While many fears, like a fear of heights or of fire, are designed to save our lives, other fears can hold you back and prevent you from achieving (and enjoying) success. In extreme cases, fear of failure, change, or risks can have a debilitating effect on your business, too. Your company could get stuck in a rut, because you’re unwilling to try something new or face a challenge head-on.
Here’s how to overcome fear and unleash the courageous spirit within.
Separate rational and irrational fears. It’s OK to feel a few butterflies before an important interview. Or to dread going to the dentist, because you might need a root canal or a cavity filled. Those are totally rational fears. But if those fears overwhelm you and cause you to avoid giving presentations or going to the dentist, then you may have a problem. And if you’re worried that sidewalk will open up and swallow you or that you’ll pick up a deadly virus in an airplane, then those are irrational fears. Things like that are highly unlikely, so waste the time and energy worrying about it?
Visualize your desired outcome. Let’s say you were invited to give an on-camera interview for a major TV network but you were worried about how you’ll look or sound. But the payoff for giving this interview could be pretty good. You could get great publicity out of it and possibly land other interview, consulting, or speaking opportunities. Your business could really take off as a result. And if your worst fear comes true and you flub the interview, well, your fifteen minutes of fame will be soon be forgotten and you can move on. It’s possible that the network might pull the interview (worst case) or you just won’t post the video on your website. Plus, while you might not like how your hair looks or your voice sounds, plenty of people will be impressed anyway. It’s worth doing, because the potential outcome far outweighs any potential pitfalls.
Try something small that scares you. Another strategy is to perform small tasks that scare you to get into that mindset. Fear of roller-coasters or bungie jumping probably won’t have a negative impact on your business, but conquering those fears can boost your confidence and make you feel empowered to tackle other fears. So try ziplining, whitewater rafting, snowboarding, deep sea diving, ballroom dancing, or whatever else gets your heart racing. Even trying an unfamiliar food can help train your brain that new things needn’t be scary.
Face your fear! Once you’ve tried conquering other fears and visualized your desired outcome, at some point, you’ll need to face the thing that scares you most. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths, then jump in. You’ll often feel a tremendous sense of relief once you’re safely on the other side.
Successful entrepreneurs balance pragmatism with a willingness to face the unknown and take calculated risks. Overcoming fears and embracing new things will help take your business to the next level and enrich your personal life.© Copyright 2010 Ali Brown