Everyone in business battles with choosing courage over fear when striving for success. They have a fear; of making enough money, of what people think of their business idea and even a fear of being successful. It’s an irrational mindset that can put up far more roadblocks in their path to success than there otherwise would be.
It is self-destructive.
What do we do to overcome this, to become courageous where we have previously been fearful? To choose growth instead of ‘just getting by’? Today in the podcast I’m going to help you realise your fear and move to overcome it!
Are you choosing courage over fear as a business owner?
In the last two years of coaching I have seen many instances of fear in business owners and how destructive it can be. That’s why I built the ‘Fearless Year of Growth’ course for my Craft Biz Incubator coaching clients, as a way to help them grow without the roadblocks that fear can bring.
Fear can manifest itself in many aspects of your mindset and create very similar roadblocks that hinder your success. For example, if you find yourself;
Holding back on a new launch, or strategy because you worry what people will think, or if it might fail
Holding back on raising your prices because you worry people won’t pay it, or will become angry because of it
Holding back on marketing your products because you might not be able to keep up with production if your product becomes a hit, or you feel like you might lose yourself to the machine of production which will halt your creativity (the whole point of working for yourself)
Hold back because you can’t quantify the risks of trying something new
Then, my friend you are letting your fear rule you and your inaction is holding back your true success.
Let’s work together to untangle that.
My own struggle with fear as a business owner
As I write this, I am acutely aware that I battle my own business fears daily.
I have been self-employed since mid-2006 and in that time I have always battled my fears. I used to change topics of conversation or been vague when someone asked me what I did for a living, because I was fearful of their scrutiny or judgement on my craft business. I have often stopped myself moving forward with plans for growth because I was not 100% sure of the risks involved, or if I can handle the success I was aiming for. I’ve even missed applying for opportunities because I didn’t feel ‘good enough’.
Just as it is for you, my battle with fear is real and just as it is for you, my battle with fear is ongoing.
But the result of that fear is always the same… I hold myself back, I put up roadblocks and I don’t do things.
Time moves on and I find myself a few months down the road and no better off for it.
This is when I know I need to make a change.
How I learned to recognise my fear
Learning to recognise what fear is to you in a single moment, is one of the biggest tricks to finding a way to overcome it. In my experience there are several reasons for fear to raise its ugly head;
Fear of failure, or being seen as a failure – the fear that you will ultimately fail in your endeavours is, in my experience partly a lack of self-confidence and a fear of social perception
Fear of risk – fearing what you might lose if you try and don’t succeed
Fear of money – the fear of a lack of stability in your finances if you fail
Fear of perception – a fear of what people will think when ‘x’ happens
Fear of creative loss – losing why you started a creative business in the first place
Fear of being out of control – losing the sense that you can juggle everything in a way that remains true to your values, or that the business will remain within your vision
Fear of overwhelm – worrying that you will be biting off more than you can chew
Sometimes the fear I feel in a moment of decision making is obvious. I find myself turning excitement into inaction, because I spend time ‘talking myself down’. By this I mean that I find all the reasons under the sun not to do something. I spend far more time on that, than I do on looking at the potential positive outcomes.
Other times my fear is more sinister… I know I should do something, because I have spent time looking into doing it successfully and I have facts that prove it is the right move for me, but I preoccupy myself with something new and exciting… and ‘easy’.
If I don’t recognise my mindset issues, then I’m not choosing courage over fear and I avoid action because of it.
How to kick your business fears to the curb!
There are several ways I have learned to feel more confident in choosing courage over fear and I wanted to share this with you, so that you can become a more empowered business owner moving forward.
Watch the video here;
Or Listen to the podcast here;
1 - Realising the ‘fear’
The first step to dealing with a mindset problem or a business roadblock is to sit down and realise what the crux of the issue really is. It might be a fear of; failure, risk, money, perception, creative lose, being out of control, or of impending overwhelm. This can take a little while to work through, so if I’m still not 100% clear I do the following;
Break down the task at hand – breaking down the task you are most worried about into its smallest parts can help you view risks, or areas that might cause overwhelm. It can also show you clearly the finer details that might be causing your lack in confidence.
Brainstorm my worry points – with my broken-down task list I can ask myself what, if anything, is ‘worrying’ about this. Writing my worries down on paper can help me really see what my mindset is, so that I can work through them one by one.
Calculate the real risks – Not all risks are truly as risky as they first feel and by taking the time to understand the impact of your impending decision, before you make, it can alleviate some of the pressure that decision holds.
Ultimately choosing courage over fear means realising what your fears consist of and highlighting just how much you don’t have to worry about.
2 – Seek solutions
Once I have a good idea what my fears are, I can start to seek solutions that will help me further neutralise that fearful feeling. To do this I usually;
Research facts – sometimes what we fear most can be easily solved by understanding the facts of what success might look like if we go ahead with our plan.
Let’s say that our fear is based on the topic of raising prices and our main aim is to raise prices to make a more profitable income. In this case there are several facts that we can learn in order to build more confidence in taking the action of raising our selling price. Firstly, the figure work behind the current state of our business profitability and the proposed change in price. And secondly, we can research the market to see if customers are already paying this new price rate. Then thirdly, we can look, long-term, at what reinvestments can be made with more profitability in our business.
