Fear is a powerful and useful emotion. It keeps us safe, it keeps our world predictable, and it literally keeps us alive.
However, our brain and our physical body may not be able to usefully interpret the stimulus, seeing as we were hard wired prior to starting our businesses and all sorts of complexities introduced to our experience by our amazing and modern world.
Thus, FEAR is a useful, but perhaps mismatched resource when we think about our professional challenges. If you are not in physical danger, your fear may be holding you back when you're actually OK to move forward.
Below, I take you through 2 of my favorite fear exercises. Here we acknowledge our fear, and use some tools to separate the paralyzing thought and feeling from ourselves. We are not our thoughts. We are not our feelings. We are not our actions.
Below are 2 powerful activities for any moment where you are feeling afraid:
A "Focus Wheel"
<picture attached is a Focus Well I did this morning>
Draw a large + sign on a piece of paper.
Then draw a large 'x' that bisects the +, giving you eight spaces with in which to write.
Write down the thought that is freaking you out, I usually start at 11 o'clock, but some people choose 8 o'clock, whatever visually makes sense to you.
Moving counter-clockwise around your wheel, in the next quadrant write the next best thought, whatever you KNOW to be true, but feels 1 degree better than your original thought.
Ex. I am terrified to start a business.
Ex. 2 I have never started a business, so it's expected to be scared.
Ex. 3 I started a new project at work that freaked me out, but I started it, so I know I can start things.
Repeat until you close the wheel.
Again, begin with the thought you are telling yourself, write it down. Then answer the following questions. Please write your response down, anywhere, there's no right or wrong answer, go with what pops into your head first.
Start by asking yourself, how true is this thought / feeling?
Do I know, 100% this is a FACT?
What happens when I believe this thought (how do I feel? what do I do? how do I act?)
Let's pretend that thought doesn't exist. Who would I be or how would I act, and what would I do?
We have the opportunity to choose whatever thought, feeling, or action will get us the results we seek.
So, thank your fear. Acknowledge its useful role. It's kept you safe. Maybe it doesn’t know you're not in danger, and reassigning it’s job role will get you better results. I like to ask my fear to worry about my bills (like my house insurance, that was due on the 10th, eek!).
When it comes to business, fear may fulfill your needs, but unless your business is being robbed, it my not give you the actions that illicit the results your desire. Looking for control, sustainability, liquidity, and risk gives you information to make decisions and choose effective action.
Honestly, fear is shifted by loving it. Understand where it comes from, and that usually boils down to a past experience, or a future that has not yet come to pass. Meaning, fear doesn’t exist NOW, whatever is scary happened, or it hasn’t happened yet. Gaining this awareness allows you to actively engage in your current situation, seeking factual information upon which to build action.
The suggested exercises get you just far away enough from your fear to gain understanding and perspective. What would you do without that fear? Who would you be without that fear?