Fear. It is such a little word. Only four letters long, but so intimidating! I know there are some other four-letter words I like much better than fear! Hope, rain, love....wait....were you thinking of some other four-letter words??
We bump up against fear all the time. We're supposed to be aware of fear and consequences. It is what keeps up from doing some of the dumb stuff that sounds like such a good idea in the planning stages. Fear has probably played a big part in keeping the species alive and keeping individual humans safe.
Anyone who has dealt with a child who is afraid of the dark knows this. It doesn't matter how many times you assure a three-year old they are safe, and there isn't anything scary hiding in their room....it is real to them. That is the time to be patient and loving until they overcome it.
When it comes to our business, fear can paralyze us and keep us from reaching our goals. Several weeks ago, on my personal Facebook page, I mentioned that I have terrible stage fright before every client meeting or phone call. I wasn't being cute. It isn't pretty. But I know that the fear is temporary, and once I get into my groove, I'll be fine. I could avoid all of that yucky, uncomfortable fear by *not* having client meetings or phone calls. I'm sure there are some people who can conduct business entirely via email, but I'm not one of them. And, honestly, I get a little bit of stage fright with email too. I put up with the bits that are scary and uncomfortable so I do can the thing I love - helping people get over their fear of marketing themselves.
"It Doesn't go away...its a useless thing. its not really very positive. And it is just like a little gremlin that sits on your shoulder and tries to make you fail." - Alan Rickman on fear
In the quote above, Alan Rickman is talking about fear and acting, but I think it applies to other areas of life as well. You can watch the three-minute video here.
Basically, fear is a pain in the butt and we all have to deal with it.
One of my kids' favorite movies is The Croods, where the family motto is "Never not be afraid!" because in their world doing or trying new things means death.
But staying stuck in fear and not doing things because they are scary means your business can't move forward.
Fear leads to:
Stagnation - always doing the same things because they are safe.
Procrastination - doing new things is scary! Putting off growing your business or doing important tasks because they are intimidating isn't effective in the long run (and can cause some pretty big headaches!)
Overcompensation (aka The Dark Side) - just like putting everything off because of fear, trying to take on everything and be super-human isn't effective either. In fact, it is a good recipe for burn out!
When you bump up against something that feels scary, take a moment to examine the emotions and reasons behind the fear.
Is it fear of being visible?
Is it fear of failure?
Is it fear of being wrong?
Is it fear of not being good enough?
Is it a fear that is helpful and useful and keeps you safe?
Or is it a fear that sits in the road and blocks your path?
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.