I think fear is so misunderstood these days, especially in business. Fear is getting a bad rap.
In talking to colleagues and clients alike, I’m always surprised by how often people take fear as a reason NOT to do something vs. a reason TO DO something. Maybe I’m a bit weird, but for me, fear is a really big indicator that I need to do something… if I’m scared, that means I probably need to go in that direction.
I believe that as human beings we are meant to grow – and this means taking on new “stuff”. Learning new things, stepping into new roles, taking on new challenges. And of course with anything new comes fear… it’s natural to feel fear when stepping into the unknown, right?
Fear itself can take many different forms, and will vary by individual and situation. Could be fear of failure. Fear of looking like a fool. Fear of losing money. Fear of not making money. Fear of upsetting people close to you. Fear of not knowing if you can do what you want to do… etc.
My mentor David Neagle calls this the “terror barrier” and it is a natural part of life and growth. We all come up against our own terror barriers – especially in business! – and then we have to decide whether we want to work through them or run away. And see the thing is that even if we run away, those terror barriers will follow us, the longer they follow us the bigger they get – darn them! 😉
So we may as well face the fear right?
Now I get it… easy to say, not so easy to do. Believe me I get it. I’ve done my fair share of having to ‘stare fear in the eye’ in particular this past year… and put plainly, it can suck at times.
When I decided to sign up to work with my mentor last year that was a HUGE fear moment for me. What I like to call a “think I’m going to barf” moment. I was terrified to take that step, as I knew it was a commitment to me and my business to play a bigger game… and quite honestly I didn’t know if I could do it. Who am I to create a super cool and thriving biz? What if I fail and lose oodles of money? What if I suck at it and people point and laugh at me? (Ah those crazy thoughts that go through our heads…)
But I believe fear is an invitation for us to learn a lesson – whatever it is that we fear has a real gift for us on the other side, but only if we are willing to step into it. And if we aren’t stepping into it we don’t get that gift… sounds cheesy but it’s true in my experience.
It breaks my heart when I see this in my own business. For example when I’m talking to someone about the OBM Training program and we BOTH know it’s a great fit for them and their goals. But they get stuck in their fear, they aren’t willing to invest in themselves or aren’t sure if they can actually be a good OBM. I’m sitting there and I can see – clear as day – that they would rock, but their fear doesn’t allow them to see that opportunity. Those are the sad moments for me in my biz (and I’m working on some ways to help people through that journey… more on that another time).
Facing fear is like building a muscle, the more we do it the more we are able to do it. I don’t think that it gets easier per se, as there is always a s-t-r-e-t-c-h required when facing fear and it can be uncomfortable to say the least. However, I do believe that half the battle is actually resisting our fear – running away takes alot of energy! If we stop resisting fear and instead step into it then the entire process could be much less painful in the long run.
I’ve gotten to the point now that when I have what I call an “eek!” moment – that nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach – I know it’s something that I need to do. This is the main indicator for me of what I need to do next in my business.
So let me ask you – when was the last time you did something that scared the pants off of you? Or had an “I think i’m going to barf now” moment?
What is it that you are most afraid of doing right now, in this moment, for you and your business? (Do share in the comments as i’d really love to know.)