As I write this blog post I am pursuing my dream of starting my own online business (this blog) revolving around what I am currently passionate about, namely personal development and philanthropy (among other things).
I spent a lot of time working on discovering what I wanted to write about and how I wanted to help people.
Once I was clear on this and why I wanted to do it (to make a positive change in the world through starting my own business, something I’ve always wanted to do), it was time to start executing.
For me this involved creating this blog and writing content and in the long term growing a community.
Throughout this process self doubt and fear crept in, and in fact, its always there, and quite frankly as I’m learning, will always be there. The fear will never go away.
I guess this is the case when you are stepping out into the unknown and pursuing something where the outcomes are not guaranteed. My fears include fear of failure, fear that all the hard work I put in will amount to nothing. What if people think its shit? What if I lose interest? What if…?
The mind is a powerful thing. If you don’t learn to master it, you will cripple yourself, all the” what ifs” will hold you back from starting that business, you won’t pursue that dream. You will do nothing. Things will remain as is, with all the what if’s still lingering, life carrying on as usual, with you regretting that you didn’t follow through.
So how does one tackle fear and self doubt head on, especially if it never goes away?
Recognise That There is No imminent Danger
Firstly what you need to recognise that there is no imminent danger. There’s no poisonous snake slithering over your feet or a grizzly bear about to attack you. Your fear is self created. It’s in your mind.
All you need to do is take control of your mind and redirect your thought process. Brendon Burchard discusses this in a 10 minute video and breaks it down rather comedically. He also talks about three different types of fear, that I will touch on.
Transform Your Thought Process
You need to understand that the majority of your fears revolve around three key things, fear of loss, fear of the process, fear of the outcomes. Your fear could be manifesting itself around any one of these or a combination.
Fear of Loss
In pursuing your dream, you might fear losing something you previously liked. Perhaps you are an aspiring business owner, who fears losing the comforts of a stable job or even a stable pay check? Perhaps you are a traveler afraid of leaving your family and friends behind?
Whatever your dreams, you need to assess what fears you are experiencing and then direct your thought process towards positive outcomes. What could you gain through starting this business? Financial freedom perhaps?Location independence. Flexible work hours in the long run?
Similarly what could you gain through travel? A lifetime of experiences that will will change you forever? In my experience as a traveler, highly likely. The opportunity to meet people from different walks of life? In my experience most definitely.
Fear of Process
You might also fear the process of doing something new, like all the steps required in opening that business, all the steps which right now you have no knowledge of. Not knowing what steps to take from the one day to the next can feel daunting.
Again don’t let that cripple you, re-channel your thoughts to the positives to avoid inaction. And remember, every step, no matter how small is a step toward that dream.
The challenge of pursuing that business, learning all the little things along the way could well be the most enjoyable and rewarding experience you have ever had. I can’t tell you how much I have learned through setting up this business.
From deciding what I would blog about to actually getting it up and running, having to learn about hosting, having to design the site myself without knowing any coding (on an extremely limited budget) to all the social media aspects, its has been an awesome (and yes challenging experience).
Fear of Outcomes
Lastly, it could be that you fear the outcomes. You fear possible failure. You fear that the lifestyle might be worse off. You fear that you won’t make money.
Again keep your thoughts in check. Manage your mind and redirect towards positives outcomes, the joy, the happiness that you could achieve through starting that business. For me as I write this, the outcomes of what I have created here are not clear and that is scary. But I am here for the ride and I will see where it will take me.
Ask for Help/Find a Support Group
This seems so obvious but you will be surprised how many people don’t ask for help, Ill give you an example of how I have used this to keep myself on the right track.
I recently discovered I was what is termed a scanner or multipotentialite personality type through a website called Puttylike.
I joined the online community there called the Puttytribe which is a home for serious multipotentialites (scanners) and one of the benefits of this community is the resounding support they provide to scanners, particularly those who are starting their own business.
Often if I have an element of fear or self doubt creeping in, I post my questions and concerns on the forum and the members provide input which is invaluable. Lots of the members themselves have experience in starting their own online blogs and as such can relate to what I am experiencing.
Remind Yourself of Why You Started in the First Place
As you embark on the journey of achieving your dreams, whatever they may be, fear and self doubt will continue to manifest itself in a variety of ways. The fear will never go away as you continue to push out of your comfort zone.
Another key then for me is to continue to remind yourself of why you started pursuing that dream in the first place. I remind myself of this, especially when fear and self doubt creeps in. It keeps me going.
For me I not only wanted to have my own business and obtain location independence, but I also wanted to create something bigger than myself and make a positive impact on the world.
Let the reason why you started serve as a driving force behind everything you do.
Something which might help is creating a collage or a video or a folder of inspirational quotes and images that you can refer to in tough times. I borrowed this tactic from Jonathan Mead over at Paid To Exist – it helps.
Develop a No Regrets Philosophy
I also find that developing a no regrets philosophy keeps me going, Rather regret doing something and failing, than not doing anything at all. We are all going to die in the end.
Life really is too too short to let fear and self doubt rule you.
Recognise the fact that fear is self created.
Transform your thought process towards positive outcomes.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Remind yourself of why you started in the first place AND let that serve as a driving force to keep you going even when fear and self doubt get in the way.
LASTLY and IMPORTANTLY develop a no regrets philosophy and remember that we are all going to die in the end. In the words of Steve Jobs:
"Remembering that ill be dead soon is the most important tool i've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." - Steve Jobs
Is fear getting in the way of you pursuing your dreams? How do you cope?