Taking Action Even When You’re Scared to Death

My ’21 Kick Off Piece

Fear is a normal emotion. Sometimes, it can be beneficial because it makes you aware of risks, keeps you alert, and improves mental focus. However, too much fear will have the opposite effect. Don’t fret as even the most successful people experience this feeling. The key is to prevent it from dictating your actions.

It’s like that saying “You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to it”. Seek a balance of heightened awareness, but stay away from panic. I’ll explain.

The Many Shades of Fear

alone man person sadness
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This human emotion isn’t all black and white. Fear can take many forms, from mild anxiety to downright debilitating overthinking. Under certain circumstances, it can protect you from danger and stop impulsive behaviors. But, because it’s closely tied into your gut instinct, it can also help you improve your decision making.

But not all types of fear are good for you. In fact, this emotion often does more harm than good. It can keep you from reaching your full potential, fuel procrastination, and cause stress. This is the birthplace of Mañana No Mas! for me as I was helping many folks launch their businesses, stuck in fear.

Let’s say you want to quit your 9-to-5 job and start a creative agency or work as a freelance web designer. You might be afraid that you’ll lose time and money if things don’t work out as you planned. What if you won’t have enough clients? Or what if you get sick and can’t work anymore?

The risks are real, so it’s normal to experience fear. However, you’ll never know what you’re missing if you don’t try. Who knows? You might have a huge success and build a loyal customer base. Five years from now, you could have enough money to buy the home of your dreams. Do you want to live your life wondering What if?

How to Conquer Your Fear

group of young multiethnic cheerful colleagues having party after workday
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to get rid of fear completely. Instead, you should make it your ally.

Picture yourself reaching your goal, whatever it is. Imagine the worst-case scenario and then come up with a backup plan. Ask yourself: what are the facts? Am I making assumptions? What’s the best thing that can happen? Who can I call for help?

Use your fear as a source of guidance. Assess your inner fears and seek possible solutions. Using our example above, you could start a web design side hustle in addition to your regular job. This way, if your business fails, you’ll still have an income. If it keeps growing, turn it into a full-time job. With this approach, you’ll get to do what you want and mitigate risks.

One of the things I do when I am launching a new initiative or coaching a client is look forward to forecasted obstacles and have a game plan ready. It may not manifest itself in the exact way… but the preparation exercise keeps you more nimble and ready to act. Remember the book by John C. Maxwell – Failing Forward. It’s ok to have some glitches along the path to your success.