Why does it seem so big and scary? Its because its a huge issue. Everyone faces fear. Washingtonpost.com sites these as the top ten fears in America:
- Public Speaking
- Bugs, Snakes & Animals
- Zombies (my personal favorite. You have to believe in Zombies to be afraid of them, right???)
In some ways I find it comforting that all people face fears. If everyone faces fears that means I’m not alone, and you aren’t either. In Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, he says the biggest fear is the fear of poverty. When faced with the fear of starting a business I believe that he’s absolutely correct. Fear is a massive deterrent. Our fear of loss is so great that we’d just as soon not take the risk.
The best tool to overcoming fear is facing your fear. Our brains, thought processes, and subconscious have such an amazing ability to build up fears in our minds. When fears bounce around in our thoughts and grow, they because overwhelming and seem insurmountable. By facing that fear and taking action in fear you will work to overcome it.
What happens when you face fear
I’m not a big fan of heights (and according to Washingtonpost.com not many of you are either). I had a wonderful opportunity recently to overcome this fear. A couple of years ago my business coach insisted that my business partner and I go to a ropes course with him. I didn’t know for sure what would be there and I didn’t want to go. However, I don’t like to let others know that I have fears, so I went. When we arrived we went through a few very easy mellow activities, then we were taken to a set of telephone poles. These poles were really high up, I don’t know for sure how high they were, but they were high. There were two telephone poles and we each had to climb one. When we got to the top we had to both (at the same time) navigate across a set of wires. There was a wire on top for your hands and one at the bottom to walk on. Coming from opposite sides we had to simultaneously walk towards each other. When we reached our partner we had to cross them — up like 50’ in the air! Doing it alone would have been challenging, but doing it with another person was crazy!
What I learned that day is that heights aren’t as bad as they seem and that I’m a great encourager. I didn’t want to do it, but my partner wanted to do it even less. When it got down to it, I was encouraging her to take the leap. When given an opportunity to encourage someone else, I have the ability to not focus on my fear. I didn’t want to do this activity. I would have just as soon put needles under my fingernails, but at the end of the day I did it. I felt accomplished and I really did learn a lot about myself, my business partner and how we worked together.
In Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, Harv Eker states that “one of the biggest differences between rich people and poor people is that rich people are willing to act in spite of fear. Poor people let fear stop them.”
Fear isn’t a problem; it’s a habit
I have an 18 year old son and it’s been interesting watching him grow through the years. As all people do, he has food preferences. I wouldn’t classify him as a picky eater, but he does have foods that he doesn’t like. What’s been so interesting is watching his eating habits change. He’s always hated beans. One night I put some beans on his plate, just because, and just because he ate them. What happened next was pretty cool. He said, I really like these beans. He’d been disliking them for so long that he hadn’t given them a chance to be good. He was in the habit of disliking beans. It’s just like that with our fears, we know that we have this specific fear so instead of letting that fear go we focus on it. We make it larger and larger and we avoid that situation. We cultivate our fear, we nurture our fears until they are no longer manageable, because we’re in the habit of having the fear. In some ways it defines who we are. Get out of the habit of your fears.
I believe that I have a purpose in life. I believe that I was put here on this planet for a reason and I have faith in that purpose. Faith is the antidote to fear. We were in the mountains recently. I’m a California beach girl and I’ve spent very little time in the snow. On our week long trip we didn’t get any snow until about 10 hours before we were scheduled to leave. As we pulled out of the driveway the snow was falling and my fear was rising. I didn’t want to drive in the snow. I had a fear of sliding off the mountain or wrecking our car. However, I was able to combat this fear with faith. I have faith that I’ve got a mission and that my time here isn’t up because I need to complete that mission, bringing to life my purpose. As we drove over the mountain that thought played over and over in my mind- I have faith that we’re going to be fine because I have a purpose that is yet to be fulfilled. Now the snow was really quite beautiful and wonderful. The drive was easy and traffic was light. I had no good reason to fear, but fears aren’t reasonable. When we feel fear we need to face it head on. We can’t let fear control our lives. You have a lot to offer the world and fear is simply holding you back from delivering all you have to those around you. Develop your faith and your fear will subside.
If you’re thinking about starting a business, but you feel an overwhelming sense of fear, commit to overcoming that fear. Anthony Robbins in his book Awaken the Giant Within says,
“All too often, the security of a mediocre present is more comfortable than the adventure of trying to be more in the future.”
Isn’t this so true? We are so comfortable with our current situation, no matter how unfulfilling, that we aren’t able to step out to see what true rewards could be sitting just on the other side of our fears. Security and fear are both the same motivators. Seeking security comes from insecurity, which is fear. The only reason we want to be secure is because we fear not being secure. What are we losing out on by not facing those fears?
Face your fears and do what you know you need to do to be the person you want to be.