How to Overcome Fear

Fear is a powerful force that affects everyone. It can be a motivator, or it can halt anyone’s growth dead in its tracks. Fear is a natural response to anything dangerous. It also shows up when we are facing the unknown or about to do something we have never done before. As an emotional response, fear is designed to keep us safe.

However, the safety of what is familiar can sometimes keep us from taking bold steps forward. That’s why controlling and harnessing your fear can be a powerful tool that will help propel your business forward.

Understanding Your Fear

When you are making plans that will affect your business, it’s normal to experience a certain amount of trepidation. Ask yourself what’s behind the fear you’re feeling. Does it stem from the risk associated with taking the next steps? Or, is it a reaction to all that must be done to bring the plan to fruition?

Assessing Risk

Risk is part of doing business. Every business plan should have an element of risk to it if growth is the objective. But that doesn’t mean that all risks are acceptable. If the fear you are experiencing is related to the risks involved, you may need to do some more research to better understand the nature of the risk. How possible or probable is it that the negative impact you’re concerned about is going to happen? How bad would it be if it did happen?

When you compare the possible risks for your business to the possible gains they can represent, you will have a better notion of how acceptable those risks are, and therefore, you will be more comfortable taking them. On the other hand, if the risk is too great for the possible benefits it will bring, then you can take a step back to reassess.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Taking your business to the next level is a huge undertaking. It involves a lot of work, some bold steps, and coordinated actions. After a while, the pressure of all that responsibility can be paralyzing. With so much riding on getting it all done, the fear of failing can be a serious issue that halts all progress.

A good piece of advice when that happens is to look at your plan from a different perspective. Break the project down to individual steps that need to be completed to achieve your goal. Then, instead of focusing on the success or failure of the plan in its entirety, concern yourself only with completing the next step.

Getting a Reality Check

Many of the fears we deal with have little or no relationship with reality. For example, mice represent very little real danger to the people who are afraid of them. Nevertheless, the fear is real and affects their behavior. Are the fears that are holding you back in your business about things that pose a real threat, or are they more imagined?

A good test is to ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen?” If those fears were realized, would it mean ruin for your business or merely present a setback to the goal you were seeking? Sometimes, the possible outcomes of failure are far less terrible than we imagine, whereas taking no steps at all can have much more severe consequences.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Wayne Gretzky

My suggestion. Flip your internal narrative to ‘opportunity’ and see the fear moments as an opportunity to expand. Let the optimistic projected outcome drive your motivation & action. Try to get comfortable with exercising your “fear” muscle. It will always be there, it will evolve and expand just as you do.

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