Overcoming Fear: 4 Ways to Make Fear Your Friend
Going into business for yourself is one of the biggest risks you will ever take but taking that first step into solopreneurship is only the beginning. If you are going to be successful and move forward consistently you will need to take calculated risks on a regular basis and this is where it’s easy to come unstuck.
For many of the small business owners I talk to, fear is the main reason they hold back from making a bold move that could really pay off.
There’s no denying that fear exists for a reason, it’s an evolutionary tool to ensure our survival. And fear in business does also have its place as it stops you making catastrophic mistakes. However, without the courage to take a chance once in a while, you can stay stuck in a rut for years on end, never completely fulfilling your potential, while you watch others around you take that leap of faith and succeed.
Making that risky move can be more than a little daunting but it is something you need to do if your business is going to grow. This doesn’t mean you should leap headfirst off the cliff without looking but a few strategic risks are a great way to get out of a rut and expand your horizons, both personally and professionally.
If you’re not a born risk taker (and let’s face it, most of us aren’t!), there are a few strategies you can use to help you with overcoming fear that might be holding you back.
1. Start with small risks and build your way up
One way to overcome your fear is to start with small risks. Even something as minor as trying out that new lunch place round the corner instead of your usual Thai takeaway can give you a sense of adventure and empower you to try other things. Success builds on success and as your smaller gambles pay off you will gain confidence to take bigger risks.
2. Listen to your gut
This is not just a cliché, it really works. Your gut instinct can tell you whether a risk is the right thing to do or not. The problem is, it can be difficult to switch off the analytical part of your brain enough to actually hear what it is trying to tell you. Sometimes there isn’t a strong nudge in either direction but if your inner voice is screaming at you to go for it, you should probably listen.
3. Take a strategic approach
Taking a risk doesn’t mean doing something crazy without first thinking about it – the best risks are well thought through. You may want to create a brief one-page flow diagram or chart where you list pros and cons, the things that could potentially go wrong and the possible gains. Mapping these factors out in front of you can give you a clear overview of the situation so you can work out whether a particular risk is worth taking at the time.
4. Surround yourself with risk takers
When you want to achieve anything in business one of the cardinal rules is to surround yourself with likeminded people. The theory goes that if you want to be rich you should surround yourself with wealthy people, if you want to be more positive, hang out with positive people and so on. If you want to be more courageous in your business it certainly can’t hurt to seek out other soloists and small business owners who can encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and inspire you with their successes.
Don’t let fear hold you back. If you want your business to succeed you are going to have to take a risk at some stage in your life. By making a few bold moves you can drive your business forward and reach your full potential in every area of your life.
What’s your strategy for overcoming fear?
This article first appeared on Flying Solo.