How To Get Fear Off Your Business Back

By:
You want to know a secret? My clients and class participants all trust me to hold confidentiality with the most intimate details of their business, but I'm going to go public with one detail I know. I'm going to tell you the straight-up fact, the one that no one tells anyone else.

They all get scared. Gut-clenching scared. Scared witless. (And me, too.)

If you're going to be a business owner, especially in the early years of the start-up phase (yes, the start-up phase is not 90-days long- it's about three years- look for another article on that mythical subject coming soon) then fear is going to be your friend.

You hear all these buzz phrases about fear, such as 'Well, you know, fear stands for False Experience Appearing Real. So, just overcome your fear! Come'on!'

Baloney. Tell that to me when my mortgage is due in three days, and the money coming in is half what I need it to be. Who wouldn't be scared?

Anyone who is building a small business gets scared. It's normal.

Scared about the money. Scared about whether anyone likes what you're offering. Scared about whether you are doing the right thing. Just plain nervous, anxious, and frightened.

So, if it's so common, how come it's so hard to deal with it?

Well, the main thing about fear isn't that it's hard to deal with. It's that it's so hard NOT to deal with it. Avoiding fear is hard. 'Overcoming' fear is a herculean task. But it's easy to just be scared.

You are allowed to be scared. There is no one else who isn't scared at times. Give yourself time to be afraid (and it doesn't always have to wake you up at 3am in the morning because you didn't let yourself be scared during your work day.)

When scared, say to yourself: "This is normal. It's okay. I'm allowed to be scared."

What is fear? Did you ever have a friend, or a parent, or a spouse who, when you were about to rush out the door to an important event, grabbed you and said, 'Hold it, don't forget your lunch, and your ticket to get in!'

Fear is that friend.

Fear in business doesn't come up because you did something wrong, you're doomed, or you look funny. :) Fear comes up because you're not seeing some gorgeous, valuable and much-needed jewel right where you're standing, and it will absolutely not let you go out that door without it.

Maybe, just maybe, instead of trying to 'overcome' your fear, you should listen to it?

But, there is a trick to listening to fear, without which you won't find what's right in front of your face. Want to learn the trick, and read an example of how it works?

Keys to Hearing Your Fear

Notice the physical sensation of fear- and revel in it.

Fear has physical sensations- what are they for you? In other words, how do you know you're afraid? For me, my low belly has a hollow-dropped-out feeling. Then, my reaction to the hollowness is to clench my shoulders, my chest, and my jaw so I stop breathing as deeply- it keeps me from feeling the hollowness.

If I slowly relax the clenching, and focus in on the hollow feeling I notice, hey, it's just a hollow feeling. I let myself get intimate with it- really feel that hollow feeling, get comfortable and familiar with it. Breath into it. Already you should start to feel more spacious and calm.

What's the story the fear is telling, and what is the core of truth in it?

Your fear is talking to you. It's often saying things like, "You can't do this." "You shouldn't be doing this." "It will never work." Things like that.

The funny thing is, most of the time these phrases are TRUE- but incomplete. For instance, "You can't do this... alone." Or, "You shouldn't be doing this... right now." Or, "It will never work... if you don't rest."

A warning signal brings through an important message for you, but then you clamp down from the fear, and miss the most critical and helpful part of the message. Bummer. But, it's never too late to get the rest of the message.

How can you access this message? Once you settle into the physical part of the fear, accept the message you are hearing, "You can't do this..." as true, and then ask in your heart, with a willingness to be surprised, for the rest of the message. It may take awhile, so be patient.

My example: "You shouldn't be here."

It was one of my first times co-teaching with Dr. John Wadude Laird, someone who has been a spiritual teacher of mine for years. Fear was telling me 'You shouldn't be here,' and I was feeling small, awkward, and out of place. Scared witless, actually. I spoke up in the class to deliver a point, and immediately felt worse- the fear shot way up.

After class Wadude (it's a spiritual name that means 'The Loving'... I could've taken the hint, eh?) came up to me and said: "I need to talk to you, after I talk to this person." My fear jumped another ten notches. I wasn't imagining it- he was going to blast me! I went to the bathroom, washed, and came back, steeling myself for the firing squad.

Here's what he said:

"Mark- it was a hard decision to hire you for this position, because other people had been around longer. But, after teaching with you, I absolutely know deep in my heart that we made the right choice."

Stunned, I thanked him, and walked away. What happened? I went through the two steps above, it took me about 30 minutes, but I eventually heard the whole message: "You shouldn't be here, in this psychological place of doubting yourself, because you are trusted and loved, and you are in the right position."

So, what message about your business has your friend Fear been shouting herself hoarse trying to get through to you?
Entrepreneurship
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Entrepreneurship