Power down fear.

Fear is the reason action doesn’t happen. Fear makes us stand still. It can paralyse your business. When fear creeps in we return to what we know. We don’t take risks, we keep doing what we feel comfortable doing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can power down fear and take away its impact.

If we want to move forward we need to work on the understanding that the feeling of fear can also be an indicator of progress. It can make us feel uncomfortable. This is because we are not sure what will happen. The best way to predict what is going to happen is to use our previous experiences and make an educated guess as to what is likely to happen. When we don’t have previous experiences to go on, then we are in uncharted territories and that can be both exciting but also scary.

Fear is in us to keep us safe. But there are so many fears that are irrational. Research has shown that the only real fears are the fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises. Which means we have learned all the other fears as part of our life’s journey.

We learn fear from an early age as children. Our parents tell us to be careful of many things. Once we hit school our teachers introduce new information about things we should fear. Don’t even get me started on the stress kids are put under for tests and exams. Even advertising tells us what to fear. Fear sugar, fear junk food, fear not having the latest trends in clothing. Modern marketing has taught us to be fearful of what others think of us. We need to own the right car, wear the right brands, and own the right phones. Otherwise, what will people think? We begin to doubt what we think, what we do, who we are and in our abilities to make the right choices.

The good news is that because we can learn fear, we can unlearn fear. This, however, s not something that is easy to do. Fear that has been built up over time is not going to disappear overnight. It can be done. Look at all the reality tv shows that get people to face their fears of heights, of spiders, of snakes, clowns, crowds, bugs, and all manner of things. The best thing about these shows is that it proves that fears can be overcome.

Fear conditioning explains why if you are attacked by a dog, you fear dogs. If you see someone attacked by a dog or if your parents told you to fear dogs from an early age, you will also fear dogs. This is something that we can rationally understand. If a dog attacks you, you learn to fear them, but that is completely understandable, but it is also something that can be worked on and overcome. Building up trust that not all dogs will attack you is possible. There are programs you can do to overcome this fear.

But what about fear of doing things in business? This is much harder to understand exactly where these fears have come from.

A common fear business people have is the fear of phoning clients. This is not because you are going to be physically harmed by making the phone call. No big scary sharp dog teeth ripping onto you here. It’s not because you don’t like the person on the other end of the call. It’s not because you expect that the person on the other end of the phone is nasty or mean. It’s not a fear we are born with, hey there are things called call centres where people do this for a living! It’s often because you fear them saying no. It’s about rejection, it’s about being told you are too expensive, that they can’t come and pick up an order because they don’t have enough money at the moment. Negative, negative, negative. Having to explain yourself and what you do and why they need to pay their bill and why you cost what you do. This has created a fear that is learned over time. A fear that brings some to the point of not wanting to make or receive calls anymore, and avoid the process completely. This can’t be good for getting new business, talking to customers and providing great customer service. But this is a learned fear. And it can be unlearned like all fears.

This is just one example of a business fear that can paralyse your business.

Public speaking is another. The fear of getting up in front of a heap of people and speaking can stop you in your tracks. Just thinking about it can be scary. We fear being laughed at, ridiculed, picked on, or making a fool of yourself. It can stop us accepting great opportunity to talk to groups of people. But what is more likely is that you do a great job, you talk about stuff people are interested in, and the fear was irrational.

What about the “burying the head in the sand and being busy for the sake of being busy!” Taking on so much work that you don’t have time to do any of the stuff that you really need to do, or that you enjoy doing, because you are so busy? A fear of quiet times in your business, that if you’re not busy you can’t be successful. And a panic if you are not flat out doing the work in the business, instead of on the business, that your business will fail. We have always been told that we need to work hard and work many hours to be successful and because that is what we know from previous experience, we think that is the only way to become successful. Workaholics often fear not working. But according to “psychology today” another dynamic is occurring that has a profoundly negative effect on the personalityhealth, and values of the work-obsessed individual. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-workaholics/201204/the-workaholic-breakdown-syndrome-six-fears).  Now in saying that I am not saying to sit around and do nothing. You need to do the work to get what needs to be done, just don’t be busy for the fear of the quiet times.

How do we work on business fears? Like all blocks, you first need to admit that you have one and then work through why? It won’t change until you admit the fear. Once you acknowledge the fear, you can then work through it. You can work out why the fear exists and what might have gotten you to the fear that you have right now. It’s not easy to take a good look at what you fear.

Knowing what path you need to take, and what risks that brings, you will start to work out a path through the fears that you might have. You will become more at ease as to what the outcomes might be. You will understand why you react in particular ways. You will decide what size risk you feel comfortable taking and you will be able to decide what steps you will take to make things happen. You will also have a Plan B. The plan that you are happy to take if the first path fails. The plan you have in place if the worst happens. By looking at what your plan b might look like, you can then decide if you are comfortable for that to take the risks associated with it, and what you will do if things go wrong. Often said about risk is that the bigger the risk, the greater the reward. This is often true, but you need to know what the risks are and if you are prepared to take the risk to get the reward.

Going into any business is a risk. But if you understand the goals to achieve, and the path you are going to take you have a much better chance of your business being successful.