Ask people what's the opposite of love and most will respond 'hate', but to me it's fear. Fear leads to all manner of negative emotions, including hate. If love is a driving force for good in our lives then fear is a driving force for things that are not good, like not doing something that could change your life because you're fearful, and then living to regret it.
As entrepreneurs we tend to love what we do and therefore we're more afraid of what would happen if we didn't pursue our entrepreneurial dream than we are afraid of the risks involved. That's how it was for me, anyway.
Before setting up a business, I was very familiar with the start up world, having worked for one for seven years early on in my career, and I'd lived through the highs and lows and had developed an appreciation of what it takes to succeed.
Many entrepreneurs hit rock bottom before finding the drive needed to create a business. They find themselves in an impossible situation and feel, despite the blood, sweat and tears often shed on the entrepreneurial journey, it's the only way to go. They find a 'must' that propels them into action.
That's how it was for me too. I found myself in a job I had to get out of. By this time I'd really had enough of working for someone I couldn't respect and I had an overwhelming feeling that I wanted to fully control who I worked with and have more freedom and flexibility, and the best way to do that was work for myself. That was the 'must' that drove me to overcome the fear and go it alone.
And there was fear. It was a scary prospect. I was considering creating a company in the very competitive field of public relations at the start of a recession. I had a big mortgage and high bills and not knowing how long it would take me to earn enough to cover my living costs frightened me, despite having a safety net of some savings I could live from for a while, if really necessary.
I had quite a few 'what ifs'. What if I don't find clients? What if I'm no good? What if I run out of money and can't pay the mortgage? What if I lose everything? But the 'must' was much bigger. I simply felt that I must go it alone to take control of whom I worked with and have freedom and flexibility in my life.
So I did it. I walked out of my job and set up a PR agency. I felt like this simply 'must' work and I soon I had my first client. Very soon I was earning three times more than I had been earning as an employee.
I developed a process to help me overcome the fear and it really helped. Maybe it could help you too.
1.Consider the best and worse case scenarios
I simply considered the best and worst outcomes. The best was freedom, flexibility and financial growth. The worst was the loss of everything. I decided if I could live with the worse case scenario then I was prepared to take the risk. I knew that if things didn't work out I could always get another job working for someone else, so I could start again if necessary, at least.
2.Find a 'must'
Get clear on why you want to do what you want to do. For me it was about having control of with whom I work, plus freedom, flexibility and financial growth. Your 'must' is what drives you to action and progress.
3.Take action, feel progress
Then I took action and did practical things that would help me feel a sense of progress each day, ranging from going to a networking event to coming up with the branding I wanted. I found that if I felt a sense of progress it really encouraged me to keep going and not give into the fear. The fear would nag at me and doubt would set in. Some days it wasn't there and others it was.
4.Take time out to contemplate
When I was going through the process of deciding whether to get another job or set up a company I went out in nature for long walks with my dogs. One day I was at the beach and I was contemplating how fear affects a life. I considered all the fears I'd had and I decided that from now on the only thing I wanted to fear was fear itself.
In a previous blog post I mention using fire to burn a piece of paper upon which I'd written my self-limiting beliefs. To help free myself of the fears I was carrying, as I was on the beach having these thoughts, I decided to work with the water.
I wrote the word FEAR in the sand and waited for the tide to come in and wash it away. Energy flows where intent goes, and so as the tide came in and the water ran over the FEAR in the sand, I held the intent that my fear was being washed away by the water, until the sand was clean and smooth again.
5.Acquire new skills and knowledge
I also decided that in order to feel real progress I wanted to broaden my knowledge and skills, and so as a full member of my industry's professional association by qualification and experience, The Chartered Institute of Public Relations in the UK, I decided to become an accredited practitioner to add more credibility, which meant committing to monitored continuous professional development.
There's always something we can learn. If you continue to learn things that are relevant to your entrepreneurial path you'll always feel like you're making some progress, and feeling a sense of achievement is very motivating and so a positive spiral of action and outcomes is created.
6.Visualise your best outcome
I believe in the power of visualisation and so on a very regular basis, usually whilst out walking in nature with my dogs, I'd stroll along imagining running my own business, what it would look and feel like. On obvious one for me back then was having the possibility to walk my dogs, at any time I chose.
7.Consciously practise gratitude
I also chose to consciously practise gratitude, and so whilst out with the dogs, as a walking meditation, I'd give thanks for all the things I was grateful for and ask the Universe for more of the same or better. I really found that consciously practising gratitude brought me more to be grateful for.
8.Face the fear
At the end of the day, the only way to truly overcome a fear is to face it head on. So if you've got a fear of spiders, get up close to a spider, etc.
Good luck facing your fears.
Thanks for reading,
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