Let's Talk About Fear
By Karyn Greenstreet
copyright © 2009, by Karyn Greenstreet. All rights reserved.
I talk to lots of small business owners who are feeling afraid right now.
They're afraid of:
- Having enough: enough money, enough love, enough health, enough security and enough freedom.
- Failure -- or being a success.
- Missing out on all the life has to offer.
- Not reaching their potential.
- Dying – and afraid of living, too.
No matter how confident a person is, everyone experiences fear. You may know consciously that you're experiencing fear, or your actions might be showing you that subconsciously fear is the culprit: procrastination, feeling stuck, overwhelmed or out of control. Perhaps you're feeling envious of others, or becoming a perfectionist suffering every time you make a mistake.
What Story is Scaring You?
Jack Canfield says, "Figure out how you're scaring yourself. Then acknowledge that you are creating your fear and you'll start to triumph over it." Most fear is based on a future event, something that's not even happening right this moment. We picture this future event and frighten ourselves much like going to a horror movie. We imagine all kinds of outcomes that may or may not ever take place.
One way to figure out how you scare yourself is to listen to your self-talk. Take a moment and write the answers to these questions:
I can't be successful because…
I can't have what I want in life because…
I can't be who I'm meant to become because…
I don't deserve to have what I want because…
We were not born with these fears. Our past experiences and people in our lives have taught us how to be afraid of the future and about our ability to meet it successfully. Sometimes we make generalizations about life because of one bad experience.
Mark Twain said, "The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won't sit upon a cold stove lid, either."
Change Your Self-Talk
What if you changed the way you talk to yourself? What if you remembered all the times in your life when you were able to accomplish what you set out to do, big or small? What if you thought back to all the times you were scared and still took action?
Affirmations are a statement of what you want to be true. But sometimes using affirmations feel false, because the affirmations talk about a future truth.
Instead, consider overcoming your limiting beliefs by using what David Gershon and Gail Straub call Growing Edge affirmations, writing and using statements that are true and that still move you towards what you want. Instead of the affirmation, "I am a successful small business owner making a 6-figure income," use a Growing Edge affirmation, such as, "I am capable of finding people who can teach me what I need to know," or "I try a new marketing technique each month and chart the results."
See? These modified affirmations are still positive, still motivational. And once you've mastered that Growing Edge statement, you can modify it again to keep you moving forward. Just keep the affirmation truthful AND challenging. Don't write an affirmation that's too easy or too hard…you will sabotage yourself. Write affirmations that are challenging: they make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, ones that feel like you are reaching and growing, but that also feel completely possible. Remember this mantra: challenging but do-able.
It's okay to feel fear. But don’t let it stop you from moving forward. Tell yourself: I feel scared, but I'm capable of moving one step forward today towards my goals and dreams, because it's more important for me to be happy and successful than it is for me to allow myself to wallow in my fear and tell myself scary stories.
Helen Keller says, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure."
We can't know what the outcome of any endeavor will be. But we do know if we allow fear to keep us stuck, the outcome will not be what we want.
You deserve to have everything you want in life, to have a rich, rewarding, meaningful and happy lifetime. Live a Daring Adventure!