As a small business owner, Mom, coach, and friend, one of the most common statements I hear are “but I don’t know what to do.”
It’s not the technical part that holds us back; there are plenty of geeks among us to help out with something until they get profitable and can hire someone permanently.
So what is it? What is it that gets in the way of our personal success? In the way of achieving our dreams? It’s an awful little four-letter word.
Fear is really just a feeling everyone has; no one is exempt. We’ve all got it; the key is not letting it stop you from achieving what you want in life. Not letting the fears rob you of your dreams.
Oh, the many things we fear.
We fear our “stuff” isn’t good enough; our website isn’t perfect; our speech isn’t just so that we need to lose (insert # here) of pounds before we (insert activity here). We fear that people won’t like us, that they won’t pay the fees we want, they will hang up on us when we call to follow up, they will reject our ideas or laugh at us, and on and on and on. Truth be told, these excuses we use (procrastination is also a form of fear) hold us in a place where we’re unable to reach our dreams and full potential.
When that feeling of fear creeps up or comes on strong, most of us flee. We run for the proverbial hills. It’s an instinct we have to want to move away from fear. We fear the unknowns; we resist them and do our best to find relief from it, often by retreating back to old habits or situations. It’s funny we’re more comfortable with the uncomfortable that we already know than the unknown.
Fear is a feeling; it’s neither good nor bad; it just is. Listening closely to where the fear is coming from and what it’s telling us is all part of tapping into the power of our instincts. If our goals and dreams align with our true beliefs, and opportunities come along that will help us achieve them, then what’s to fear? It’s the unknowns, right? The what if it doesn’t work or……..
About five ago, I spoke up at my mastermind group and announced that I wanted to start to do public speaking. Within a few weeks, one of my fellow masterminders sent an email introducing me to a client of hers, which turned into an opportunity to speak at a conference in another state. Reason # 811 to join a mastermind group. I had never spoken to more than about 10-15 people at a time before, and now I was being asked to go to a city 650 miles away.
Talk about FEAR!!
I knew that it was exactly what I asked for and that it was important for me to get out of my comfy chair, get on a plane and step up to the platform. It wasn’t easy, I had to borrow the money to buy a plane ticket, I came down with a cold the week before I left, I overslept the morning of my flight and narrowly made it to the plane on time. At the event my PowerPoint slides didn’t work, I kept getting interference feedback in my mic from the room next door, and toward the end of my hour on stage, the A/C completely went out. There were so many times I thought about canceling and giving up. Thankfully I didn’t. I even shocked myself with the event’s success and that no one except me, and now you knew that was my first time on a stage. I managed to go from talking to a few folks in an office to being at a conference where there were more than 100 people in the audience.
That success has helped me when fear has come up in other situations. Sure, I’ve been stung, bitten, and burned more than a few times in the past. And yet to reach my goals, live my passion and achieve my dreams, I will have to stop worrying about what hurt in the past and start paying attention to the present and moving forward.
When I’m coaching a client one-on-one or in a mastermind setting and they are stuck in fear, one of the first things I do is ask them about their past successes. Then the sneaky part happens, I ask them about the fear they had leading up to that success. Voila, like magic, Fairy Godmother magic that is, they realize what’s stopping them at the present time, and together we look at ways to get past it.
You can do this yourself, take out a piece of paper, and make a list of all the things you’ve done and are proud of. Long list, huh? Now, look at the days and events leading up to them, where you looked fear in the eyes and said “go away, I’m busy”. Use this list as a starting point for helping you move past any fear you have that’s blocking you at the present time. A brag book, if you will, that you can use when fear is in the way of achieving your dreams.
Yes, fear still comes up for me, and it still will for you; it’s a part of life. Celebrating your success and getting in touch with the feeling of accomplishment will help you when fear comes knocking. Trust yourself, you know what the right thing is for you; go with your instincts and tell fear to take a hike.
Wishing you all the success you dream of and plenty of time to enjoy it.