Planning my process - part of what we fear most is the unknown and so taking the time to work out a strategy for how to deal with a new project, or task we are worried about, can help us seek a more mindful balanced approach.
Once I know what I need to do, I can then think about what the most logical strategic approach might be to get that task done. This makes me more likely to act.
Seek to learn – in my experience usually what I don’t understand is what I fear most, so if I cannot work out how to plan my process, or how to do a particular task point on my strategy list, then I strive to learn it. That could be done by reading books, by taking a course, or by approaching a mentor.
(Related article: The Best Places to Get Help with Your Etsy Shop)
Often seeking solutions to what feels like a problem, can help you to reduce stress and show you a clearer path to getting things done.
3 – Take the emotion away to find courage
Social and business perception can be a very emotive situation and can stop me choosing courage over fear in many instances if I allow it. I struggle with what people will think if I do ‘x’, or how my business compares to another’s.
We all do.
(Struggling with ‘comparisonitis? Check out my related article: How to Free Yourself from Harmful Comparison)
One thing that I have learned that works to help me overcome fear is to be less emotional about the task at hand.
It is hard to do.
BUT it is freeing.
To do this I concentrate on facts and rationales for why I need to do something. So, let’s say I’m thinking about axing a product that no longer makes financial sense to make, but it’s a firm favourite with my customers and the market dictates that I can’t remain competitive if I charge more. Personally, I’m caught in a hard place, I don’t want to let my customers down, but on the other hand continuing to make said item could cause me, over time, to dip into a loss if I don’t act now.
Emotionality cannot win, because there’s a potential this could ruin my business… facts must prevail, and I remind myself that businesses evolve and so will customer’s needs. If it still troubles me what my customers will think, or if this change will damage my overall sales, then I seek a more evolved and profitable product that I can introduce to take the place of the product I am about to axe. I usually find that if I offer people a solution and justify my reasons, they understand.
Generally, emotional decision making in business is not the best practise. Taking time to step out of the situation and its emotion can help you to see things more clearly and to find courage in your decision.
4 – Take smaller steps
I’m a big believer in ‘confidence is learned by doing’ and it’s through the action we take that we slowly build ourselves up and push fear aside. I take this same approach when it comes to choosing courage over fear in my business.
What I have found works most of all is to break down the task that is worrying me into smaller manageable steps. This way I won’t feel overwhelmed and start second guessing my decisions.
Be bold. Take action!
5 – Accept failure as a way to instruct
It’s normal to fail or faulter in things, especially if we haven’t done them before. There is no shame in that.
Learning to be accepting that failure will hit us occasionally and that it will instruct us on how to be better, is ultimately allowing yourself to choose courage over fear.
6 – Understanding that challenge breeds more success than the ‘easy’ route
Choosing the easy option, usually means doing something you already have comfort in knowing how to do.
Here’s the thing.
You won’t be more successful if you do more of the same stuff that isn’t getting you anywhere. So, pick up a challenge and tackle it head on… what you learn from that experience will gain you confidence and confidence will help you push the envelope further.
7 – Understand that business is a journey
The final piece of the puzzle for me is to realise that my growth is part of my business journey and that journey is a long-term path.
There is no magic tap you can turn on to make your business magically make money from day one. Instead it is a machine you need to build with the skill ‘cogs’ you have. Some of these cogs will need replacing or updating and some cogs are missing from your machine and you need to build them. Then of course there is the energy and confidence you need to get the machine started and fuel it throughout your journey.
This is all a process you must learn, master and adapt accordingly.
So, don’t be too hard on yourself, instead embrace the journey and enjoy it.
Choosing courage over fear can be a hard lesson to learn and it will ultimately be something that you struggle with throughout the life of your business. Approaching it in the right way is key.
Stop limiting yourself and your success by allowing fear to put up roadblocks in your journey to success. Instead break them down with understanding, clarity and a shift in mindset.
YOU CAN DO THIS!
Earlier I mentioned the ‘Fearless Year of Growth’ course, part of the Craft Biz Incubator. This exclusive course is one of the reasons most people sign up, because it shows you exactly how I grow my business year on year… And how I do it without fear!
To show you exactly what’s included with this course worth over £1800;
Module 1 'The Plan' - creating your business action plan
Module 2 'Refocusing Your Brand' - redefining your message
Module 3 'Pricing For Profit' - building long-term sustainability
Module 4 'Updating Your Website' - focusing your pitch
Module 5 'Social Media' - looking at better management
Module 6 'Focused Social Content' - creating product content that works
Module 7 'Enticing Newsletters' - connecting with your audience
Module 8 'Easy Upsells' - making extra money from products that work with your brand
Module 9 'Choosing Multiple Revenue Streams' - using your skills to generate further income
Module 10 'Keeping Your Head Above Water' - workflow and self-care skills
Module 11 'External Marketing' - finding opportunities for your brand
Module 12 'Review Process' - reviewing your year and moving forward