All my kids are telling me this week is what costumes they are going to wear, how much candy they can get from ‘trick or treating,’ and how fun it will be to get scared a little. Yes, you guessed it, Halloween is coming.
And with that, lots of us adults will watch scary movies and dress up ourselves to have fun with the kids. It’s the day when we not only celebrate the loved ones that passed away but also face our fears about death.
That’s why I thought that’s is probably one of the best moments to write about fears we face in businesses. Fears put us on a roller-coaster of emotions. Fears that are quite often not real and fears that, if not dealt with head-on, can paralyze and completely derail us from a fantastic journey.
As I was researching this article, I found this decomposition of the word (source unknown).
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real
In other words, very often, the things that you fear in business don’t exist and most likely won’t materialize ever. Because as an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning, you’re faced with lots of novelty, your primitive brain is sending all those ‘STOP n’ RUN’ alerts before your neocortex can logically process the information. This reaction works in some situations, like reacting to a ball coming your way to protect yourself from being hit but not so much when you’re trying to do your first Facebook Live or IGTV video.
Taking Marie Curie’s advice, I’ve decided then to write about the five most common fears that entrepreneurs often face daily. On top of describing them to you, I’m also sharing a 7-step framework on how to trick them. In other words, first, I’m helping you to understand the destructive feelings so that next, you can apply the framework and conquer those fears as they appear on your entrepreneurial path.
Fear of Not Deserving
Frequently when I speak with entrepreneurs, especially women, they tell me that they feel like they don’t deserve the results happening in their business. Or even that they don’t deserve the happiness, they’re feeling when creating the business of their passion. And these are only two of many examples.
But let me tell you this. Who said that business couldn’t be fun? Where is it written that instead of enjoying yourself while making a good income, you need to feel stressed or unhappy? As a matter of fact, the only way we can achieve our full potential and contribute the most to the world is when we are happy, feel fulfilled, and at peace.
We’re all born equal, i.e., we equally deserve the same things. Your need and drive for happiness, financial safety, and fulfillment aren’t less deserving than anyone else’s in this world. They’re EQUAL to those of others.
This one is the fear of not being good enough, feeling like a fraud. For one thing, if you’re experiencing this, you’re in great company. Maya Angelou, Jennifer Lopez, and many other successful people talked about experiencing this feeling regularly, even after their incredible successes.
At the same time, think about it, you are unique. Your background, past experiences, the way of thinking, etc. have shaped you into a beautiful human being that needs to share her gifts with the world. So embrace it. I’m sure you don’t want to be 2nd Jennifer Lopez or J.K. Rowling. Therefore, no need to feel like an imposter. You are you, beautifully unique, who deserves the life you dream off.
Fear of Failure
In my conversation and coaching to business owners, I see this fear as the one that holds you back the most. One of the reasons is that once people achieve a certain level of comfort, even if only minimal, the mentality of playing safe kicks in. Unfortunately, what this does to you is capping your potential.
The second one is perfectionism. When the scripts you run through your mind tell you that everything you create needs to be flawless and perfect, the fear of being criticized or making a mistake is just a natural thought that follows. This one also prevents you from growing.
Sadly, the more you fear failure and hold yourself back, the more of other fears kick in: lack of trust, scarcity mindset, and with that lack of belief that your business can grow or that you can achieve your full potential.
It looks like somehow, after we learn how to walk and run as toddlers, throughout our life, we forget that it was persistence, standing up after each fall with a smile on our faces, and relentless trials were what taught us those skills in the first place.
Fear of Success
OK, fear of success, although I know entrepreneurs feel it, especially right when they start their business, in my opinion, is the lamest excuse to start up. Why? Because 99% of us don’t and won’t experience instant success. It hardly ever happens. It’s less likely than winning a lottery.
Moreover, if you read the stories of the most successful businesspeople out there, you’ll learn that it took them years to get to the level of success that you might be satisfied with. Those of them who openly share their journey have plenty of examples of setbacks they experienced. That’s why chances of you becoming super-rich and famous day 1 of your entrepreneurs’ life are super slim.
