If it scares you, do it!
Yes, you read that correctly!
Fear and self-doubt is crucial to your business.
Does that fill you with dread? Stress? Anxiety?
If you can, by the end of this, get to a stage of looking at it with excited nervousness, curiosity and determination, my message has worked.
First things first.
Fear and self-doubt are interlinked and can lead to a vicious circle: fear leads to self-doubt and when you feel unconfident with self-doubt you are fearful of trying new things, developing yourself, scaling your business and so on.
The cycle needs to be broken.
Fight or flight.
Humans are programmed with a fear factor.
It’s important that we have this. We subconsciously weigh up what we should risk and what is not worth the danger.
Turning to business and trying new things within it, it is unlikely (I am referring to the work that I do) that anything we choose to do is going to affect others or me in a dangerous and negative way.
So why do we fear change?
We are, naturally, creatures of habit and it might be difficult to jump off the hamster wheel of routine to experiment something new.
There is a big BUT coming…
What if trying something new or doing things differently achieves a better result?
Why is it that you believe not trying something is a better option than actually having a go?
How will you ever know if the brilliant idea that woke you at 3am in the morning could work?
All of the questions might be asked of a child in a different way.
The older we get, the more risk averse we become (a huge but considered generalisation when discussing this with a range of people).
It may be because older people have more responsibility and therefore feel there is more to lose.
Younger people might not have the confidence to step out of their comfort zone for the first time because, put simply, they have not been taught how to manage the process.
We are constantly preaching to our younger generation that they need to set their minds to something in order to achieve it, no matter how challenging it might be.
Sit up and listen to what is said to those around you.
Fear can be a positive feeling.
In fact, fear used in the best way possible can be made to create, build, maintain and drive you and your business forward.
A very wise lady said the same thing to me of grief.
To paraphrase, she taught me to use the grief and sense of loss I feel to strive to achieve only the best, to use the emotions I have and put them to good use so a legacy is created.
In other words, the grief or fear I feel can be used to help myself or others. I can build upon what has, in the past, made me feel low and turn it into something useful.
I am working on that daily and have received comments from people that don’t know me particularly well about how much ‘better’ or ‘alive’ I look.
They are right. I might feel no different deep down but knowing that I am using those feelings of grief (this will be fear for some) to create a legacy and something positive empowers and motivates me.
A negative fear for anyone in business creates a vulnerability that can damage their vision and objectives.
It leads to something that we all, as business owners, feel from time to time; and that is self-doubt.
What if it goes wrong?
I will have wasted my time.
How will I feel?
I don’t want to feel I have failed.
Why would I put myself through the stress?
I have enough on my plate.
The real reason for self-doubt is actually nothing to do with you and your ability.
With hard work, careful planning and good time management, you can create pretty much anything you want with the correct resources.
Self-doubt is, in fact, about comparing yourself with others.
“I couldn’t possibly do that because X does that already!”
Everybody does it already! Just not the way you do it!
“X is so much more confident than I am in delivering A, B or C!”
X is as doubtful as you are of yourself but puts the ‘confident persona’ hat on and gets to work!
Controversially, I am going to say that feeling self-doubt occasionally is good for you.
It allows you to pause and reset.
- Why did you start this?
- What are you capable of?
- How will you reach my goals?
Revisiting your mission, objectives and core values is good for anyone, whether you are full of fear and self-doubt or as confident as justice.
Being clear in what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you will get to the next stage re-establishes exactly why you are reflecting on this.
It provides an opportunity to validate what you are doing and motivates you to continue on the path you choose to take.
It’s not about anyone else. It has to be about you.
- Your decisions.
- Your values and objectives.
- Your business.
Self-doubt brings about the human element.
We all feel vulnerable from time to time.
We rise from that, through determination, strong will and self belief.
Sometimes, it takes a knock or two to realise how far we have come.
It’s good to check in to make sure self-doubt is leading you through a chapter you believe in.
“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” – Peter T. McIntyre
Fearful of doing the wrong thing is holding you back getting one of those things right.
Recognising that we can’t get everything right, but without trying we never will, is key.
Self-doubt is only something you can resolve yourself.
Nothing makes you less superior than anybody else doing what you want to do and making a success of it.
You need to put your hat on and get on with it.
"Do something that scares you every day. You have nothing to lose but fear itself." – Dalai Lama
Doubt and self-fear may be just ahead, however, it is there to test you, push you and overcome the challenges that life presents. It makes you stronger, more resilient and confident that you can do anything you put your mind to.
'Feel the fear and do it anyway' by Susan Jeffers