Think | Choose | Connect
Every entrepreneur at some point realises that overcoming fear plays a critical role towards achievement in business. When you get a handle on your fears, get control of them, overcome fear, you open up a new world of possibilities. You become invincible, nothing can hold you back. But while you live in a state of fear, your success is crippled.
You know when you are experiencing fear because of the physical affect it has on your body. For me my heart starts racing, the sweat starts running down my face and over my body, and sometimes I freeze in my steps.
Sounds dramatic, I know, but when it happens, it stops me dead in my tracks. With this comes hesitation followed quickly by avoidance of whatever it is I am fearful of.
Then the worry sets in, the sleepless nights and the anxiety about what is going to happen because I didn’t do something I know I should do. Followed by the stress of life passing me by, opportunities gone forever. If only I could overcome my fears.
Unfortunately in business, that can mean the difference between grabbing opportunities or letting them pass you by! Every entrepreneur must master their fear.
Last week, I was sitting in a movie theatre, in the middle of the movie when all of a sudden I thought that someone was going to come in with an automatic gun and shoot us all. Instantly, this overwhelming fear came over me! My heart was beating and I was ready to run for my life.
Wait a minute! Are you being rationale I told myself? I started coaching myself through my fear. Is there a real threat? Where did this fear come from? Why was I scared?
Facing my fear head on, I challenged it and realised it was the movement of people during the movie to go to the bathroom, that had triggered my sudden insecurity. Also, the news recently had been reporting about Trump and war.
So I decided to sit and wait. No one else was running out of the cinema, they feel safe. So I have to calm my mind and keep it together. Which I did!
While I had never experienced that before, I was experiencing a lot of different things with my business at the time which were challenging. Maybe I was transferring my fear for my business into what should have been a relaxing evening.
Imagination is essential for business, creativity generates new ideas and ways of doing things, but in this case my imagination was causing me harm. I had let it get control of me for a second like a child who believes there is a monster under their bed at night. Or for me it was live chickens in my bed!
There is only one way to overcome fear and that is to do it. Small steps of course, but every little step you take towards conquering your fear the easier it is the next time you have to deal with it. Take chickens for example!
Christmas 2013 I volunteered to lead a service learning trip to Cambodia. I was a little nervous about taking ten students to Cambodia for two weeks.
However, I felt confident the other leaders and I were more than capable of keeping the students safe while travelling to some of the poorest parts of the country. We were thoroughly prepared and one of the leaders had done the trip previously.
There was only one problem. I had an extreme fear of chickens. And during our training for the trip it was made clear to me that I would be staying in villages where chickens would be walking around like dogs or cats. Oh no!
So here I was prepared to face the Killing Fields and walk through S21 but chickens! No, I can’t cope with chickens!
Word spread around the school, that I was afraid of chickens. So my students started showing me pictures of chickens. At first I didn’t want to look at them, but as time went by I could look at the pictures of chickens.
What I didn’t realise was my students were desensitising me to what I was fearful of. It was brilliant.
So I kept it up. I started forcing myself to engage more and more with chickens to build my tolerance. This was changing my fear, I could feel it.
The real test came when we arrived in Cambodia. Chickens were everywhere in the villages! This meant I was constantly face to face with my fear. Each day I was less reactive and getting more comfortable.
The regular practice of dealing with my fear head on, had led to me overcoming it.
While starting or running your own business, you don’t have to deal with chickens, you do have to do lots of things you haven’t done before. Fear can arise at any stage in business development.
To deal with fear in business, you need to have a strategy that you go to every time the physical and psychological affects start changing your behaviour. Success in business requires self-mastery of fear!
What’s your fear? Is it making cold calls? Learning new technology? Firing a staff member? Asking people for help? Talking to customers about your product? Losing money? Not having enough money? Being ripped off in business?
Write down what your fear is. Be very specific about when you feel it, why you feel it, what it feels like, how it gets triggered and how it makes you feel.
Before making a plan you may need to do some research. Learn about your fear by reading, watching and listening to what others have to say about it. Find out how others have overcome this fear. Look for inspiration, learn from their success.
How are you going to beat your fear? Make a plan. Work out a strategy to desensitise you. What steps can you implement that will move you towards overcoming your fear? Each step has to get more and more challenging until you have done the thing you were fearful of doing.
Challenge yourself each day to practise overcoming your fear. You may stay on the same step for months, but one day you will be ready to move to the next step.
When you do conquer a step, don’t forget to reward yourself for being brave. Think about how good it felt to move one step closer to overcoming your fear.
Important to stay on top of your fear and move towards success is to reflect on your fears. Where did they come from? How does it feel now that you have overcome your fears? What fears have you overcome in the past?
When new fears start to develop, you can call on your reflection to help get it under control quicker. Focus on the positive ways you have rebuilt your life by overcoming a fear. What positive changes happened as a result of conquering your fear?
Celebrate moving forward in your life and business. Every step conquered is another opportunity to succeed. Reflect on these feelings and recall them to motivate you to keep challenging your fears.
You’re not the only one dealing with their fears. We all have them and we all are constantly challenged to overcome them. Some people recognise a fear, then go what the hell, and jump straight into it.
If you are like me, it takes a bit more effort to get on top of each fear as it arises. And in business, that is on a regular basis. So when I recognise a fear is changing my behaviour, I start to plan how I can overcome it.
There are lots of resources to get help. You could consider a business coach (like me), life coach, seeing a hypnotherapist or reading a self-help book.
My favourite books are:
Koya Webb, “Let Your Fears Make You Fierce“, Hay House Australia Pty Ltd, 2019.
Jim Ryan and Simon Ralph, “How to Relax Your Mind”, Eternal Point Publishers, 2016.
If we choose to continue to live with fear, we choose to miss out on the things we need or want in life. Overcoming fear offers a world of freedom and the ability to make decisions from the heart without being distracted by fear.
Control your fears and the world is your oyster. When you overcome your fears you will be more successful in business and life.
Written by Lynda Galway for ConnectEzy.com.au.
© Open4rent Pty Ltd, 9 January 2020, All rights reserved.