Let’s Talk About Fear

Posted by on Nov 03 2014


I talk to many small business owners who are feeling afraid right now.

They’re afraid of:

  • Not 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.
  • Rejection.
  • Dying – and afraid of living, too.

No Matter How Confident You Are, 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 to write the fill in the blanks for these statements:

  • People won’t buy from me 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…

Learned Fears

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 that’s not quite true yet.

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: “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 the difference?

These modified affirmations are still positive, still motivational. And once you’ve mastered that Growing Edge statement, you can modify it again and 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!

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7 comments for now

7 Responses to “Let’s Talk About Fear”

  1. Hi Karyn! Thanks for an excellent post. I really like the suggestion of “growing edge affirmations” and I’ve found them to actually be much more empowering than the overly positive ones I used to use and suggest. Great stuff.

    04 Nov 2014 at 9:47 am

  2. Karyn Greenstreet

    I first discovered this method about 10 years ago, Cheryl, and have used it every day since.

    04 Nov 2014 at 10:25 am

  3. Thanks Karyn for sharing. A lot is familiar but you have a wonderful way to put it with some practical tips.

    04 Nov 2014 at 11:42 am

  4. Karyn Greenstreet

    I’m glad you found the article helpful, Shabbir. It’s always a good idea to revisit this topic from time-to-time. As business owners, coaches, teachers and mastermind group facilitators, this topic comes up for our clients — and for ourselves!

    04 Nov 2014 at 12:22 pm

  5. I am into keeping a positive mindset, but not necessarily reciting affirmations. It’s on my list of things to try. Thanks for this perspective on it!

    04 Nov 2014 at 6:24 pm

  6. Claudia Heilbrunn

    I so agree with you Karyn, and I – too – like the idea of ‘growing edge affirmations’; sticking to your own positive reality, rather than stating a wished-for (albeit possible) non-truth, makes much more sense. I also think it’s important to acknowledge that some fears are based in reality and worth paying attention to, as long as you are not paralyzed by the the feeling. I remember always telling my daughter that bravery is not the absence of fear, but the ability to do what you want to do despite it.

    04 Nov 2014 at 10:11 pm

  7. Fear is good, or it can be good when it prompts us to take action.

    But worry, well worry does not good. Because it stops action.

    Love the affirmation rewrite: “I am capable of finding people who can teach me what I need to know.”

    14 Nov 2014 at 12:00 pm

Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business