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November 05, 2013

Starting a Business – How to Get Over Your Fears

Fear is such a huge emotion that gets in the way when it comes to achieving goals and is usually at the root of any reason we have for not doing something. What would you do if you weren't afraid of hearing "no" or worried about what people might think? Or if you weren't scared of failing? And the bigger question is....how do you overcome this fear and move towards your goals?

ANALYZE WHY 

If something is bothering me, I can move on to different tasks and thoughts but I always have this nagging pit in my stomach reminding me that something is on my mind. It's like someone sitting on my shoulder, tapping me every time I try and think about something else. It usually stays there until I stop and think about why this issue is bothering me so much. 

Different techniques help me at different times. Sometimes I need to talk to someone about my issue, others I can just have a conversation with myself and once and a while I'll write everything down on paper. You can take a page out of a psychiatrist’s book and continue to ask "why?" until you get to the root.

I don't want to do go to this event. WHY?
Because I'm not good in public situations. WHY?
Because talking with people I don't know makes me nervous. WHY?
Because I feel like they're judging me. WHY?....

Continue asking yourself questions until you feel like you've really gotten down to the big answer. This may take some work and you may discover something about yourself you didn't realize. Perhaps you feel like people are judging you because of one specific event that happened years ago with one specific person and from there on out, you feel judged by strangers. But are you really?

ASK YOURSELF: IS THIS TRUE?

Even if you can't tie your fear to one specific event, ask yourself if your generalization is really valid. Is it really true? And if it is (or you think it is) can you improve it? Most likely the reason you're fearful of something is a limitation you've put on yourself after one bad experience and it isn't really true.

WHAT'S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN

Okay. These sound like famous last words but this really can be a good exercise to reduce or eliminate fear. Sometimes our emotions take over and it feels like it's going to be the end of us but if we really look at the worst case scenario, it's not as dramatic as we're making ourselves feel.

CREATE AN ESCAPE ROUTE

Say your worst-case scenario actually happens (9 times out of 10 it doesn't). What can you do to get yourself out of that situation? Don't plan for failure but just have a realistic idea of what you can do to move forward. If your business goes bankrupt, can you go find a job with another company until you get back on your feet? Most likely yes. Of course that's not what you want but once you realize that you can and will pick up the pieces and move on if things don't work out, you can put your fears on the back burner and focus on what you can do right now, to make your business a success.

REMEMBER PAST FEARS

90% of what we worry and stress about, never happens. When you're in the thick of fear it's hard to see outside of it and it feels like the worst possible thing that could ever happen, nothing could be worse than this. But chances are, you've felt this way before. Try and remember another situation that you've stressed about and the outcome. You're still here right? I couldn't have been that bad ;)

TAKE ONE STEP FORWARD

What's one thing you can do right now to make yourself feel better about the situation? If you're going to a social event and are worried it's going to be awkward because you don't know anyone, reach out to someone attending the event right now. Email, call or tweet at them. Break the ice so you feel like you have a connection with someone before even walking in the room. If you're panicking over the thought of your business failing, make a list of 10 things you can do right now to move it in the opposite direction, towards success.

 

Image courtesy Sicha Pongjivanich/FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

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