holds mistakes over our heads like we do. That little voice will pop up from the back of our minds continuously to remind us of our failings and flailings. And it takes a lot of determination and effort to turn down the volume of that voice.
What we need to be mindful of is that there is a tremendous upside to responsibility. We can make changes that we feel are right and necessary. We can focus on ideas and tasks that we deem important and worthwhile. Our mistakes are ours, and our victories and wins are as well. It's taking the good with the bad, the yin with the yang. No matter whether we work for someone else or we work for ourselves - responsibility inevitably will find us. We can run but we can't hide.
If I'm going to make mistakes and own the outcomes, I'd much prefer that they be my own so that I can learn as much as possible from them. Mistakes are an investment and a sunk cost of doing business. We all make mistakes; the trick is to not make the same one twice and the best way to assure that is to make sure that I'm the one who made it and owned up to it.
The image above can be found at: http://imagecache.allposters.com/images/pic/QUOMAG/MX01~Mistakes-Esther-Dyson-Posters.jpg