Beating the fear of fear

by Joanna Pieters | Follow her on Facebook here

When I was launching my first online programme, I got completely overwhelmed. I spent ages planning, drawing up lists of content, bonuses, marketing ideas, all the things I needed to do to make it a huge success.

I’d become completely paralysed by ideas and dreams for it, and how perfect it needed to be. Until one day I decided I just needed to delay it. But just to be sure, I sat down and wrote out a list of pros and cons about putting off the launch for another month.

I was fully expecting – if not hoping – to come up with a list that told me it was definitely best to wait.

But I’d got it wrong.

Every reason for delaying was about fear.

About my fear. About my fear of not knowing how to do something. Of not knowing how to make videos, or set up online payments. About my fear of being overwhelmed and not coping. About my fear of not selling any places on it, or of producing something that people didn’t like.

The kind of fear that imagines everyone around you exclaiming: ‘Holy smokes, you really suck at this.’ Or some other phrase that only cartoon characters really say.

The fear of fear, in fact.

In the other column, though, were a whole load of reminders of why I originally came up with this crazy idea. It was a list about moving my business forwards, providing value, making money and getting to where I wanted to be.

It was a pesky list of uncomfortable truths. And it told me that there was no choice but to go forwards.

I stopped making lists and charts. I started just churning through the work.

And the programme launched. It made money. I created something I will sell again. And it worked for people, and still is working for them. That much, I know.

I also learnt things I couldn’t ever have imagined about loads of things, really nitpicky details such as how to sort Paypal payment limits and and big mindset issues about getting content out.

Yes, it was stressful, and uncomfortable, and I spent at least three months well outside my comfort zone. But I found I stopped caring, because I knew why I was doing it.

I don’t believe that delaying would have done anything except taken a month longer to achieve the same thing.

We can always rationalise not doing things. We say we need to do things better, put a bit more work into it, do some more research.

What we really mean is that we’re terrified

We’re terrified of being out there. Of taking a stance and being bold. Of those imaginary people we create, waiting to pounce with their judgement. Family, friends, complete strangers.

Out there means that people can find fault. They can tell you that your stuff is useless. They can tell you that you don’t know how to do things, that they can’t understand how you’ll ever make money.

Or they can buy your stuff, and it might just change their life.

But if you don’t get it out you’ll never give them that chance.

Look around you. What are you not doing?

There are four main areas where business leaders and owners are particularly vulnerable to not taking action.

  1. Hanging in with clients or a market who just don’t get you or your business. They drain you, and the pain and energy they take really doesn’t make up for the money they bring in.
  2. Sticking with staff or suppliers that don’t really want what you want. They’re delivering just enough to avoid a crisis. You know that if you really improved their performance or replaced them, things could hugely shift – but that voice in your head is warning you of how much hassle it could be.
  3. Getting out you new programme, website, or product. Because it’s not perfect. Because you don’t know whether people will actually like it, or buy it. Because you don’t know whether your pricing is right. Just because.
  4. Getting out and selling. Because someone not buying is kind of a rejection, right?

Here’s what to do

Identify which of those areas resonate for you.

Then take some paper – now – and draw two columns. On one sheet, write down the pros and cons of taking action right now, versus taking action next month.

What does it tell you?

Look hard at your reasons for delaying. If you find that fear, hesitation, reluctance, is behind a lot of it, ask yourself what the reward is. Is it strong enough to motivate you through it? If not, it’s maybe not important enough to you. If it’s not important enough, it shouldn’t be taking up your mental space at all. Decide to stick with it as you are. That’s ok too.

You might not schedule everything for this month. We all have competing demands on our time. But prioritise. Schedule. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth making it happen.

And as for that fear, or fear of fear?

Shine the light on it.

Set your purpose.

Understand what will make you keep going when things get tough.

And get out there.

Who do you know who’s struggling to take the leap of faith in themselves? Send them this blog, and let me know your thoughts on it below.


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