“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Fear—the mere thought of the word can make you feel...fearful.
Fear is designed to confuse you. Make you doubt yourself. Paralyse you long enough to miss opportunities designed to advance you and your dream. But don’t let it.
As someone who’s struggled with fear for most of my life, I’ve had to learn to pursue my dreams afraid. Take leaps with shaking limbs and sweaty palms. You have to create mechanisms to help you press through the paralysis and move. Here are some of the most common ways that fear shows up and what you can do to work through them.
Fear of Failure. You believe that a past failure means you will repeat the same mistake. Family and friends are reminding you of the first business you tried that didn’t work. Never mind that you were 14 years old and it was a summer thing. Be willing to honestly assess what went wrong with your past experiences.
Did you spend everything the business made on yourself without reinvesting in new supplies? Did the business fail because you were not willing to pay attention to what the customers wanted? Was your store in the wrong location? If your business relies on foot traffic then it’s important to be in a location that has a lot of visibility and easy to access. If moving is not possible, then find new ways to promote your store.
Were you inconsistent in showing up to work? It is important to honor your commitment to open your business on time. You can turn potential clients off because you open and close whenever you feel like it. Emergencies can happen but a better option is to allocate a few hours on a particular day that you will close to pay bills and handle your personal and business affairs. Make sure your shop signs and other communications mention this short closure.
It may even be a personal failure that is causing you to think you will fail at business too. We all experience challenges but when we can learn from our mistakes we can improve our chances of overcoming and succeeding.
Fear of Inadequacy. What does she know about running a business? Anything you don’t know you can learn. I spend months on end researching different methods of delivering a service before I launch a new business. I am constantly searching for alternative ways to solve a problem. At times when it gets overwhelming, I close out all other sources of knowledge and look within. Know that your spirit has the answer. Be willing to get quiet enough to listen. Seek out support for the areas you do not feel capable of handling on your own. Take an online course in business management or in your specialists’ area. There are many ways to take classes for free or at minimal cost online.
Spend some time jotting down the successes you have had in various endeavors and recognize that you are more capable than you think.
Fear of Success. A radio show host recently asked me if there was such a thing. Yes. You know you are on to a good thing. Your idea is solid and frankly you know that no one else is cut out to deliver it the way you can, yet you are stuck. You haven’t registered the domain name. You won’t even fill in the bank account application and the email to push it to the next level is still sitting in your draft folder. What are you afraid of? Succeeding? You know that if you succeed it will tax your time, it will bring you notoriety, and it will bring the judgment of others and whatever traumatic version of events you conjure up in your mind. You begin to see the cost of success outweighing the price of staying where you are.
Don’t let this fear beat you. If you are worried about the new business taking up too much time, structure it so that there are areas which can be automated and function even when you are at your children’s football game or sleeping at night. You may need to find a friend to carpool with and reduce the amount of time you spend carrying the kids to their activities. An alternative may be to adjust your price points to allow for you to pay for other services rather than trying to do it all yourself.
Know that it would be much better to have people talk about you with money in the bank to meet your personal and business needs than with nothing at all. Forget them. Head to the beach with your notepad and camera at nine in the morning when they are heading to someone else’s workplace or go island hopping and really give them something to talk about. Do not allow the voices of others to be louder in your own mind than your own.
Build a network of entrepreneurs committing to supporting each other. Find a mentor or hire a coach to guide you in the areas where you are struggling. When you have someone to hold you accountable and who will check on you at prearranged times, you can expect a nudge to push you out of paralysed mode.
God has not given you a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love with a mind that is at peace and focused on success. Be blessed.
Nerissa Golden is an award-winning Media Strategist, Business Coach and author who helps her clients accelerate their business growth by leveraging high impact communications solutions and income generating strategies. Get tips on starting and growing a business at www.trulycaribbean.net or on Twitter @trulygolden.