Do you experience fear in your business? If yes, you are not alone. Fear is simply something we must all face head-on in business. If you are looking for some solid strategies to get over your fear, guest business expert, Joseph Baker delivers in this great post. Thanks Joe!
Being an entrepreneur involves walking a fine line of boldness and fear. Most business owners will admit to experiencing fear on a regular basis, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling at least a little scared at one time or another. You may fear making an investment, moving forward with launching a new product or service or getting into contact with a new client. But in order to succeed, you can’t let fear dictate the way you run your business.
Fear of the Unknown
When you’re running a business, you’re heading into uncharted territory and you’re the one who’s responsible for the success of the business. Getting past fear is the best way to keep yourself from getting stuck in a debilitating position and to drive your business into what you’ve always dreamed it could be. Giving in to fear, on the other hand, robs you of potential opportunities and ultimately holds you back from business success.
Follow Others’ Leads
Sometimes it’s helpful to look at how others have overcome their fear and gone on to build very successful businesses. For example, take Ralph Braun, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy in his childhood and was left unable to walk. Of course, he was afraid that this would hold him back from living a normal life, especially because operating a metal wheelchair was so tiring. But Braun pushed forward and came up with solutions to the problem, eventually not only inventing the first motorized wheelchair, but also pioneering the development of wheelchair accessible vans.
And his success is just one of millions of stories. If you have a mentor, she can probably give you several examples from her career of how she has benefited from facing her fear rather than running away from it.
Tips for Overcoming Fear
- Recognize that fear is a natural part of being human and running a business. It’s an emotion, and you’re going to feel it sometimes. It’s not wrong to have the fear, but it can hurt you if you let fear immobilize you. Your focus shouldn’t be on getting rid of the fear, but on moving past it.
- Stop to take several deep breaths whenever you feel a physical response to fear. Doing this will focus you back on the here and now, rather than the potential problems in the future that you’re afraid of.
- Identify what you’re actually afraid of, which is usually a possible result, not a situation itself. For example, when you’re about to make a big financial investment, you’re not afraid of making the investment; instead, you’re afraid of not being able to make up the investment in profits or not being able to keep up with your household bills in the meantime.
- Point out data to yourself to combat the fear. Following the previous example, you could point out to yourself that you have savings in the bank to tide you over, and that a similar investment last year significantly boosted your profits.
- Write down the action steps you need to go through to walk through the fear. You may need to gather data about potential options and use that to make an educated guess about what the best one is in your situation. Once you have a plan, it’s easier to stick to it because you know that it will get you through to your desired outcome.
- Don’t allow a temporary setback or perceived failure turn into a permanent defeat. Keep your eye on your desired end result and focus on these long-term results to keep pressing forward through the fear.
Overcoming fear does take some practice, and it’s helpful to have a business mentor who will encourage you to move forward, not just friends and family who may be paralyzed by the same fears you feel. After you push through and do something scary that pays off for your business, note the feeling you get. If you remember this feeling, you can look back on it next time you’re feeling scared and see the positive result that’s just waiting for you to overcome your fear.
Joseph Baker’s business experience in management spans more than 15 years. A leader of development and management teams, he also implemented budget reductions professionally and as an independent contractor. Joseph led strategic planning and systems of implementation for nine organizations, public and private, and worked extensively with small businesses.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management.