Cold calls. Marketing materials. Writing a business plan. These are a few items that may be part of your new life as an entrepreneur, and they may be among the things that make you quake with fear. You are not alone. If you are going for a new job, or lifestyle, chances are fear is a steady companion. That’s a good thing – fear indicates that you are trying something new and important to you. Fear will be part of the journey. It’s how you manage it that determines your success, and how much you enjoy the ride. How do you get a grip on fear so you can make progress?
A wise teacher taught me that we do not get rid of fear before we do something, but that we go into the situation with the fear. I had confessed to her that I wanted to act, to be on-stage, but that I was afraid. She said “Take the fear with you.” The next thing I knew, I had auditioned for a play and landed the lead. I had never felt such happiness, and fear, which went with me to every rehearsal and performance. I survived, and learned in the process that I was capable of enormous strides when I did not let fear stop me from trying.
Remembering this has helped me innumerable times. It is something I point out to my clients again and again. Try these seven steps to manage your fears:
1) Acknowledge that you are afraid. Most of us are, even if we do not admit it. The challenge of juicy living is to acknowledge the fear and keep going anyway.
2) Identify the fear(s). Get clear about what it is that really sends you into hiding. Keep digging until you recognize the foundation fear.
3) Recall a time when you had fear and went forward anyway. What worked for you to move despite the fear?
4) Choose meaningful action. Fear loathes a moving target. Keep taking baby steps toward your goals.
5) Get support. Who do you have in your life that can help you recognize your strengths and move beyond your weaknesses? Support is key to success. Be willing to ask for help.
6) Know that you are not your fears or limiting beliefs about yourself. Remind yourself that fear is a state of mind, not your identity.
7) Have fun with it. Even the most serious of endeavors is helped by lightheartedness.
What fears are running your life? What would you be doing if fear were not in charge? Brainstorm a list of five things you would do if you were able to manage your fear.
Every day I find myself in situations where I recognize that I have a fear. I know that I thrive on challenge, and that fear is naturally a part of this process. When I use one or more of these steps, I am able to move forward. The relief and reward after I have done something that is scary far outweighs the fear. This is true for my clients as well. Overcoming the fears is the part of the journey that defines our character. So don’t avoid your fear – approach it head on!