What’s the number one thing that constricts your growth in life and business? Some would say lack of money, not enough time, scarce resources, not knowing how to do something or not having a team to do it, not having clients or leads or any number of other things that a business owner needs to make things happen. And the answer is actually none of them—it’s fear.
Fear is the number one thing that blocks you from taking action. I know that because it affects virtually every entrepreneur to some degree at some point in launching, building, and growing his or her business. If you find yourself unable or unwilling to take an action that you know or believe will be beneficial, the root in there somewhere is fear.
Fear is a powerful emotion that underlies, and even dictates, your business choices and actions. It shows up as gremlins, saboteurs, resistance, worry, doubt, fear, and many other negative expressions that can deter you from taking action.
However, when you understand what’s actually happening with the fear response, and have the tools to overcome it, you begin to harness all the force and energy you’re using to fight the fear and start moving forward with confidence in your business.
Like the boogeyman, fear gets a whole lot smaller and a lot more manageable when you can call it out in the light of day for what it is – and there are ways that you can actually harness the personal power that fear holds hostage from your consciousness in some very practical ways. It’s about reclaiming your energy for positive momentum.
I asked people to let me know their fears on my FB page and I got some really interesting responses. One person said that the fear looked like giving lots of energy and creative, productive focus and feeling like it wouldn’t pay off and would be going nowhere. Someone else said that it was trying to get your business going but running into other people who block your success by making you feel like a scorned child. Someone else said that it was having family say “I told you that you couldn’t make it.”
In teaching a recent teleclass on Face the Fear and Grow Your Business, I heard a lot of other fears. Fear has a lot of names—the economy, taxes, health insurance, not knowing what to d, balancing family with business needs, not having enough space, feeling lonely in self-employment, or risking financial security and facing all the potential consequences of that. There are a lot of fears out there and all of them will slow you down or even prevent you from taking action!
As a business owner, it’s not just your fear but also the fear of your customers because they’re all in the fear of what they’re faced with—it’s probably part of why they hire you (to resolve something that they fear). Your awareness of this will help you to actually not only navigate them for yourself but for your customers.
Here are some different scenarios that you might not recognize as fear until you hear them to see that they are fear in action.
- You might avoid taking unnecessary risks out of the fear of failure or success.
- You might spend more time perfecting your products or services than actually working with clients.
- You spend so much time preparing and perfecting that you forget about working with the clients.
- You might work with any client who has money because you’re in scarcity so you’re in fear so you’ll work with anybody who has money.
- You’ll feel vulnerable to other people’s controls so you’ll respond to other people’s opinions, attitudes, thoughts and actions.
- You’ll make decision based on your fears of what could happen in the future, from the ‘what ifs’ rather than being present with what is right now and making choices from strengths. (In that case, you’ll probably sabotage your progress anyway.)
- You’ll probably focus on material things and how to be right rather than operating and expressing your true power if you’re afraid of negative reaction or challenging response.
- You might be really self-focused instead of thinking of others. If you’re so worried making an income, you might not be thinking about all those leads as people that need you.
- You also might look for validation from other people to feel like you’re on the right path. You’re trying to avoid feeling fear or being wrong.
- You’re looking for that external validation that you’re right in your decisions.
- You’ll focus on the flaws; you’ll find the things that you didn’t do quite right.
- You might even misinterpret what other people say to feed the perception that you’re not quite making it. That justifies that somehow you’re not enough and you have a reason to feel a fear about what you’re doing because you’re looking for validation of the experience that you expect to have.
- You’ll be driven to do your work. The reason for that is you’re actually seeking to fill the deficiency, the void, or the fear that’s happening in the rest of your life.
- You won’t trust that you can actually do what you think you can and you may feel abandoned by the Universe when things don’t go as you expect. You’ll take it personally instead of exploring the opportunities in those kinds of moments.
- You’ll give up a lot faster because you don’t know that you can actually handle whatever happens. The obstacle has a lot of power to take the situation down; the fear can take you down.
- You won’t be present with what ‘is’. Instead, you’re going to have resentment about what’s already happened or possible be in fear about what could happen. In either case, that’s energy that’s being siphoned off of the present moment and that takes away your power to reach your greatest potential in that moment.
Any of these scenarios is something that is fairly common for entrepreneurs to experience. The good news is that fear ONLY shows up when you’re in motion! (Otherwise, it has no reason to be activated, right?)
There’s two ways to consider this transforming the fear, and you get to choose your path—it can be that you just get used to working in the fear so it doesn’t bother you as much (you don’t know that you’re working in fire) or it can be that the fear actually gets managed and minimized or even eliminated.