Then again, take it as a good thing. The hard work you’ll put in to grow your business and weathering off challenges humbles you and prepares you for success. So, when it comes, you’ll be ready. Let’s go back to my baby example. None of us was able to run super fast right away. First, we needed to learn how to sit, then how to crawl. Afterward, we stood up, started walking in a wobbly manner, then more confident, and only after the running began. The natural law that guided you through this journey isn’t different from the one that guides you as you’re growing your business.
Fear of Missing Out – FOMO
This one is a shiny object syndrome. Trying to be present everywhere, do everything, be everything is a fast way to exhaustion. Moreover, it’s a way that’s taking you in a direction opposite to your success. Quite often, this lack of focus happens when you don’t have a definite end in mind. Lack of clarity on your goals results in a lack of planning. With that, it’s hard to know what to do day in and day out, which of course, is very conducive to FOMO. This syndrome, however, can be easily eliminated with the right time management structure in your business life, which is one of the things I help my clients with.
OK, so now it’s time for the best part of this blog. The framework that will help you move past all those fears as they come, take action, and keep growing.
7-Step Framework to Help You Conquer Fear in Business.
1. Know yourself
So you can understand not only the fear but also the cause. Take time to stop and truly feel your reaction. Why the thing I want to do in my biz is scaring me? What are the real underlying reasons?
2. Talk It Through with Someone
If you cannot do it alone, then talk it through with someone. For example, during my FREE brainstorming sessions, lots of women talk through their fears with me. They start scared, but after we talk and I share some advice, they have more clarity about what to do next, the fears are smaller if not gone, and they have simple actions they can take to move forward.
3. Write it Down
Now it’s time to put your thoughts on paper and let your logical brain analyze them. You can even read them out loud. Here’s what I do: “Maggie, the thing you’re scared of is unreasonable. So many people have done it before you, and you’re as capable as them. What’s the worst that can happen?” As you’re reading on, cross out anything irrational, and for the rational fears, write up a quick action plan in case they materialize. IT will put your mind at ease and allow you to move forward. Then, pick a couple of simple actions you could do right away to move you towards the direction you want to take.
The next step is to DECIDE. Indecision creates lots of agonies. Once you make the decision, your brain gets unstuck and can move forward. You start thinking about what to do next to get you closer to your goal. That’s how you get the courage to execute. And to help you decide, here’s an exercise that Marie Forleo recommends: Ask yourself: ‘Does the thought of doing this make me super excited?’ If the answer is yes and you feel expanded – then go for it no matter the fear. If it’s something that contracts you totally that it makes you feel sick, then maybe it’s not the right thing or time to do it. Perhaps you need to grow more to be able to do this. And that’s OK, as at least you know what to do next.
Once you decide, then make a plan and focus on the task at hand. Don’t look too far ahead at that moment as it can get overwhelming; just take one step at a time. As Dale Carnegie said: “An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.”
Train yourself to face fear step into it. Practice daily to overcome even the smallest fears, which will make you more resilient. It only takes 20 sec of courage to step into your fear and act. What’re 20 secs in the grand scheme of things?
Plan be proactive and create a system in your life that supports that. Knowing your long term goals and what you’re doing next week that aligns with them makes it easier to start, finish, and then move on to the next. And if you haven’t started planning for 2020 yet and need guidance, let’s connect! I can help you create an amazing system not only for 2020 but beyond that.
In a quick summary, I wanted to ask you a question. Have you ever thought that fear and courage actually go hand in hand? Could courage exist without fear? Personally, I don’t think so because how can we be brave, courageous, and audacious if we don’t fear something first? The antidote is not needed when the trigger doesn’t exist.
PS: If you need more motivation and encouragement, I invite you to join my online community Businesswomen with Passion 4 Life and watch the video, in which I help the ladies trick those fears ;).