I woke up the other morning at 4 a.m.
I wake up most mornings at 4 a.m. and hang out in bed for about an hour. I’m a morning person. I’m generally a happy morning person. I don’t even use an alarm clock.
But on this morning, I woke up totally freaked out. Wide awake.
This usually happens after I’ve had a few days of feeling The Good Feelings. You guys, I was on a high. Feeling kind of freaking invincible.
Then, boom. Just like that, at 4 a.m., I was back on Earth.
The source of my fear is not as important as recognizing that Fear is a liar. Fear keeps us from pursuing the things that we desire, because Fear tells us that those desires are:
And that we should just stay in bed today, because what's the point?
I’ll stop there.
You probably know what I am talking about.
And since I am no stranger to these feelings, I have found a few tricks for moving past them and keeping myself motivated through the inevitable lows of running a business:
1. Do it anyway.
Whatever it is that you are afraid to do, do it anyway. In one of the creative business groups that I am in on Facebook (see note below), one of the members mentioned that we should learn to distinguish between fear and dread. When I feel dread, a feeling of everything being totally off and not authentic to me, I know I need to walk away (usually when someone asks me to do something for them that isn’t really what I enjoy doing).
Fear manifests itself in excuses and procrastination for me. There have been A LOT of things that I really want to make happen, but sometimes I fear my audience’s response to to those things. That’s when I know I have to do it anyway. Spoiler: these are usually the times I get the best response.
2. Think about how you want to feel.
At the end of the day, you will be so much better off if you take steps toward making your dreams a reality. Take everything day by day, and envision what drives you to do this crazy thing. You have to fight for it extra hard on the days when your mind wants you to take the easy way out. Use the vision of your dream life as a weapon against fear.
3. Say it out loud to yourself.
Sometimes we say the most ridiculous things to ourselves in our head. Speak the fear, then ask yourself how rational this fear is.
Am I really going to be out on the street if I do this? Will I really never find another customer? Will I really offend someone (and if so, do I care)? How will doing this scary thing really affect me? What’s the worst that would happen if this fearful scenario played out in real life?
If you can get super specific and look at it from an unemotional perspective, you might find that your fear is kind of silly.
Give yourself an easy win. Maybe you piled that todo list way too high. Take a step back and pick the easiest thing you can do for the day and do that first. Then move on to the next thing. The important thing to remember is to not let your fear give way to inaction.
If you can take action, even when you're freaked out about the outcome, you'll find over time that your tolerance for uncomfortable [yet, potentially high reward] risk in your life will grow. You’ll be better at deciding which steps to take next.
Try viewing courage as a muscle that needs to be exercised. Practice standing up to your fears. Put yourself in situations that make you a little uneasy, but that you know will help you pursue the things that you want in your life.
Courage is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Practice standing up to your fears.
And take heart in the fact that it gets easier the more you confront it.
Have you ever struggled with fear when pursuing big goals? Tell me about it in the comments.
Do you know someone that struggles with taking action in the face of fear? Share this post with them and talk it out together! Sharing with a friend that knows what you’re going through always helps.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing with your friends. I’m so grateful to connect with you and share whatever I can to help you pursue the life of your dreams on your own terms.
Note: Lately, I’ve been enjoying interacting on Facebook in a number of private creative business groups. I’ve found that in these private groups, people are very open to sharing their experiences and asking for advice in a non-spammy way. If this sounds like something you might benefit from, I encourage you to check out Creative Biz Owners with Little Farm Media, and Savvy Business Owners with Heather Crabtree (both are free to join by signing up for their mailing list).