Scene: There’s a terrified damsel trapped at the top of a stone tower, gesturing and calling for help. A knight in gleaming silver armor rushes forward, brandishing a mighty sword and defeats the fire-breathing dragon threatening her. The day and the lady are saved.
What if you’re the damsel in distress? Who will banish your dragons? OK, wait a second. What if YOU’RE the knight AND the damsel? Can you conquer your own fears and make yourself safe?
Can you take on your own business and marketing fears and win?
Yes, you can. It’s so important to work with your fears around your business and explore them, because then your juicy goals become much more attainable and real. Some of the most common entrepreneurial fears include:
–Fear of being rejected
–Fear of seeming too "sales-y"
–Fear of failure
–Fear of being seen as a fraud
–Fear of following up with prospects
Based on years of observation and research, I created my six-step process to identifying, naming, embracing, and ultimately conquering your fears. Here it is:
1) Identify How Your Fear Expresses Itself
Sometimes fears can be hard to identify because they aren’t clearly presented as such; fears express themselves in different ways. These "fear-based expressions" are so important to identify and pay attention to because they can really wreak havoc with your business and prevent you from attaining the success you dream about.
There are three main fear-based expressions:
a) Physical: Fear expressed in your body as a physical symptom. This could be a stomachache, a headache, or that old knee injury reappears.
b) Self-Doubt and Criticism: This is when you tell yourself things like, “I’m not good at marketing!" or "I don’t have a head for business." or "Who do I think I am? I don’t deserve to succeed."
c) Self-Sabotage: This is when you put obstacles in your own way. This soothes your fears by sabotaging you and your goals so you "can’t" reach them. The sabotage can be becoming indecisive, "losing" documents, forgetting to set the alarm, deciding to do the laundry instead of writing the newsletter, on and on.
Action Step: Make a list of all the physical, self-doubt based, and self-sabotage based ways fear plays out in your life.
2) Name Your Fear and Embrace It
It’s time to name your fear, feel it in your body, and embrace it. If fear is the big elephant in the room and it’s not named or welcomed, then you can never really get to know it well enough to ask it to go away.
Action Step A: Name Your Fear. Simply name it. "I am scared of networking," or "I am scared of losing this client," etc.
Action Step B: Feel the fear in your body. Close your eyes and notice where the fear lives in your body. Do you feel it in your shoulders, stomach, chest? How does your fear affect you physically?
Action Step C: Embrace Your Fear. Write down your fear. Tape it to your mirror. Maybe send it in an email to yourself or your best friend. However you do it, make it a point of embracing the thing that you are scared of. This simple act will take some of the emotional charge out of the fear and allow you to see it for what it really is.
3) Track Your Fear
Fears often have repeating behaviors that can provide us with a wealth of information to help us let go of their painful and obstructive qualities. First, track what triggers the fear, and then you can see – and also track – how your fear behaves once it’s triggered.
Action Step: Become a detective for a day or two and track your fears. Create a chart that includes the following:
- Date & Time
- What the Fear Is
- People Who Triggered the Fear
- Situations That Triggered the Fear
- How You Express the Fear
- How Long the Fear Lasts
4) Determine How Your Fear Serves You
Every single one of your fears, no matter how big or small, serves or protects you in some way. If you can determine how your fear serves you, what need it fulfills, then you will understand it more and be able to find other, more productive ways to serve that need.
Action Step: Put aside about 15 minutes to journal. Take a few moments first to visualize what your fear looks like. Give it a shape or a body or a color. Perhaps it has a smell or a texture or a voice. When your fear has visually come into focus, ask it: "Fear, how do you serve me?" Write the response your fear gives you. Next ask the fear, “What lesson are you here to teach me?" and write that response.
5) Bless Your Fear
Before we can ever let anything go or transform it, we need to acknowledge the place it has had in our lives and the purpose it has served. Now that you know the purpose your fear has served, bless it.
Action Step: Sit quietly, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to get grounded and connect inwards. Name the fear you are ready to bless and focus on it. Let it know that you appreciate the ways it has protected you and looked after you. Let it know that you’ve learned the lesson it wanted to teach you and that it can now move on.
6) Choose a Different Way
The final step is to choose and create a different way of protecting or serving yourself. For example, let’s say your fear of starting your own business was protecting you from failing at that business. Instead of letting your fear prevent from launching your dream, choose to protect yourself from failure in another way: do extensive research into that business field and how others have succeeded in it.
Action Step: Find an action step or belief that will replace your fear. Write it down, and remember it.
Congratulations! You now know so much about your fear: how it expresses itself in your life, what’s at risk for you, what triggers your fear, and how that fear serves you. You have had the courage to get up close to your fear, examine it, embrace it, and even acknowledge it for the lessons and opportunities it has brought you.