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The F Word: Dealing With Fear As An Entrepreneur

Fear is a dirty word in the world of business.

You’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to be confident. You’ve got to grab the opportunity with both hands and doggedly plough through until you’ve made it. You’ve no time for fear!

Well, that was the impression I got when I started my business. I didn’t dare admit how absolutely terrified I was most of the time.

And when on a recent conference call with a client, I was reminded just how much the F word goes unspoken in the entrepreneurial community when she asked with embarrassment:

“Is it normal to be so damn scared all the time?”

I wanted to reach through the computer screen when she confessed how much fear was gripping her as she launched her new business, give her a hug and let her in on a secret:

We are all scared.

There’s just so much rhetoric out there about how it’s all about your mindset and you’ve got to conquer your fear or you’ll fail. It’s hard to remember how rife fear is when you’re seeing that every day.

You think it’s just you, and believe me, it isn’t.

So instead of giving you tips to conquer your fear today, I want to tell you that…

 

Fear is OK

Obviously, it’s not the most ideal of emotions. And, yes, you’d much rather feel confident 100% of the time and go on your merry way building your successful business with no concerns.

But hear me out.

Fear is useful.

  • It keeps you on your toes and stops you getting complacent for fear of making a mistake.
  • It motivates you to work hard and keep going in the face of adversity for fear of failure.
  • It drives you to be the best you can be for fear of being mediocre.
  • It helps you listen and meet the needs of your customers for fear of being criticised.
  • It makes you rack your brains for ideas for fear of not making enough money to live.
  • Fear is not the enemy. And if you try and avoid it or walk the other way it only shouts louder.

What I’ve found through much trial and error, is that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. 

Simply accepting “today I am scared, and it’s OK” takes the sting out of fear’s tail and helps me re-focus on the task at hand. ​

It’s funny, it’s almost like dealing with a customer service issue… fear just wants to be heard and acknowledged, and know that you’ve listened.​

And if the F word is really rearing its ugly head right now, here are three things you can do right now to accept and reduce your fear. 

1. Work through the best and worst case scenarios of your fear. 

What would happen if it all works out as you want it to? What will you do if your worst fears come true? What actions would you take?

2. Ask yourself “What do I need right now?” 

Really think about it. What one thing could you do immediately that would make you feel better?

3. Do that one thing as soon as you can.

Immediately if possible. Keeping productive and doing something with your fear instead of letting it fester will help (even if you can’t see how right now).

 

On that note, I part by saying… have courage, and accept that you can’t get rid of fear but you can learn to live with it and thrive despite it. And remember…

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I’ll try again tomorrow.”

 

Jen Smith is a freelance writer and content strategist. Follow her @_JenSmith

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