Fear is often a barrier to success. It is fear that can prevent women from achieving their full potential and living their business dream.
Everyone has fears and it is perfectly normal to have fear.
Fear is important, it is there to protect you. Fear stops you from physical harm and also prevents you from putting yourself in situations that may cause emotional damage or financial jeopardy. This kind of instinctual fear is good, the fear that stops you from walking in front of a speeding truck, getting into relationship with the wrong person or from taking extreme financial risks.
But then there is the imagined and irrational fear. The fear of failure, not being good enough, rejection, criticism, change, the unknown, and even success.
Fear itself is not a problem. It’s the imagined and irrational fear that holds you back from stepping out of your comfort zone to be your best self and be the best that you can be in business, which is problematic.
Now you don’t need to eradicate fear and be completely fearless, because some fears are good and healthy to have, but you want to be taking action and work toward your business dreams despite those imagined fears.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to act in the presence of fear.” – Bruce Lee
Imagined fear, as expected, exists entirely in your mind. It comes from your inner critic and is that negative self-talk that tells you you’re not good enough, that people will laugh at you, you’re not smart enough, you might say something stupid, you don’t have what it takes, that you might fail and lose everything and lose face etc etc.
Yes perhaps your imagined fears might be realised, but more often than not, they aren’t. No one succeeds in business without risking failure. If some of your fears have become real have a read of Managing Failure.
Living in regret feels much worse than imagined fear holding you back. Remember, you will only overcome your fear by doing what scares you.
Here are 5 tips to stop fear from holding you back
1. Identify and acknowledge your fear
Before you can move past fear you first need to identify and acknowledge your fear. When you notice you’re feeling fear, ask yourself “What I am really afraid of?” to get to the root of the fear. Then label it, say to yourself “I am afraid of x”. When you give labels to your emotions, it can help decrease its intensity.
2. Put your fear into perspective
Often the fears you have in business are irrational fears, fears that might or might not come true. These fears come up in times of uncertainty and when you think about, or are, stepping outside of your comfort zone and are trying something new. It is the unknown outcome you are afraid of.
Put your fear into perspective, whenever you catch your fear-based thought ask yourself “How likely would this happen?”.
3. Imagine the worst-case scenario
This may seem like a very negative exercise to do, but it is not. Fear arises because you imagine the worst possible outcome occurring, however when you take some time to think about in advance how you would respond should this worst-case scenario actually occur, you will realise that you have the resilience within yourself to recover. This exercise helps you to diminish your fear and build trust that you can manage whatever comes your way.
Think about something you are fearful of and ask yourself “What is the worst that could happen?”, envision it in painstaking detail. Then ask yourself “If that actually happened, what would I do?”. Continue to ask yourself “What would I do?” until you feel comfortable that you could handle the situation if it occurred.
Note: If this exercise makes you sweaty palmed and completely panicked thinking about the worst-case scenario, then don’t do it and find an alternative strategy to help reduce your fear.
4. Let fear be part of your journey
Fear will never go away. Never. Ever. Not as long as you continue to extend yourself in business, do things you’ve never done before and grow and develop as a person.
While it is possible to soften fear, it is never eliminated in its entirety. Old fears often persist and new fears develop as you try new things in business.
Rather than getting concerned and frustrated with yourself that you have not yet overcome all of your fears, let fear be part of your business journey. Make space for fear, let it be there but in the background, but don’t let it control you. Acknowledge the fear and be kind to yourself. Regardless of your fears you must continue to take consistent action and move forward.
5. Focus on the present moment
Fear is often triggered by thinking about imagined future scenarios or remembering past events.
A quick way to lessen your fear is to focus on the present moment. Forget the past, forget the future. Turn your attention to what is happening in the present moment and focus on what needs to be done right now.
If you find yourself still stuck in future or past fear ask yourself “Is there a problem right now?” to remind yourself that in this moment in time you are doing just fine.
Don’t let fear stop you from achieving business success. What is one tiny step you can take now to move toward your business dream despite your fear?