Thursday, February 23, 2012

Savvy Entrepreneur: Don't Let Fear Stop You

found on pinterest via
I have a terrible habit.

When confronted with something new, an idea, suggestion, or opportunity, I look for the reason it won’t work before anything else. I acknowledge it with “Yes, but...” the but usually being a short tirade depicting how ludicrous the idea was to begin with. 

It drives my husband crazy, but more importantly it limits me. I don’t sit with the possibility. I don’t imagine how it could work. I let my fear of failure speak first and quickly say, “Yes, but...”

I declared this my year to embrace failure and this terrible habit is keeping me from my goals, but I'm tackling it head on. I’m sharing this because I suspect many of you have the same terrible habit.

So what do we do?

When you feel that sudden tightening and urge to quickly shoot down anything new; stop yourself. Take a moment and say nothing. Sit with the fear and get comfortable with it.

Then shift your mindset.

Think through the idea, is it really all that impossible? Probably not. A big task, maybe. A new direction, quite possibly. Requiring of new skills, hopefully.

I use two techniques to help me push through that fear. First I think through to the end result. What if I were to make this work? What would I gain? Where new possibilities would open up? How absolutely wonderful could it possibly be? Often that’s enough to push fear aside.

If I need a little more coaxing then I imagine the worst-case scenario, how bad would it really be? Chances are not so bad, probably something you could deal with, accept even as part of being a creative entrepreneur. Sometimes by imagining the worst-case scenario you see that you can easily avoid pitfalls by preparing for them, even better.

However, if even after taking time with the idea, imaging positive outcomes, planning for inevitable pitfalls, you still feel that deep down, gut wrenching fear. You must ask yourself if there truly is a reason you shouldn’t push through. Trust that gut instinct. Although if it’s just the “yes, but...” fear yelling louder, take a small step forward, notice that the sky hasn’t fallen, your friends and family still love you, and the world is not laughing and pointing at you. Everything is fine.

Keep taking small steps, each one will get easier.

Fear is natural, but if we let it rule we accomplish nothing. Instead we must act even though we are fearful. 

What will you tackle this year?

 Genevieve not only writes The Savvy Entrepreneur she is the Co-Founder of Lightbox SF where she empowers creatives to take over the world. Check out the blog or how to work with her.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Katy or Steph about joining SFEtsy!


donna said...

Great post! It reminds me of a post by Rena Tom on Poppytalk about learning from failure Sometimes I think we live in such a results-focused, success orientated society that it makes people forget the importance of the process. For me, when I sometimes resist experimenting it's because I want to avoid the frustration of something not working. Posts like this, however, remind me that a lot of new information and/or ideas can be gleaned from just trying.

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

I love love love this post! As someone who also has this habit, I find it very comforting to know I'm not alone and that others struggle with it. Actually, I think it is more than a habit -- I think it is deep in my temperament to be hesitant about new things (I remember reading a parenting book years back about temperament and recognizing this trait immediately, and feeling so comforted to have it articulated). It's hard work to channel this tendency and not let it hold me back, but work worth doing for sure.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad both of you found some encouragement from this. I love when I can share my own struggles and processes to help people get through theirs. Shared experience is amazing.

Lisa Spinella said...

Love this post - I've been experiencing lots of fear moments lately while trying new things with my etsy store and this really puts lots into perspective.

birdbags said...

Fantastic post. I needed to read this! I get frustrated sometimes and this was such a great read & reminder that often, if we just keep on truckin' (in the words of The Grateful Dead) we just might push through, learn something & create a morphed and new entity.

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