We all have fears in our lives, things that we fear from our pasts and things that we fear for our futures. All too often it is fear that holds us back from doing the things we want to do most in life. We’re afraid to be honest. We’re afraid to make changes. We’re afraid we’ll be rejected. We’re afraid we’ll fail. There’s fear in uncertainty, but there is also growth in uncertainty too.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” But notice how not every word in this definition is bad. “Strong emotion” and “anticipation” and “awareness” are all things we should harness and use to our advantage when it comes to starting something new.
When starting a new business, you should absolutely have strong emotions. If you aren’t passionate about a project, you won’t see it through to the end. And it’s also okay to feel strong negative emotions – that shows you care. Disappointment and frustration are emotions you’ll feel a lot when starting a new business, but you can use those things to learn from the “mistakes” and “failures.”
Anticipation can also be used to your advantage. You’ll feel anticipation at every step of the process when starting a new business. The anticipation you feel when starting a new business is not unlike the anticipation you may feel when going on a date. On the first few dates, there is a lot of anticipation. There are a lot of unknowns and questions and a lot to look forward to, but perhaps the stakes aren’t too high yet. As you get further into a relationship – whether with a significant other or a business venture – the stakes will get higher and the anticipation will change too. And you’ll also want your customers and clients to feel some sense of anticipation as they look forward to what you do next.
Being aware of danger does not have to be a negative feeling. Instead, when you are aware of danger ahead, you have the power and ability to address it. And that is exactly what you must do with your fears: address them head-on. While some may run and hide from fear or danger, others may gather their courage and resources in order to face it.
Spending time thinking about your fears can help you and your business. Once you can identify your greatest fears, you can begin to address them. Instead of letting fear be something that stops you from taking action, turn your fear into something that motivates you.
There are typically two main categories of fears when it comes to people and when it comes to businesses:
The beauty of these two things is that they both focus on your relationship with others. You’re afraid either that 1) people will let you down or that 2) you’ll let other people down. And if you have these fears or are thinking this way, then let me tell you that your fears have HUGE potential to become motivators.
See, if your fear is related to how you will impact others rather than yourself, then it shows that you are not in this industry for yourself but for the people. You want others to benefit from your ideas. And when that is at the heart of your fear, then you can use that as motivation.
Take ownership of your life and your business by first taking ownership of your fears. Be aware of the fears that are holding you back, and turn your fears into motivators to fuel you forward.