When You’re Scared Sh*tless

Hallowe'en scene

 

Hallowe’en is just around the corner and a time when zombies roam the streets along side Pokemon, princesses and favourite characters. Entrepreneurs encounter scary situations – and not just when the calendar shows October 31st!

Own It! Ignoring your fears don’t make them go away. Remember when you used to hide under the bed or in the closet, thinking that if you couldn’t “see” the bogey man, then you wouldn’t be scared of it either. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a human response to fear. How many of us still hide our eyes when a scary scene arrives on the movie screen?

Embrace being Human

When we are scared, our brain goes into fight or flight mode. This happens automatically – our nervous system is programmed to protect us from perceived danger. The brain reacts the same way when we are afraid of taking actions, being visible, trying something new, asking someone out, quitting a job, starting a new job, making a commitment, and oodles more times in the day when we are scared or apprehensive about something.

I used to almost quit breathing every spring as I watched cash drain out of the bank account and into the earth (agriculture business). I worked hard to overcome the fear that we’d lose our house, be forced to move back to the farm, not be able to provide the life we wanted for our children, and ultimately have to declare bankruptcy which would also impact my professional career. How has this changed? I did a few things, but the primary ones were 1) educating myself on the cycles and 2) ensuring we had insurance in place to mitigate the risks that come with crop failures. Now I see the cash outflow as an investment rather than an expense. Mindset is everything 🙂

Becoming Comfortable with Fear

The key is to get to the root of the fear. Find out why it is there, where it came from and find out what you are really afraid of. Ignoring your fear shuts down your opportunities and keeps your brain from surging forward. Be resilient. Find ways to overcome the fears, reduce or eliminate potential risks and get help along the way.

Think you’re afraid your business will fail? You’re not! You might be afraid of poverty, loneliness (if you partner leaves you), humiliation or all sorts of other consequences of the business failing. Entrepreneurs make lots of “mistakes”, dust themselves off, learn and try again. Entrepreneurs often fear:

  1. Running out of money
  2. Not being good enough
  3. Failing
  4. Being overwhelmed
  5. The Unknown

As I review this list, I think, “Yup, these were the same fears I had when I was expecting my first child!” and when I got my first job, my first real boyfriend, moved the first time, travelled alone, etc.

Fear is NORMAL.