Fear. We are told to embrace it. We are told to endure and overcome it. It is a part of life so why not try to become one with it, they say. We can all live with some fears; such as the fear of spiders, public speaking or watching ‘The Conjuring’. But for an entrepreneur, it’s an entirely different kind of fear.
My biggest fear has always been whether or not I was capable of not only running a business, but whether I’d even amount to any level of success. I guess all entrepreneurs measure their success by comparing their journey to other successful entrepreneurs. We are taught and conditioned to believe that if they can do it, we can too. But, human nature brings us crashing back down with niggling wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-with-cold-sweat questions of whether we actually have what it takes. In some instances, this fear of failure can actually hinder our progress and cloud our decision making process. The best we can do is to deal with this emotion when it arises and focus on the work at hand. Research has found that through acceptance, gaining clarity and heightening our sense of focus; we lessen fear. It’ll never go away but by practicing simple daily steps, it’ll be manageable. Because what is life without a little fear?
Here are my top 4 tips on overcoming fear:
- What’s the worst that could happen? – Most times, our anxieties are born out of fear of the unknown. Rather than assume and be consumed by the ‘worst’, why not sit down and write out everything that’s bothering you and ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen if this happens?”
Reflect on this and then consider a solution or an alternative course of action. Always remember that we can only control what is within our ‘locus of control’ – anything else is out of our hands and is not worth worrying or wasting time over.
- Give yourself generous time limits to complete your ‘To-Dos’ – Often in small business, the owner or entrepreneur wears all or most of the hats; from receptionist to cleaner to delivery guy to counsellor/psychologist. We tend to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that needs to be done to keep the business moving. This where the feelings of inadequacy can creep in.
Instead of looking at all the tasks as one big hurdle, chunk them down into easier manageable sub-tasks. This will then allow your brain to work on small tasks and create a sense of gratification when you’ve actually accomplished something. More and more, little by little the task gets done.
- Plan everything (well at least try to plan for everything) – Make sure you have everything planned ahead and written or noted down. It’s easy to get distracted and forget things that we ought to do but when you have them in front of you in black and white it becomes much easier.
Once you plan for the now and have at least considered all the ‘unforeseeables’; you will be more prepared if something arises and less likely fear losing control of the situation.
- Exercise – I know it’s sometimes hard to find the time or sometimes really, really hard to actually get up out of bed at 5am for a training session, but it’s a well-known fact that physical activity helps to cure anxieties.
A morning jog, a peaceful yoga session or an hour at the gym – all contribute to getting your heart pumping and your blood flowing. To be able to function at an optimal level, it’s not just the mind you have to train but equally so your body. As the saying goes, “Healthy body, healthy mind”, because then no matter what life throws at us, our individual beings will be primed to take on the challenge.
I’ll leave you with a quote by Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be? You’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Bartercard has a range of members available to help you overcome your fears, from business mentors to personal coaches. Visit our members directory for further information.
What are some of your fears and how do you deal with it in your life?
Written by Yohann Azlee, National Administration Manager at Bartercard Australia
Yohann Azlee specializes in creating and implementing organizational change through human development. He has presented and facilitated workshops for clients on mindfulness, resilience and emotional intelligence. He has mentored entrepreneurs for the Richard Branson Institute of Entrepreneurship, Salvation Army Employment Plus and other non-profit organizations. His extensive experiences in countries such as Germany, Romania, Spain, the US, Iran and South East Asia have given him a deep understanding of culture and international business.