Fear, the instinct that helps us survive with fight or flight tendencies in extreme circumstances, can also wreak havoc due to inaction in other situations.
For people looking to come out of corporate jobs, starting a new business sounds really sexy. “What if I invest my hard work and long hours into impacting my own bottom-line vs. my employer’s?” Alas! Per the US Small Business Administration, the world of business is littered with millions of shattered aspirations. Only 20% of new businesses survive past their first year of operation.
Any employee turned business owner will tell you that foregoing the safety net of a fixed salary, venturing into the unknown and dealing with the uncertainty of where your next income comes from are not easy. Often times the aforementioned fears coupled with the omnipresent fear of failure leads to the deer in the headlight syndrome…inaction.
How can you use fear to motivate you towards action and unleash your true potential?
Make your decision
“So, Mr. / Ms. Me, what will it be? Another year of same old, same old? Or, a determined me ready to take charge?”
The decision is yours. When you sit down to make that decision, you will traverse through a jungle of sounds in your brain:
“this is good, but…”
“but what about…”
“did I consider…”
“I don’t know how?”
“Can I do it?”
Remember, you have to make a decision. Even indecision is an implicit decision of accepting the status quo.
Once you make it, own that decision. Owning means taking real steps towards implementation. You can’t be a bystander in your own life. Take charge, make the decision and go for it.
Acknowledge that it is okay to be afraid
Yes! You want to do something new, there are risks and you are bound to be afraid. Acknowledge your feelings and encourage yourself to push your boundaries gradually. You are not scaling Mount Everest in one day. Just a few steps today… maybe the plane ticket to Nepal! The key is to take a few steps, to nudge yourself outside your comfort zone just slightly and do it regularly.
Recognize your progress
How-so-ever small step you take, it is a step taking you a little closer to your goal. That step is not to be taken for granted. You have made progress. Recognize this progress. Let your brain enthrall in the glorious joy of success that it provides you enough ammunition to overcome your fears and encourage you to take a few more steps.
Remember Why You Started
In your pathway towards progress, your fears will surface again and again. By now, you know that fear is okay. Think back to your first step towards making a change in your life. Force yourself to think about the reasons why you started that process in the first place. There is a desire or perhaps a pain deep inside you that got you started. Is it your current job that has become too political, too boring and seems to suck up all your energy? Is it the frustration of going around in circles satisfying others when your own wishes stay unfulfilled? Is it the discomfort of a hurt self esteem because you got demoted or perhaps sidelined from a higher position that should have been yours? Is it the exasperation of being stuck with a boss who doesn’t know what s/he wants? Is it the fear of not having any control over your future? Is it the anxiety of not having achieved your life’s purpose yet? Is it the monotony of playing defense all the time with life’s punches?
Whatever it is, keep your motivation front and center and bring it to fight the fears when they surface again.
Now ask yourself, what steps will I take today to move closer to my goals?
About the author: Moni Singh is an entrepreneur and business leader in STEM. As the president of SFK Franchising Inc, she works with many entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs-to-be who desire to get into an educational children’s business. Her postings are colored by her own experiences marked by some failed attempts leading up to her successful transition from a corporate career to full time entrepreneurship.