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4 ways to beat fear

Uncategorized Dec 28, 2017

We’ve all heard of ‘fight or flight’ our natural response to danger to avoid our impending doom. But as business owners we are rarely faced with life threatening situations and the fear we experience these days is more likely to be a fear of falling short of expectations, being judged or a fear of failure.

Our response to this kind of fear. whilst maintaining our dignity and preserving our image, can be disastrous when trying to grow your business. It can disguise itself as procrastination or being busy, it can manifest as self-sabotage and the result is the most excruciating frustration of being stuck and unable to grow to the next level.

Mpower Expert, Emily Thorpe, shares 4 ways to ease your fear and avoid staying stuck.

The first tool you can use is to logically identify what outcome it is that is keeping you stuck. I once heard someone talk about their fear of jumping off a diving board as a child; each time they mustered up the courage to climb up onto the board, their fear enveloped them and they had to climb back down. They later reasoned that as they hadn’t seen other children being rushed to hospital after disastrous diving attempts the probability that they would hurt themself was unlikely.

Often our fears can be of a more emotional nature than physical and a fear of rejection must rank highly. What if no one turns up at my event? What if no one signs up to my programme? What if no one likes my video? What if I get negative feedback?

A long time ago when I was training to be a life coach my coach wanted me to understand that, the idea of rejection was worse than the actual event. She asked me to go in to one of the best jewelers in town, walk up to the counter and ask if they sold any sausages! Of course I knew before I went in that I would be rejected and probably feel ridiculous, if not completely humiliated, but I did it anyway and survived. Sometimes logic and common sense can prevail.

Our second tool involves us pushing out of our comfort zone. One of the quickest ways to overcome fear is to embrace new challenges and get used to pushing through the resistance you feel.

As we grow older we can become more habitual and less adventurous, we get stuck in our ways and our lives become very safe, this can result in our confidence shrinking. We’ve forgotten how it feels to be a novice, knowing nothing, unsure and running the risk of making a fool of ourselves. It is worth looking at our children for inspiration, they are constantly trying new things, learning new skills and taking it all in their stride.

Trying new things, even small insignificant ones like eating something different at breakfast, watching a different programme or driving a different way to work, can give us the experience of being outside our comfort zone, without disastrous consequences, that can then encourage us to be braver still.

The third way to overcome fear is to look for evidence of others doing what you want to do. Whether it’s public speaking, making videos or writing a book, someone else is sure to have walked that path before you. Finding examples of people ‘already doing it’ has twofold benefits;

  • Firstly you can see the most effective way of doing the task, you can learn from their mistakes, follow their shortcuts and avoid reinventing the wheel.
  • Secondly you have evidence of what is possible – ‘if they can do it…SO CAN YOU’.

The final insight I would like to share is around the ‘fear of failure’.

Sometimes it can simply be the fear of failing that stops us from ever trying. This seems to make perfect sense until you appreciate that by staying where you are, you are no closer to success, than if you had tried and failed.

Also there are huge benefits to failure, which should not be overlooked.

  • When you fail it means you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and stretching yourself. This growth will lead to success.
  • When you fail you build your resilience. Knowing you can pick yourself up and start again will make you stronger.
  • When you fail you get creative. You will find new ways to get things done, if you can’t go over the mountain, you can find a way around it.
  • When you fail you learn. You will gain experience and confidence with each attempt.

In summary fear is a useful tool to prevent us from falling off a cliff at Beachy Head, but when it comes to building and running a business it tends to just keep us playing small and denies us the possibility of fulfilling our potential.

Use the four tools above to break free from your fear and leap into the unknown.

“And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?” 
― Erin Hanson


Emily Thorpe is a qualified Life Coach and facilitates Mpower mastermind groups in Brighton and London

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