OK, let’s be real. We all get afraid sometimes.
We are born with three basic fears: sudden motion, sudden approach, and loud noises. These are the same innate survival fears that keep our primate ancestors from becoming panther food. Our minds are inherently tuned to be on the lookout for attack. This would be a good thing if panthers were lurking around, but not so much in our modern day society. Our minds tend to find fear even when there isn’t a threat… even in things as harmless as dancing and singing.
In my blog on September 3, 2012, “Realizing Our Human Magnificence”, I talked about how young children freely dance and sing, but adults are generally afraid to. Without fail, I’ve found that the vast majority of adults in my classes will not raise their hands when I ask them who can dance and sing. What happened to us? The answer is that we learned to be afraid of things that can’t hurt us, even dancing and singing. The MAJORITY of our fears are made up in our heads.
“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”
~ Marianne Williamson
A handy acronym to remind you of this phenomenon is F.E.A.R., or “False Evidence Appearing Real”.
The “Appearing Real” part is important to acknowledge, because although it isn’t real most of the time, it sure does feel real. Left unchecked, fear can stop us in our tracks and keep us from our dreams of becoming successful business owners and living free lives that we love.
Before I quit my corporate job in 1998 and began my dream life as an entrepreneur, I vividly remember feeling the following fears:
What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? I’ll be without a job and income. What if I’m not able to make the same money? Maybe I’m not one of the ones who’s supposed to have freedom and abundance. A life free of working for corporate America seems too good to be true. Who am I do take this step when so many of my friends and colleagues haven’t?
What a bunch of morass! The same kind of morass that I venture to say is responsible for keeping so many from their dreams. Fortunately, I was able to move through the confusion and fear and achieve the life of my dreams, a life I wouldn’t have if I had given in to the F.E.A.R.
F.E.A.R. is a part of who we are, so I feel it’s important to not wage war against it nor to hate it. A healthier way is to coexist with it, embrace it, and honor it. After all, it has given our species the edge to survive for thousands of years. Let’s let it be there, even thank it for being there, but then put it aside and act powerfully in the face of it.
One of my mantras that I offer you is: When You Feel F.E.A.R., Do It Anyway!
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Let’s put F.E.A.R. in its proper place:
Embrace Your Fear
Begin a new relationship with your F.E.A.R. Notice when you’re afraid. Thank your F.E.A.R. for being there. Remember that it’s kept the human species around for hundreds of thousands of years, is not bad and isn’t going away anyway. Then, DO the thing that you’re afraid of anyway.
Do One Thing Each Day That Have Been Afraid to Do
When F.E.A.R. shows up, CHOOSE to act even in the face of it. Start with the simple things… Maybe you’ve been afraid to ask that special person out for a coffee, or need to have “that chat” with a loved one. Maybe you’ve been afraid to go to the bank to ask for that loan for your new business idea. You’ve been meaning to go to the local small business association meeting to present your business idea and are feeling fearful of public speaking. Develop your “Do It Anyway” muscle. Keep it going!
Listen to People Who Have What You Want
Listening to the plethora of naysayers about starting a business will do nothing but increase your F.E.A.R. levels. Most of the time these naysayers don’t have what you want nor have they ever. So, don’t listen to them! Reduce your F.E.A.R. levels by listening to those that have achieved success, KNOW that it’s possible and aren’t afraid of it. You’ll find many successful entrepreneurs in the StartupNation community who are happy to provide support and motivation. Participate on the StartupNation forums. Ask questions.
Get a Coach or Mentor
Most people that have achieved great things in life have gotten there with the guidance of a mentor. Who better to ease your fears than someone who has “Been there, done that and gotten the t-shirt”? Again, the StartupNation community itself is full of potential mentors. Approach a small business owner in your community to guide you. If you’re afraid to ask, do it anyway. What do you have to lose? Go to local chamber of commerce meetings. Look up small business organizations in your area and go to their meetings. Approach people for help. Get in the game!
Please share your thoughts, insights and experiences. Let’s support each other!
Have a F.E.A.R.-busting week, everyone!