This week at the Morgan County Women in Business we discussed fear. When we went around the room, everyone had a different fear until we had a list of about 10 or 15 fears. I was looking through the list, and a lot of them resonated with me. A lot of them I had already overcome.
Believe it or not, entrepreneurs experience fear. We all are afraid of something. It is going beyond the fear where the most significant success occurs. The only way to get past fear is to get through it.
What helps me with fear?
Having a Cheerleader
I never imagined jumping out a perfectly good airplane. I belonged to a group that did adrenaline junkie activities and I decided one day to go with them. Thank goodness the first time I jumped out of an airplane I was tandem or I would have frozen and not jumped. Once out of the airplane, 14,000 feet above the earth, it was a magical, lovely experience.
On my 50th birthday, I walked into Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail and celebrated my ability to be there and truly enjoy one of the top Wonders of the World. The next day was the most fearful experience I experienced with my secret fear of heights, Huayna Picchu and the Stairs of Death. I literally clung to the side of the wall and climbed down backward hyperventilating the entire time. I was so scared — my friend Linda and the guide cheering me on the whole way.
I have not accomplished many of the things that made me afraid without a friend, or cheerleader, by my side. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to know and love so many great people.
Identify and Analyze my Fears
I get specific about what I am afraid of. I write down each and everything that I am afraid of then analyze the fear with the questions:
- What is the worst thing that could happen?
- Is the answer already no?
- Would the person reject me if I asked?
- Is it so dangerous I could die?
These questions help me identify and analyze my fears logically so that my emotions and anxiety don’t take over. If I can logically explain that the fear is silly, then I will be able to work through the fear.
Visualize the Future
I find when I am stuck that I do what Mel Robbins says and time travel. I try to see where I will be at in two years. I try to picture putting that fear in a box and moving forward. If I want the future I envision, then fear needs to be overcome, and the steps to accomplish that goal will follow a plan.
I don’t do well with the small dose theory. The gradually do a little more of your fear until you overcome it. I do better with the head on approach. Just do the thing that you are fearful of and get over it. Like Mel Robbins says, “5-4-3-2-1.” Jump in. Don’t look back. Again.
What is the worst thing that could happen?
In our discussion, we talked a bit about the fear of public speaking. Moreover, how the people in the audience can make fun of the speaker having a hard time. The reality is…why aren’t they up there? Compassion goes a long way with other people’s fear and your own. Be kind to yourself. Realize you are afraid and give yourself a break. Be grateful for everything you have accomplished and the talents you have to overcome your fears.
The longer you avoid the fear, the more you will consider yourself a failure. You will continue to beat yourself up because you did not overcome that fear. Especially a perceived small fear that promotes your self-weakness. Every time get through something you are afraid of your confidence increases.
Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
~ Mark Twain
Don’t become a prisoner to your fear.
Linda Rawson, is the Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, inventor of WeatherEgg, and the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started