I’ve made quite some big changes to my life recently. I quit my full-time job, went traveling for a couple of months without a plan and I just launched my new business. And even though I consciously chose to do all these exciting things, there was this little voice at the back of my head, questioning what I was doing, doubting whether it will work. So, no matter how confident you are in any decision you make, there will always be an element of fear about it. And the best way to deal with that fear is by sitting it.
I usually work with people who are at the stage of launching their own business and I’ve noticed that, even though they have completely different lives and businesses, they share a lot of common fears between them.
“I’m scared it’s not going to work”
“I’m not sure if I can do this”
“I’m scared that not good enough”
“I feel lost and overwhelmed”
Other consultants might try and push you to look past those fears. To start focussing on the good stuff. But I take a different approach. I will ask you to take a closer look at what is driving your fears, because that’s how you truly get over them, perhaps even use it as a motivating force. But to do so, you have to recognize it, name it and then find out what you need to do to get past it.
Here are some ways you can do that:
1. find out What your fear is really about.
Most of our fear is subjective. It’s connected to how we are feeling about something that may or may not happen in the future. So to let go of that fear, you’ll need to dig deep and find out what it is trying to tell you exactly. A lot of my client’s fears point out where they are personally holding themselves back from moving forward, and what underlying beliefs are keeping them engaged with that fear. After a couple of sessions together, they often realize that they are simply scared of… growth.
Fear tells us we are moving towards the outskirts of our comfort zone. We are doing something unfamiliar, we are taking on new challenges and learning new skills. We are growing. And growth, at its heart, is really about self-acceptance. It’s about having the self-esteem and courage to be yourself, live the life you want to live and be content with simply being YOU. And that can be scary for sure. But with each fear you push through, you prove to yourself that you’re capable of overcoming something scary, and you become more confident, which in turn reduces your fears. Self-acceptance is key here folks.
2. Recognise it as fear, rather than truth.
I work with ambitious people who believe they should be able to do whatever they want to, without any doubt or fear. But there’s just one teeny tiny little problem: fear is part of us, so it’s impossible to be completely free of fear. The solution lies in how you deal with it. Whenever I feel anxious or scared or worried, I go find a quiet space and sit with my thoughts. I let them come to me, without judging, and write them all down:
“What if the clients don’t come?”
“What if people will judge me?”
“What if I’m not strong enough to run my own business?”
I write down all my these thoughts as they come and by doing that, I start seeing how irrational my fears are. Because so far, the clients did come. People will always judge and trying to control that is impossible. I am strong enough to do this because I am doing it at this very moment. So by writing down your fears, and moving them from your head to your paper, you take the power away from them. You’ll be able to see them for what they are: fears. Not truths.
3. Come up with a Plan
One of the main stress factors for my clients is a big upcoming project or event. Launching their business, presenting their product to an investor, presenting themselves at a networking event. They can only see that one big end goal and get overwhelmed with fear.
That’s when I tell them we’re gonna come up with a plan. Because a plan gives you a roadmap. It keeps you from getting overwhelmed because it helps you break down this huge adventure into smaller and doable steps, which in turn, helps you find useful ways to get that big end goal accomplished.
Start your way at the top, and break it down into smaller steps. If you have to present your business idea at a networking event, break it down into designing your presentation, deciding what you’ll wear, researching the other attendees, knowing what you want to get out of the event etc. By knowing what you’ll have to do in order to reach that big final goal, you’ll be less scared of reaching it.
How do you deal with fear at work?