Facing your Fears

How do you feel about moving from surviving to prospering? This is a positive step, so it should feel good. However, this step also takes us out of our comfort zones and removes the safety net. Success increases responsibility and expectations – which can be a cause for fear.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

The fact that most new businesses fail is a sobering thought when starting out. Being one of the start-ups that has ‘made it’ can therefore be a source of comfort. Accepting the fact that you’re no longer just surviving, but prospering elevates you to a new league though.

You’re no longer the big fish in a small pond, you’re a prosperous business potentially in direct competition with other prosperous businesses. There is no ‘I’m only just starting out’ line to fall back on – you’ve passed through the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and are now responsible.

Blending in with the crowd is easy. Standing out and emerging as a success puts a spotlight on you and, as well as handling the positives, it means dealing with rejection or failure rather than passing it off as ‘one of those things’ that happens to small businesses from time to time.

This may sound completely alien to you, but it often works subconsciously. Many people might not think they have a fear of success but have stacks of ideas they’ve never put into practice, objectives and goals from five or ten years ago that are still on their vision board and who talk about what they are going to do far more than they ever do it.

Often it is not fear of failure that stifles these plans – it is a fear of them working. Failure is a known. It is a step back to where we’ve come from and, though unpleasant, is familiar. Success is unknown, which can be scarier.

Imagine your business journey as a physical journey. Taking a wrong turn and having to retrace your steps through a mangrove swamp would be unpleasant, but nowhere near as daunting as stepping off the map into uncharted territory.

This feeling is tied into the bigger idea of a fear of change. To confront this you need to chart that territory. Consult with your mentor, read relevant books and (to push the journey metaphor a bit) speak with the locals to get a better picture of life beyond the map. With that information, work out what it is you really want and where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

Having plans in place and being clear on your direction and destination helps to remove the fear that change (even positive change) can cause. There will still be surprises and unexpected developments, which is no bad thing – let’s not forget the amazing and liberating side to venturing into the unknown.

Moving from surviving to prospering is a positive step and should feel good. With the right goals identified, the right systems in place and the right people around you, it will.

Posted in: Managing Change

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